Passions That Turned Into a Career: The Path of a Psych Teacher
Getting to know Ann Pelzel, Cambridge campus’s very own Psychology professor.
By Lydia Olund
The scientific study of behaviors and the human mind is not a passion that everyone has. Lucky enough for the students of Anoka-Ramsey, Ann Pelzel answered the call to become a psychology teacher and pursued her passion.
After graduating from Mora High School, Ann attended Colby College in Maine to obtain her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in religious studies. While there, she also played on the women’s softball and hockey team.
After graduating, she immediately began coaching hockey at St. Mary’s University in Winona, where she also worked as a hall director and eventually started her master’s program in psychology.
After experiencing some doubts about what she really wanted to be doing, Ann took a break from school to help her dad and brother start a company. “I did a start-up company with them for about three years called “Disc Burn,” where I had to do everything. That was the start of when I realized that I should really finish my master’s degree before it gets too late,” Pelzel explained.
While finishing her master’s program, Pelzel was hired to work in the career center at Augsburg College. Soon after that, with only a semester left in school, she was hired as the assistant athletic director at St. Ben’s college, which she was ecstatic about.
Pelzel commented, “I’ve always loved psychology; I’ve always loved sports.” Her path would soon take her to Wisconsin, where she taught psychology for seven years.
Despite her successful career, psychology wasn’t always easy for Pelzel. “When I was a junior in high school, psych was one of the electives I took and I found it very fascinating. It wasn’t like it was my strongest area, so it wasn’t like it was easy for me, but I was so interested in it. I really enjoyed the material.”
In 2013, Pelzel started teaching at Anoka-Ramsey. She described her favorite part of her job, “Helping students get to where they want to be, kind of figuring out what their passion is and what’s driving them, then helping them connect to where they want to go. I definitely think that stems from Psychology.”
Student who take her courses know that Pelzel likes to make things fun and add humor. “You have to take college seriously, but you also have to learn to laugh and enjoy the process of it.”
Pelzel’s offered some advice for student: “If you have a passion for something, don’t hit a bump in the road and give up. Continue to pursue the things that are important to you.”
Ann Pelzel is a great example of what it means to pursue the things you love and to not give up on something that you have a passion for.