Published April 18, 2023
Sherry Curtis Rogers has been named DC3’s 62nd Distinguished Alumnus and will speak at the college’s upcoming graduation activities on May 12-13. [Photo by Gavin Peters]
Sherry (Holden) Curtis Rogers, a Professor of Physical Science at Dodge City Community College (DC3), has been named as the college’s 2023 Distinguished Alumnus for its upcoming graduation activities scheduled for May 12-13.
Born and raised in rural Southwest Kansas, Rogers graduated from Bucklin High School in 1988. After attending classes at DC3, she later transferred to Kansas State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1993.
From 1993-1995, Rogers served as a research chemist at EIC Laboratories, in Norwood, Mass. In 2001, she returned to DC3 as an adjunct instructor, and she would remain there for the next five years.
“I left the college and started teaching at Dodge City High School in January of 2006,” she said. “I taught high school physics, chemistry, and physical science for eight years before coming back to Dodge City Community College.”
In 2014, Rogers completed her Master’s degree at Fort Hays State University (FHSU), and later that same year, she returned to DC3 to become the college’s physical sciences professor. Continuing in that capacity today, she teaches Physical Science, Astronomy, and Meteorology classes.
“DC3 is a special place, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t,” she said. “It was hard for me to leave DCHS and come back here, as I had it pretty good at the high school. But, I have a very strong emotional connection to DC3. It is a part of who I am as a person, and it is where I belong.”
Currently, Rogers lives on a farm about eight miles north of Spearville, Kan., in Hodgeman County, with her husband, Chad, who farms and ranches.
She has two children. Her 27-year-old daughter, Amber Curtis, graduated from FHSU with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Physics in 2016, and she is now working in Missouri as a chemist. And her 25-year-old son, Jac Curtis, is currently in the Air Force, and he is stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, in Hawaii.
Rogers said that her goal for her students each semester is to have the same kind of DC3 experience she had as a student. And, ultimately, she hopes they learn more than just content from her classes.
“Honestly, I want them to remember their time here the same way I do,” she said. “Amazing professors and lifelong friendships.”
In addition, she said she hopes her students will remember her as the person who loved being in the classroom with them every day.
“I want to be, by far and away, the best teacher they ever had,” she said. “But, I will settle for being a good teacher who made a difference in their lives.”
Last year, Rogers was selected as one of 24 teachers, from 13 states, to serve as one of the 2022 NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA). Through this program, she received training in astrophysics and planetary science, and she attended a weeklong STEM immersion experience at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii.
And although being named as an astronomy ambassador is a cherished title that she gets to keep for the remainder of her career, she said the “accolades” she receives from her students are the most precious awards she receives.
“I get hundreds of accolades every year,” she said. “They come in the form of kind student comments written on final exams at the end of the semester, Christmas cards, astronomy trinkets and gifts from students—who saw them and thought of me—and letters from boot camp from former students who joined the military after leaving here. Those are the only accolades that matter.”
Regarding the future, Rogers said she will continue to work on various educational projects.
“You never really get good at this teaching thing,” she said. “I am always trying to make it better. I love what I do, and I cannot imagine doing anything else. Teaching is my passion, and I love spending my days with my students!”
Rogers is the 62nd Distinguished Alumnus to be recognized by the college since the program was implemented in 1963, and she said she is “honored and humbled” about the nomination.
“I went to school with a lot of people who are way more distinguished and successful than I am,” she said. “But nobody loves what they do as much as I do. First, I actually get paid to talk about what I love all day long. Second, I get to make a difference. I once sat where my students sit. I had some pretty amazing professors who had a profound impact on who I am today, and this is my way of repaying my debts.”
In her capacity as the 2023 Distinguished Alumnus, Rogers will speak at 6 p.m., on Friday, May 12, at the DC3 Honors Banquet, which will be at the Boot Hill Casino and Resort Conference Center. The following day, Saturday, May 14, she will serve as the keynote speaker at the DC3 Commencement Ceremony, which will be at 3 p.m., in the DC3 Student Activity Center.
To kick off the graduation weekend, a reception is planned in Rogers’ honor from 3-4 p.m., on Friday, May 12, in the DC3 Library. The public is invited to attend.
By Lance ZieschDC3 Assistant Director of Marketing and Community Relations