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Barry Stephens

Barry's picture of Romania

What jobs did you have before coming to WVU?

I was a computer teacher at a private school in Florida. I taught English in Germany and Taiwan. I cooked for a restaurant, Max and Erma’s, in Ohio. For four years, I was an adjunct math instructor at Garrett College.

What has been the best or most enjoyable time/class/moment in your education?

I was a music major at Berea College as an undergrad. I got to write a grant to go to Romania and study folk music. 


They have various cultural regions and there are places where the cultural practices go back thousands of years and they’re still practicing them. I went there during Christmas, and Christmas Day they have these things called passion plays. Villagers will get together and in front of the church there will be a big play that has elements from the 16th Century up until World War I. Going on throughout the whole village are masked characters; there’s a little devil character that goes around scaring all the kids. There are jesters, fools.There are people just wreaking havoc, scaring everyone and making a mess. No one is in their homes. They’re all out in the center of the village by the wooden church that was 400 years old.

What has been the best or most enjoyable time/class/moment in your job?

Working with students, helping students overcome various obstacles in their education. Helping them figure out what they want to do and seeing the results of that: getting good jobs or doing what they like to do.

What’s one thing you wish you had known in college? 

I wish that when I was an undergraduate I would have known that graduate school is really accessible and there are ways to pay for it and be successful. And not to be intimidated by graduate school.

If you won a billion dollars, what would you do with the money?

I’d travel to places I’ve never been before like South America. I’d travel around Africa and Eurasia, so Turkey and Russia. And Australia, of course, Australia!

What were you most grateful for in 2020?

Supportive friends.

What have you been surprised by in 2021?

Getting back to normal, to a state of however normal we could get back to.


Just for Fun

What are you currently reading? Rise of the Roman Empire 

What’s your favorite restaurant? Ogawa 

What’s your favorite band? Cake 

What’s one thing you can’t live without? Books