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Random Profile: Terri Cantrell

Did a passion for dancing bring Terri to NCAR? Indirectly, yes. When Terri was a microbiology student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she joined a dance club called A2 (the name alluded to both square dancing and Ann Arbor). There, she met a graceful atmospheric chemistry graduate student by the name of Chris Cantrell. After they married, NCAR hired Chris, who is now a scientist in ACD. “We moved out here with a one-year-old and a cat,” Terri recalls. Three years ago, Terri landed her own job with NCAR as an administrator—first in ATD and then, at the beginning of 2001, in HAO.

Who taught her about computers? Much of Terri’s job consists of basic administrative assistant duties, but with a technology focus. She’s designed computer-generated graphics, revamped HAO’s Web site, and helped with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. “One of the main reasons I was hired was to bring them further into the computer age,” she explains. “Most of the computer stuff I do is actually self-trained, by the seat of my pants.” She’s assembled an impressive portfolio at the division, using Adobe Photoshop to redesign the HAO logo and create a number of eye-catching images, including one in the NCAR strategic plan.

Asked what she likes about her HAO job, she says without any hesitation: “variety.” Her HAO responsibilities aside, she’s also a first aid volunteer for UCAR’s Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) and for the past two years has been a writing mentor with the SOARS program.

How did baseball affect Terri’s childhood? Terri was born in California. But her family moved repeatedly when she was growing up, and she spent time in Seattle, Honolulu, Vancouver, Milwaukee, and Detroit. Moving frequently is often associated with military families, but baseball was the catalyst for Terri’s. Her father held administrative positions with minor and major league baseball teams, including the Detroit Tigers. His responsibilities included handling public relations, running the stadium during spring training in Florida, and managing the scoreboard. “Baseball was his life,” Terri recalls. Now that she and Chris are settled in Broomfield, she can’t imagine life outside Colorado. “The landscape elsewhere seems positively naked without mountains.”

Isn’t Terri too young to be past retirement? Terri refers to herself as a former retiree. She left her job at a banking software company 15 years ago to take care of her small children. Her old job consisted of debugging programs and training employees in software, and it required too much travel for the family. But after a dozen years at home, “I decided the kids had to go to college, so I came back to work.”

Even during Terri’s “retirement” years, she kept herself quite active. She volunteered for FISH of Broomfield, a food bank and emergency services provider, where she set up a computer system, built a database, and created graphics. Then she did similar work as a volunteer for an animal shelter known as Recycled Critter Rescue. At the shelter, Terri also pitched in by cleaning cages and playing with the animals. The homeless animals being too cute to ignore, Terri adopted two of the cats, bringing the number of cats in her household to five—in addition to an iguana named Izzy who intimidated the cats by waving her long tail. “She ruled the house,” Terri recalls of Izzy, who died last year. “She’d walk up to the cat food, and the cats would back away.”

What about her children? Terri and Chris have two children. Katie, 20, is an astrophysics major at the University of Wyoming who just wrapped up a summer internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Ryan, 17, is a superb athlete who took second place in his age group in a statewide gymnastics competition when he was in his early teens. Lately, he’s been focusing on golf—and holding his own against his talented father.

Is Terri still dancing? She and Chris continue to kick up their heels, enjoying both ballroom dancing and round dancing (which is choreographed ballroom dancing). They teach dancing in both Englewood and Wheat Ridge, as well as attend events such as the International Round Dance Festival and the Brigham Young University Ballroom Camps. “Dancing with your partner is very romantic. It can be sultry,” Terri says. “It’s also really good exercise, and it’s very social.”

Terri showed off her form at this year’s lip sync contest, where she helped lead HAO to a first-place finish by portraying the young maiden in a spirited rendition of “El Paso.” She also assisted in putting together the production. “I was a taskmaster,” Terri says with a smile. •David Hosansky


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The NCAR Library offers a potpourri of products

Our new buildings: UCAR purchases Center Green

One—no, two—new Delphi coordinators

Team UCAR/NCAR leads Boulder’s Bike-to-Work Day

Powerful new version of CCSM aids in climate analysis

UCAR studies daycare options: Can the institution open its own center?

It’s a family tradition

Teaching educators

Short Takes

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