Hard work has paid off for Pamela Krch. Read the original here:
Meet the Doctor
By Cecily Whiteside
When Pamela Krch graduated from CMU, then Mesa State College, in 2007, she had no idea that her path was going to lead all the way to a PhD. “I dropped out of CU Boulder in the 70s, got married and moved to Telluride. I always wanted to go back to school, but raising two kids in Telluride? It just wasn’t in the cards.”
Once the kids were grown, Krch remarried and moved to Montrose. “I thought ‘this is my chance!’ I loved school; loved being a student,” Krch said. She did most of her course-work at the Montrose Campus, then commuted to the main campus in Grand Junction.
“After I graduated with a degree in history, I applied to New Mexico State [University] in Las Cruses.” Fortuitously, Krch’s husband, a civil engineer, was offered a job in Las Cruses. “It was perfect. I got my masters in public history and history, but nobody was breaking my door down with job offers so I decided to apply to the El Paso Borderlands History PhD program. Now here I am getting ready to defend my dissertation on April 15.”
Krch credit hard work and quality professors for her success. “It’s been a long road. I’ve worked with the committee so I know them as friends and colleagues. They won’t let me fail. But there is this imposter theory. At the back of my mind I feel like it might be a mistake, like somebody will find you out.” Irrational fears aside, Krch feels confident about defending her dissertation. “When you’re an undergrad you know a little about a lot of things. With a master’s you know more about less. With a PhD you know all about a tiny area. You both broaden and narrow at the same time.”
Krch explained, “I’ve always had an interest in art history and Native American art.” After discovering the work of Gerald Nailor, a Navajo artist who studied under Dorothy Dunn, the direction of Krch’s doctoral work began to take shape. “Nailor did a mural in Washington DC and has works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art, but no one had heard of him!” This interest led her to more of the Native American artists influenced by Dunn. “I assigned themes to seven different Navajo artists,” Krch said. She examines gender discourse, cultural sovereignty and the ethos of the art world, among other themes. “I’d like to get it published at some point,” she added. “The university press has shown some interest.”
Krch’s immediate plans are to remain in Grand Junction. “I have a two-year-old granddaughter and my daughter is expecting again. That’s a huge draw.” As to her next steps? “I love to teach and write.” And being called doctor? “Someone said ‘Thank you Dr. Krch’ and I couldn’t even really believe it was me.”
Krch will be presenting a lecture on Cultural Sovereignty and Culture Violence: Native American Easel Painting in Sante Fe, 1900-1945 at CMU on March 31. From there it’s off to defend her dissertation.