Student Showcase – Cory Campbell

WANTED: Ambitious person

Written by Corey Campbell
for the McNair Newsletter, University of Wyoming

Dr. Campbell is the first University of Wyoming McNair Scholar to obtain a Ph.D.

WANTED: Ambitious person who is willing to forego a high salary in exchange for a chance to make new discoveries, become a life-long student, challenge yourself, teach others, and find satisfaction in your ability to problem-solve.

Will getting a Ph.D. limit your salary potential? Maybe or maybe not, it depends on your field. However, in obtaining a Ph.D., you will hopefully transcend the idea that having a high salary is a “be all end all” career goal, and become interested in loftier goals: teaching, collaborating, and finding your intellectual and physical limits. Having goals such as these can lead to a lifetime of career fulfillment and help you avoid burnout later on.

When I first came back to college after an eight year break to raise my family, these goals were the furthest from my mind. All I wanted to do was to be able, as the sole wage earner, to provide financial support for my three children. So, I looked for an undergraduate major that would provide me with the ability to do that. I had no intention of obtaining a post bachelor’s degree. But, surprise! Here I am now, some thirteen years later, working as a staff scientist for a federal research agency, all because of my decision to shoot high and aim for a Ph.D. degree rather than settling for a position at the Bachelor’s or Master’s level.

Obtaining my Ph.D. was one of the best decisions I have made, not only for earning potential, but because I have found a career that provides me with the self-satisfaction and autonomy that I would have never found with a lesser degree. In whatever you chose to do with your life, aim high! Even if you don’t reach every goal, you can rest in the knowledge that you did your best work. And, that’s all you should ever expect from yourself, or anyone else.