Lifetime of learning: Renaissance woman’s passion for education keeps her going

Kris Dobbins / THE FLARE || Juneau Embry, a 62-year-old photography student from Longview, has earned several degrees and is working on a Photography Certificate. She hopes to use the skills in her work as a private investigator.
Kris Dobbins / THE FLARE || Juneau Embry, a 62-year-old photography student from Longview, has earned several degrees and is working on a Photography Certificate. She hopes to use the skills in her work as a private investigator.

Editors’ Note: This is the first story in a series featuring the lives of non-traditional students. 


 Some students come to school just because their parents make them, because it is expected of them. But what about the older non-traditional students on campus? Who is making them get out of bed every morning to attend 8 a.m. classes?Juneau Embry, a 62-year-old student has attended several colleges and universities just for something to do.“It is my favorite activity,” Embry said. “I grew up in Denton, a stone’s throw from what was then called North Texas State University and is now known as the University of North Texas.”She attended junior high at the Laboratory School on the NTSU campus through ninth grade and graduated from Denton High School.

Embry attended Cooke County Junior College in Gainesville for one semester, transferred to North Texas State University for two semesters and finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science.

“I was very active in student affairs on the campus and served as the women’s advocate two years, working with the student body and the dean of students,” Embry said.

She worked at Proctor & Gamble in the Folger’s Coffee Division as a sales representative for one year between her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Embry then decided she would go on to graduate school and attended South Texas College of Law and graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1980. She practiced law for 16 years before retiring to raise two children.

“You cannot have it all at the same time,” Embry said.” Something gets neglected.”

In 1995 she moved to Longview and took care of her children and sometimes substituted at Pine Tree ISD until attending the East Texas Police Academy in 1999. After graduating she served as a deputy constable in Smith County from 2000-2002.

Embry went back to substitute teaching and taking care of her children from 2003-2007.

From 2007-2010 Embry was manager of the Longview Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

In 2010 she and her husband sold the oilfield chemical sales business they owned for five years.

After taking two years to renovate her home, Embry needed something to occupy her time.

“I remembered how much I enjoyed campus life so I decided to enroll (at KC). I considered many subjects but I challenged myself to find something I knew absolutely nothing about so I would not be bored,” Embry said.

For that reason, Embry chose photography and says it has certainly been a challenge.

When Embry served as a deputy constable she did some investigative work. She decided she would become a licensed private investigator in 2010 and hopes to use her newly acquired photography skills for investigations.

She finds photography fascinating and baffling.

“It is art, science and craftswomanship all combined into one and very, very challenging. I am never bored.  Overwhelmed sometimes, but never bored,” she said.

Her advice to students is to find something you love to do so much you’d do it for free.

“Learn to do it so well people will pay you to do it,” Embry said.

She has five adult children and four of the five attended college after high school like their mother.

Robyn, her oldest daughter, lives near Tulsa, Okla., with seven children, ages 3 to 16.

Lindsey attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., for two years and then transferred to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in political science.

She then earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Tennessee. She now is back in Memphis, employed at the University of Memphis in an administrative position and is working on her Ph.D. in public administration.

Lacie has an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Texas at Tyler, and is now working full-time at Rockwater Energy Solutions.

Jessica has her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis in Middle East South Asia Studies, with minors in religious studies and sexuality. She speaks Hindi and has worked in India. She is living in State College, Pa., home of Pennsylvania State, working on being accepted into a funded graduate school program for a Ph.D. in anthropology. Her goal is to teach in a university.

Matthew, her youngest son, 20, is in his third year at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and is seeking an undergraduate degree in psychology and considering graduate work in psychology.

In her free time, Embry goes to call backs she receives from a casting company from Dallas and Shreveport, La.

She has been an extra in two episodes of TNT’s TV series “Dallas.” She has also been considered for an upcoming Chuck E. Cheese’s commercial.

“It’s something neat to do,” Embry said.

Her favorite of the many jobs she has worked is private investigating.

“I liked being a deputy constable, but I do more in private investigating,” Embry said. “I’m very inquisitive and I like to do research. I guess that’s why I like going to school.”