It is not uncommon, at times, to overlook huge campus contributors such as teacher’s assistants and adjunct faculty who devote much of their time to Mines. Whether they are the in the chemistry labs, or in the classrooms, they all share a passion for the field which they are involved. One such memeber is Gwyneth Holston, an Adjunct Faculty member in the Math Department.
Gwyneth’s history with Mines goes back quite a ways, considering she is one of the newest adjunct faculty on campus. Once a student at Mines in 2000, she found that deciding her path was quite a conundrum. “I originally wanted to go to art school, but I figured I couldn’t pay for it and [the schools] didn’t value academic merit at all,” explained Holston, “I came to Mines undecided for the first few years, then decided I would try to study physics.” It is this decision that Holston pursued the following few years as a student at Mines, first earning her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics and then a Master’s in Engineering Systems.
However, it didn’t stick with her long. After graduation, Holston dabbled in the engineering industry for about a year before realizing it wasn’t for her. Later, she went to art school and paid for it on the side by teaching math at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. During this time, she discovered a love for teaching math, which took her by surprise. Since then, Holston has continued teaching on the side with her artistic endeavors, most of which include oil paintings; however, Holston has also experimented with restoring statues and doing murals—some of which can be found on campus.
Holston has been in the shoes of many of the students now endeavoring through their years here at Mines. In order to get an upper-hand in class and academics, Holston readily offers that “the best thing to do is to ask for help!” She also admits on the other hand, however, that as a student she fell asleep in many classes. As a result, she has a hard time berating those who do the same.
In her free time from grading and Mines, Holston envelops herself with hobbies which, for her, seem to change weekly. Currently, she dedicates herself to studying French, ballroom dance, and saving money to travel to Europe next year. Holston also attends mass regularly as a Catholic and is an avid reader. Her favorite novel is a Nobel Prize winner from the 1920’s, “Kristen Lavransdatter” by Ingrid Undset, which she exclaims is probably one of the best novels.
Holston currently does the occasional arts workshop for the Mines community and the Creative Arts club. Her most recent workshop was an Origami Workshop. It is this alignment with art that tends to follow Holston wherever she goes. “[If I weren’t teaching right now], I would probably be working as a full-time artist, even though I would miss teaching,” she explained. Among her vast variety of talents, she also enjoys volunteering and playing piano, adding that she enjoys “doing things that one doesn’t get paid for.”
“If I lived 200 years ago, I feel I would be living the life of someone in a Jane Austen novel, but nowadays I have to pay rent and put food on the table. As long as I earn enough to travel and pay for art supplies, I am content,” concludes Gwyneth Holston, the self-proclaimed “efficient, creative, and impatient” member of the Math Department. “I am working on the impatience,” she jokingly asserts, “I need to replace it with something else.”