This month’s Employee Spotlight is shining on Program Director, Larissa Bixby.
Instead of my usual interview, I’ve written up a short “About Me” using the same prompts as in past Spotlight Interviews. I’ve been with the Osceola County Historical Society for two years now. I began as part time Program Coordinator and was promoted to full-time Program Director. I’m from Louisville, Kentucky, but I have lived all over the Midwestern and Southern United States in my pursuit of an education. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Forensics from the University of Tennessee and a Master’s Degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Cultural Studies from the University of Louisville. I spent the summer of 2013 in Northern Ireland researching my thesis; Conflicted tourism: heritage narratives, sectarian schism, and economic growth in Northern Ireland.
Education is important to me. Learning new skills and acquiring knowledge is second nature, I believe that being informed is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. That’s one of the reasons I took this position with OCHS, to teach and help inform the next generation about the Histories and Heritage of Osceola County, Florida, the USA, and ultimately the World. We shouldn’t yearn for a rose-tinted or airbrushed view of the past, instead we need to discover how to connect our modern world to that earlier knowledge that is waiting for us to find it and build upon its lessons to create a better world for future generations. By preserving history, OCHS acts as a conduit for future generations to learn how to apply the lessons of the past and build a better tomorrow. In my position, I work closely with the children of Central Florida and some from across the United States and the World. I get to experience how our work of preserving history touches the lives of visitors to the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek and the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum first hand. Watching little faces light up as they make a connection between their lives and the past or discussing the differences in regional historical content with an adult is very rewarding for me.
I don’t give myself a lot of free time, I stick to a fairly rigorous schedule that includes, yoga, reading, and continuing my language lessons. When I do find some down time, I generally fill it with knitting/crochet, gardening, or baking. I listen to podcasts during my commutes to and from Kissimmee. It’s hard to pick a favorite one, so my top three are: This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, and StarTalk Radio. I have so many more I listen to, but these three I will always come back to, no matter how far I stray or how long I go without listening. I wanted to be an Astrophysicist when I was a kid, and I devoured anything related to the stars Carl Sagan’s words from Cosmos have always stuck with me “We are made of star-stuff. Our bodies are made of star-stuff. There are pieces of star within us all.” We have so much potential within us, we just have to believe in ourselves and our abilities to make our dreams come true.
I can’t live without my spouse and our fabulous friends. Liz and I have been together for nearly 20 years, first as childhood friends, and then as life partners. She is the earth to air and the water to my fire. She is the perfect complement to me in personality and temperament. Liz is the most supportive, loving individual I have ever met, and I am very lucky to have her in my life. We have created a network of friends that, I would say, are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to know, and I am thankful every day to have them in my life.