Monday, March 17, 2014

Busting the 'left brain vs. right brain' myth

By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events

MC Database Programmer Alison Thomas has a passion for learning and enjoys solving complex challenges. Of course, her profession demands that she understand and document complex business rules and existing processes. One would assume that this requires a brain that is analytical and logical in its functioning, rather than intuitive and creative.

Thomas, however, busts the myth about left brained vs. right brained thinking. Not only is she an extremely capable computer programmer, but also is a talented artist. Her beautiful and intricately designed pottery creations are proudly displayed in her MC office and her home. Her work has also been featured in the Midland Arts Association juried exhibits, both at MC and at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland.

Thomas said, “I really never considered myself artistic. I did sew and crochet for years, but I never even thought about taking art classes until Ann Mays [fellow MC Information Technology colleague] suggested that I take an MC ceramics class with her. Ann had been taking classes for several years and enjoyed it, so I decided to join her. I started taking MC ceramics classes taught by Carol Bailey in 2004, and after one semester I was hooked. I have taken a class every semester since then!”

Bailey is now retired, but Thomas continues to take classes taught by MC’s newest art instructor Mike Richardson. This past summer, Thomas spent five days in Santa Fe taking a seminar from renowned ceramicist Steven Hill. In fact, Thomas is so committed to her hobby that she even has her own pottery wheel and kiln. Alison and her husband Danny recently remodeled their Greenwood home and built a pottery studio in the back for Allison and a darkroom in the garage for Danny, who is an amateur photographer.

“I find that pottery is a great way to relax and forget about computers for a while,” explained Thomas. “I enjoy creating pottery year-round, but I really do most of my designs on Fridays in the summer. It’s nice to be able to have that extra day.”

Thomas received her A.A.S. degree in Information Technology Systems from MC and first began working at the college in 1993; however, in 1995 she left MC to work as a computer programmer for Enertech in Midland. She soon discovered “the error of her ways” and came back to MC in 1999. Alison grew up in the Lubbock area and graduated from high school in New Deal, Texas, which is north of Lubbock. She and Danny have lived in Midland for 27 years and have two grown children—Megan, age 29, and Lance, age 27. Their extended family also includes their son-in-law Todd Gooding and a grand dog, who is a Great Dane named Shelby.

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