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Laura Odom

Odom and hiking in the mountains with her children, Emily, 7, and Andrew, 5.

Odom and hiking in the mountains with her children, Emily, 7, and Andrew, 5.

At UT: At UT since 2014, Laura Odom is a clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and came to UT after working for more than a decade as a family nurse practitioner. She teaches clinical pathophysiology and several classes focusing on family care. Last year, Odom won the Chancellor’s Award for Community Service for her volunteer work with a mobile clinic. “It’s so rewarding to help treat underserved patients in our area,” she said.

Why she chose this field: “I’ve always known I wanted to pursue a doctorate, and along the way, I learned that I loved teaching.” She explained teaching and practicing are very complementary. “As a nurse practitioner, you do a lot of patient education and teaching students keeps you up to date on the latest patient care.”

Although Odom loves to learn and care for patients, the most rewarding part of her position is seeing students learn so quickly. “They enter a class not knowing how to take blood pressure and leave feeling confident about giving a patient a full physical,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

Outside interests: She is president of a start-up company. “While completing my doctorate, I formed a business that develops mobile apps for patient care,” she said. “The first app was developed to help people manage their asthma, but we are working to develop an app that can help patients manage and live with many different diseases.”

Odom also has a five-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter. She loves to take them hiking and coaches both of their soccer teams. “They are real troopers on some of the longer hikes,” she said.

Favorite book: Odom’s favorite book is The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. The book explains that failure is OK as long as people learn and grow from those experiences. “I think this book has such a valuable lesson in it,” she said. “I apply what I’ve learned from this book to both teaching and parenting.”

If I didn’t do this, I’d: “Be an entrepreneur.”

One last thing: Odom’s sister is an engineer who works for Universal Studios Theme Parks. “My sister and I are total opposites,” she said. “She works on roller coasters using math and engineering while I use the sciences and medical technology in my career. Together we cover all of STEM.”