Milo’s is a local business that has been running out of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) for nearly 14 years and is planning its own facility in the near future. Milo’s produces pasta sauces, barbque sauces, salsa, dressings, and maple bacon onion jam. It also co-packs for other companies.
The Path to Her B.A.
Shank graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University as a non-traditional student. She started college years previously at Lower Columbia College in Longview, WA, at a time when her goal was to be a social studies teacher.
After a couple of Anthropology classes, including a class studying indigenous art and culture of the Pacific Northwest, she was hooked.
She completed a general associate’s degree from Wallace Community College while running a business in Eufaula, AL. The idea then was that one day she might get to finish a bachelor’s degree.
Shank changed her mind about being a public school teacher and considered a couple of different majors, first history, then geology, but decided that she had a knack for anthropology.
“Besides, history, geology, art all go into this major, if you think about it!” she says.
She was encouraged to go on to graduate school by professors and believes she might have done so had she been a traditional student, but by that time she had a teenager of her own.
“A time and a season,” says Shank. “And I have an almost-17-year-old about to enter into that world to find her own “knack.””
There have been times when jobs required a bachelor’s degree, but it didn’t matter what the field of study had been. Shank says that having the degree means that she completed something that she started and that she has the ability to see through long term goals to completion.
“My kids have benefited because they watched me succeed at this, and they know that if they so choose, they will be able to as well,” she says.
As a credit manager, Shank does many of the things that she did with her previous work experience. She manages budgets, pays invoices, collects on past due bills, uses Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets to help organize and keep things on track. She observes that bookkeeping is generally very isolated work.
Her work as volunteer director of the Athens Family History Center is where she taps her love of things anthropological and enjoys broader social engagement.
Shank keeps the center technology in order and does work similar to her regular job, paperwork, budgets and reports, but mostly she helps people set up accounts and search population records for their ancestors.
Most of the research ability in the center is online with sites like ancestry.com, but they also have a microfilm reader that Shank uses to access films for patrons. Occasionally visitors from out of town need assistance finding information that is not yet online, which involves going to a historical society or a cemetery. For over four years, she has been working with youth such as the Boy Scouts, helping them earn Genealogy Merit badges. She encourages people who are interested to come use the center’s facility on Wednesday nights.
She also encourages everyone to interview their relatives for life stories and any family history that they can glean.
Shank and her husband of one year are expecting a baby boy in May, her fifth and his first. Her other children range in age from 10 to 16, so when she is not working or volunteering, she is busy with family and her children’s activities.