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Daily Inspiration: Meet Scott Tuttle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Tuttle.

Hi Scott, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I earned my B.S. in Psychology from Missouri State University in 2007. By the time I finished, I was going through an existential crisis and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I became obsessed with going away for a long time, taking on a new identity, learning a new language, and immersing myself in a new society. So, I joined the Peace Corps, where they sent me to Niger, West Africa, for two years. At the time, I had no language or practical skills. This is really where my love of other cultures and international affairs began.

I was hoping to land a job with an NGO where I could return to working abroad in the developing world. When I returned, I used my Peace Corps alumni benefits to get into a Master’s degree program at Mizzou, where I studied Rural Sociology. However, while working on my Master’s, I met my future wife, who was living in Mexico. Thus, when I finished my Master’s, I took what little Spanish I had to go live with her. I took several jobs as a teacher of English as a second language and spent the next two years trying to make a life in Mexico.

Eventually, I returned to the U.S. with my wife and her daughter. Once we settled in Kansas City, I applied to several Ph.D. programs, finally settling on the University of Kansas, where I am currently a doctoral candidate in Sociology. As I wrap up my dissertation, I am currently working with the research and development department at the 16th Circuit Court in Jackson County and also work as an adjunct professor at Park University and Johnson County Community College.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No. Life always interferes with your plans. While living in Mexico, my greatest challenges were overcoming the language barrier and managing the student debt I’d accumulated in dollars while earning in Mexican pesos. In graduate school, the challenge was trying to be there and provide for a family while keeping up with my coursework. And, of course, now the greatest challenge is finding a work/life balance and being able to find time for all of my side projects.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
When I’m not teaching or preparing a class, I’m usually engaged in research. For the Circuit Court, my job is to answer research questions such as why a particular type of case is becoming more or less common or what effect the pandemic has had on the caseload. I also do literature reviews, background research on new outreach programs, and monthly evaluations of how each component of the court is performing. My reports allow the judges to see if they’re keeping up with incoming cases and disposing of them promptly.

Right now, my Ph.D. dissertation is my side project. Still, after I finish, my next goal is to start a nonfiction publishing company that promotes scholars from the developing world by translating their manuscripts into multiple languages and distributing them as print books, ebooks, and audiobooks. In my spare time, I currently run a blog site called the Suru Institute that publishes short articles from primarily Latin American scholars and translates them into English so they can read the work in either English or Spanish. The Suru Institute will hopefully serve as the foundation for this upcoming publishing company. Podcasts and other such projects are also in the works!

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
As a man of many interests about to turn 40, I feel like I’m just now starting to realize what I want to do with my life. I spent most of my younger years either as a student, an intern, a Peace Corps volunteer, or an ESL teacher, traveling as much as possible and working temp jobs in between. I was constantly in search of new things, but sometimes with hesitation. I guess the lesson from that is always to keep moving forward. Even if you don’t know where the road will take you, it has to lead somewhere.

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Scott Tuttle

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