Donna Hawkins

Profile Updated: February 14, 2015
Donna Hawkins
Residing In Lakewood, CO USA
Occupation Technology Transfer Specialist
Yes! Attending Reunion

Almost 50 years since I left Newton, but the memories are as vivid as ever. I will try to give a short update for the passage of so much time. I stayed in Kansas and my family moved to Colorado as soon as they ceased to hear, “We can’t leave. Who wants to go to Colorado?”
I went to WSU and stayed through an undergraduate degree (Spanish and Sociology with minors in history and anthropology; then stayed for an MA in Spanish. The highlight of those years was getting involved in the Latin community (gee, they all took Spanish) and I had a professor who loved drama as much as I did and we started putting on plays annually. At first they were so amateurish, but certainly improved substantially through the years and we had a built-in audience with the large Cuban exile community in Wichita. Then there was the summer school in Puebla, Mexico where it was cheaper to attend there than on campus. I spent four summers there. One time a Chilean friend came down after classes at WSU and we stayed long enough to have to borrow a dime to make a collect phone call to my mother – not one of my most pleasant moments.
I worked at the library and the staff kept asking what I planned to do since I could not teach. One day at the library they literally ganged up on me and told me my job was to fill out applications for library schools and scholarships. I was lucky enough to get enough scholarship money and a small loan and felt as though I was WEALTHY! I went to the University of Texas at Austin which had a subprogram in Latin American Studies. At the time, it was the largest campus in the U.S. I would have flunked out at such an impersonal atmosphere for undergraduates but what opportunities for graduate students! They maintained that you could not get a doctorate in Latin American Studies without spending time at UT although I am sure other places would vehemently disagree. Several of us decided we should head South before we started seriously working and having mortgage payments, cars, etc. So of to Brazil for the summer.
However, the American community there had heard there was a “real, live” librarian in the area so I “got” the job and stayed in Sao Paulo for almost three years. I could never have worked in a school library in the States because I had so school credentials and since they hired me at local wages I decided to spend my time with the Brazilians. The students were Americans working there or wealthy Brazilians. I had wonderful volunteers (wives whose husbands were therewith American companies and we really turned it into a “public” library for the American community! Otherwise my only real interaction with the American community was the community theater group. Pele was in his last years of playing soccer before he left to make soccer the national game in the U.S. I got to watch him play and became a fan.
When I decide d to go home I stopped in Chile and visited with my friend’s family and spent time with her friends, many of whom I had corresponded with through the years. Then I stopped in Wichita and spent a couple of weeks and headed “home” to Colorado where my parents had moved. I actually got my first job as a “medical” librarian at the largest private hospital in the State through the Denver Post (those days no longer exist). Great fun, loved working with the doctors and nursing staff. I was horrified at the medical terminology but three years of Latin and Spanish and one year of French in high school and all the Spanish and Portuguese made it easy. I even translated the first botulism article (in French) for one of the neurologist – botulism is big in Colorado where people often do not boil foods as much as they need to with the altitude. The hospital had the first heliport and “flying” nurses so much publicity and emergency care.
Five years later I took a job at the Solar Energy Research Institute, first in the International Section. I worked with Latin America, Spain and Portugal. My first trip back to Brazil I spent walking on roofs of various businesses to measure roofs for photovoltaic panel installations. I went to Mexico often and the solar community there made frequent trips to SERI and I developed some professional relationships that I still maintain. We had so many foreigners at SERI that we had one of the best soccer teams in Colorado! And the ones who didn’t play came to the games. The staff was young and from all over so we worked together and played together. All that came to a bitter end with the Reagan Administration when energy efficiency and renewable energy became an anathema.
Then I moved to the U.S. Department of Energy (again working in clean energy) where I have been since 1989 (25 years this September – and I only know the date because it is 9/11!). I have worked in buildings, transportation, and low-income weatherization. I guess the highlights would be the first two advertorials DOE ever produced and the “house that Donna built.” We were pressed to do “something” for the Olympics in Atlanta – translate that as no funding. Two years before we had a large meeting in Asilomar (paradise, believe me). I was talking with the founder of Southface in Atlanta when one of our project officers came up to me and asked if he could get walls donated could I build a house in Atlanta. Plenty of time, glass in hand, and walking along the beach it seemed so possible! I spent more time in Atlanta than in DC over the next two years. We accomplished it with an incredible group of people from the laboratories and American companies. Don’t ever try to do any construction where the whole economy is focused on “getting ready for the Olympics.”
I lived in Washington for several years before moving to Maryland. My mother, nephew and his son wanted to come and I knew she would never survive in an apartment in DC. I had long tired of the incompetence of the DC government and of not being able to vote (only for the President) so I was ready. In 1999 we moved to Maryland (Berwyn Heights, the 7th oldest town in Maryland). My nephew and his son left two or three years later but Mother was with me until she died November 26, 2012. I really think I was in a fog for over a year which stymied the grieving process. My father died on the Ides of March 1996 and I thought that was difficult but a friend once told me that no matter your age or situation after you lose the last parent you feel like an orphan.
We have an office in Golden, CO and I am planning to go there to work for a short time and if that doesn't work out then just retire. And I am ready for either.

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Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2020 at 4:33 AM
Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2019 at 4:36 AM
Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2017 at 4:33 AM
Donna Hawkins posted a message.
Jan 07, 2017 at 1:27 PM

Happy belated b'day. Too much of the Latin influence. I'm back in Colorado and glad. There seem to be several of us here. Have a safe and healthy year.

Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2016 at 4:33 AM
Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2015 at 4:33 AM
Donna Hawkins has a birthday today.
Dec 05, 2014 at 4:33 AM
Donna Hawkins posted a message.
Jun 04, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Happy Birthday and a HEALTHY year. I really enjoyed your information - sounds like a fun life.

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May 26, 2014 at 4:29 PM
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May 19, 2014 at 9:26 AM