Can a prank turn into a career that spans the United States and Canada? This was the case for Kathryn Martin from Ponchatoula.
So shy as a teenager that she asked for Fs rather than giving oral reports in class, Martin felt at home with a microphone in hand speaking to crowds of all sizes, even some spots at the national television reaching millions of people.
Working for a local dentist and loving the profession, she wanted to teach in the field and started by taking evening classes at Loyola Dental School.
After earning national certification, she earned her bachelor’s and secondary education certificate at Southeastern and her master’s at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Having accepted a position in Cali, Colombia, developing a school for dental assistants, Martin was ready to put her Spanish to work, when the government official fell ill and had to resign.
So came the call from Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee, with the same offer. Martin accepts and becomes coordinator, then director of dental services at the rank of assistant professor.
“Thank God I went because it was quite difficult in English,” Martin joked.
But the change was one that led to her dressing up as a little old lady she called “Miz Maudie” for a unique practical joke which in turn led to real engagements as well as discovery and encouragement from Minnie Pearl of the Grand Ole Opry, pastors and other full-time professionals.
At the same time, Kathryn was called in as an inspirational speaker, and when people realized she was Miz Maudie, she was booked as a team.
His writings were appearing in national periodicals, gaining attention itself and leading to more engagements and his resignation from the college. Since then, her books have opened up even more avenues for speaking as an author and as a caregiver.
There’s more to it than that, according to a spokesperson, and Kathryn will be sharing “Stories Behind the Stories” at the Twin Steeples Creative Art Center on Friday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m.
Guests will be entertained and uplifted as Kathryn Martin of Ponchatoula recounts her adventures during a 40-year career she never planned, the spokesperson said.
Free entry. For information on upcoming events, contact Executive Director Erin Wallace at [email protected]