Spotlight Series: Dr. Denise Barkis Richter
September 25, 2019
Dr. Denise Barkis Richter, professor of communications at Palo Alto College for 21 years, uses her love for teaching and traveling to bring new experiences to the lives of her students, and it has even led her to publish her very own book.
Now in its second edition, Richter's "100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die" gives tourists a glimpse of what the city has to offer. A publisher asked Richter to write the book noticing her work on San Antonio Tourist, a blog that she started in 2010 to showcase the hidden gems of the city.
"I love San Antonio, so I like showing it off to people," said Richter. "The thing I'm most interested in is off-the-beaten-track San Antonio. My [blog's] tagline is, 'For folks who want to get beyond the Alamo and River Walk.'"
Richter's idea for the blog came about after she took a group of students to study abroad in 2004. Part of their coursework included blogging about their experience, and as a writer herself, she decided to take part in the blog too. After coming home, she realized there was an opportunity to share some of San Antonio's best kept secrets with tourists and locals alike, and San Antonio Tourist was born.
Through her writing, Richter showcases for her students how to be a self-starting reporter and writer. The students put out the College's student publication, the PAC Pulse. She believes that the work she does for her blog sets a precedent for the work that they do on their own.
"I think it is good for my students to see me shooting the photos, interviewing people, writing about it, and hitting those deadlines," said Richter. "It shows them that you can create something yourself. You don't have to wait for someone to hire you."
The blog provides Richter an opportunity to continue writing while being a full-time professor.
"The whole reason I got my master's degree was so I can teach," said Richter. "The thing about teaching writing is that you grade a lot of writing, but you don't do an awful lot of writing. I really missed it."
Richter's interest in travel also influences her classes. Throughout her time at the College, Richter has taken students on various trips around the United States and the world.From Spain to Washington D.C., giving students opportunity to travel serves as a stepping stone for students to branch out in the future.
"One of the things I'm most proud of here at Palo Alto College is that I have created these opportunities for my students to have study abroad experiences," said Richter. "I think once you have that kind of experience, it builds your confidence and you realize, 'If I can do that, I can do just about anything.'"
To get a copy of Richter's book, visit the Twig Bookshop located at The Historic Pearl or a local Barnes and Noble bookstore. If you have a story idea for an upcoming edition of the PAC Pulse, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.