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Springfield, MO

2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Vivian Elder, 38

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Vivian Elder took her teaching to a whole new level when she became the dean of academic services for Ozarks Technical Community College. Elder joined the OTC faculty in 2005 as an instructor of life sciences allowing her to influence the success of hundreds of students. In her role the past two years, Elder has led OTC’s New Faculty Institute and shared tips and tricks of successful teaching that will ultimately provide better classroom experiences for OTC students. Elder serves as the college liaison for continued accreditation and was recognized with an Excellence in Education award in the past year.

What was your first job? I worked as a ballet demonstrator at Sonshine Performing Arts Academy here in Springfield. My job was to demonstrate the steps to the students so the instructors didn’t wear themselves out having to do the exercises over and over again.  

When did you realize you had grown up? I remember this moment really distinctly. It was when I was teaching a ballet class and became physically ill. When you’re a kid, throwing up is a free pass to stop whatever you are doing, go home and go to bed. When I realized I had to go right back to my job, instead of going home, I knew I wasn’t a kid anymore.

What do you miss most about the 1990s? My metabolism, cheap gas and Friday nights browsing through the used CD section at Hastings.

What did you learn the hard way? Checking in adult league hockey is not worth it.

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