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Cumberland Q&A: Peg Fredi


Name: Dr. Peg Fredi

Dept: Art

Hometown: I am originally from South East Tennessee but I have lived in every major city in TN and Rochester, NY.

What led you to Cumberland?: I won the TACA (TN Association of Craft Artists) in 2010 and my Alternative images were seen by 2 faculty members from Cumberland. They asked me if I had a terminal degree in Art, and I said yes, then they asked me if I wanted a job and I said YES!

My field of Study: I came about the field of study in a roundabout way. My first degrees were in Biology and Chemistry. I worked in Medical Research at UT Memphis for a while then got into the medical field. After a stint working at the NICU at the City of Memphis Hospital, I had my first child and moved to New York. Four Children later, I took my first class in photography which led to graduate school. When I started working at CU, I earned a Master's of Art in Studio Art. Six years ago, I felt led by God to pursue a PhD in Christian Counseling (conferred in 2020) and an IFOC Chaplain's license.

Hobbies: I have so many hobbies. Music, art, theater, gardening, cooking, sewing, ceramics, textile arts (weaving and spinning of thread), quilting, and of course photography. I collect things I find in nature, so my house looks like a natural history museum. Wilderness survival, wilderness medicine. I like camping and being outside, horseback riding, animals, my dogs...

I'm passionate about: My students. I want them to feel safe and happy, and I want to share my passion for learning with them. I don't call myself a 'teacher,' but a 'facilitator' for their learning. I want them to know they can change the world, and that they will change it.

Skill(s) I would like to learn: Math, small engine repair.

My earliest memory: At probably around five years old, I remember being at my neighbors' house hiding in the ditch in front of her house with several other little friends, watching her babysitter (whom she didn't like) trying to find her. We could see the babysitter through the big windows in her house searching for us everywhere. For some reason we thought that was great fun; our parents didn't, and we found out just how much they didn't think of our prank.

What makes you unique? All of us are unique. I'm no more unique than anyone else.

Who are your mentors? My mother was my best teacher. She was a badass before there were any. She was a teacher, and she always told me I could do anything I wanted to if I wanted to do it bad enough. She was a very strong person and held our family together when it could have fallen apart. My 5th grade teacher taught me the value of colored chalk. I had a 6th grade teacher who told me I would never make it to college -- I have been there/done that several times. Sometimes when people tell us things we can't do, we spend time proving them wrong.

I'm most grateful for: This would fill a book. There are so many things that I am grateful for, but mostly I am grateful for my four children, their husbands, wives, and the littles. My children mean the world to me and children teach you how to love in a ways that no other people can. I have learned so much from them and I hope they have learned from me.

Biggest risk I've taken: My oldest son wanted to learn how to rock climb. He had a medical condition that made it very dangerous to do such things, but I didn't want to keep him from doing something he wanted to try, so I took the lessons with him. He was very good at it and learned to lead climb. We scaled a 300 foot rockface in Maine one year. It took three separate ropes and the middle part was a 'crack' climb where you stick your fist in the crevice of the rock and ascend, hand over hand, until you reach the next part. Needless to say, I was really apprehensive, but my son kept telling me, 'Come on, Mom, you can do this!' I didn't want to let him down. It was really scary, but it was about the biggest risk and the most empowering thing I have ever done. I learned a big lesson from that climb. Sometimes you have to take a big breath of air and 'just do it' even though something may seem impossible.

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