Anastasia Krutulis was always drawn to learning, which meant spending quite a bit of time with her nose buried in books as a child in Indiana.
“I was an early, avid reader and always loved my local library. The way check-out systems worked back then, they did not allow books to be returned the same day that they were checked out. Children could only check out a limited number of books on their card, but I would read them all and then come back the same day wanting more. The librarian made a big deal out of allowing me to have an adult card with which I could check out an unlimited number of books…and she became my hero,” Anastasia explains.
After working in a library during college, and still being drawn to toil in the stacks after graduation, she decided to pursue her Master’s in Library Science. Originally Anastasia’s plan was to develop skills in data management, but she soon found herself in the throes of traditional public librarian work, which afforded her time to home-school her children while also maintaining an amazing career in Public Health.
She went on to become a laboratory manager for a longitudinal early autism identification study and then the Public Health Graduate Program at Purdue University. She was nominated as a member of the board of trustees for her local public library and also volunteers with the library’s friends organization, where Anastasia sorts and prices the antiquarian book donations to sell.
Her passion for community wellness is equally as strong as her library involvement. “Public Health programs are the link between scientific research, education and government policy,” Anastasia explains. “Public health improves the quality of life of individuals. It helps prevent and reduce the impact of disease and suffering. I can’t think of anything more important than that.”
And stepping from macro to micro, Anastasia seeks to help those in her immediate circle just as much as she extends her hand to the public; she manages the social media and online marketing aspects of friends’ businesses and her father-in-law’s artistic endeavors with reclaimed wood.
Working in academia as well as on the limitless community of the internet allows Anastasia to glean myriad experiences and constantly challenge herself. “I haven’t had a single, direct career path and that’s fine with me,” she says. “Every opportunity enables me to learn new skills and expand my own horizons.” And it’s that adaptability and curiosity that she has bestowed upon her four children, as a mother, and their teacher.
And what does this home-schooling, book stacking, quilt making, public health serving, social media maven and mother have to say to all the young people out there wondering what the ‘right’ path is for them?
“Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” It’s far worse to pretend to know something that you don’t. “I don’t know” leads to “I can figure it out.” Go figure it out. Ask for help – maybe even ask a librarian!” Anastasia says. “Keep asking. Keep learning.”
Very sage advice from one super Cool Girl!