About Laurie

Laurie Petty

Hi, I’m Laurie, a mother of four. I was born in Wisconsin, but I have spent most of my life in the Kansas City area. I am what some people call a “life-long learner” 😊 - I have four university degrees (B.A., B.S., and two masters degrees) and I am on my way to a fifth (a PhD in sociology). My friends and family think I am trying to “collect” them all! I am also physically disabled - though I don't look it.

I’ve always been ambitious and successful at what I put my mind to, but an unexpected physical disability from a skull/brain abnormality called a Chiari I Malformation has forced me to think hard about the direction of my life. Given my physical limitations, how can I support myself and my children while doing something GOOD for society? I have so much I want to give back, and I believe this cause, my passion, is the way forward.

My original career plan was to teach. After graduation from University of Missouri, Columbia (MU) with a B.A. English Literature, and a B.S. Education, I became a high school English teacher. As much as I enjoyed working with the high school students, I knew I could do more good at the college level, so I began working in higher education.

Next, I worked in the School of Information Sciences and Learning Technologies (SISLT) at the University of Missouri, and later in the Entry-Level Writing Program at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). While I was still in California, I earned a master's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Higher Education and Organizational Change. I had plans to be a professor and researcher or work in a higher education administrative role.

After I finished my UCLA degree, and as I prepared for my second child, it seemed like the time to move closer to my family in Kansas City. I was still pursuing my goal of a career in higher education, and as the next step in that, I entered the PhD program in Sociology at the University of Kansas (KU). The plan was to finish my doctorate and teach at the college level or go into administration to help college students navigate their way to a better, more prosperous life. That was when I learned about BRAIN TONSILS (yes, you have them too!), and my Chiari journey began.

Read: Brain Tonsils? Part 1 of 3