Writer, aircraft inspector, Pentagon secretary, world traveler, church leader: these all describe Valda Dowdy Kester. She attended Oklahoma College for Women during "the war years, the sad and tender ones," in her words. At the time of her award, she was pursuing a Master of Arts degree at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. In addition to OCW, she had attended the University of Arizona, San Diego State and Indiana State. Having led a varied and colorful professional career, her activities included working as a Douglas Aircraft inspector and Pentagon secretary. Her talents included writing which had been published extensively. She authored plays, is a prolific poet, and contributed to a book titled Adolescent Female Portraits in the American Novel 1961-1981. More than 20 of her short plays have been brought to life on stage, she had written a book of poetry and a 14 installment history of the United Methodist Church, and she and her husband authored a book about the four years they spent in India. Public speaking was also a major part of her life. She had done book reviews, monologues, served as mistress of ceremony work and lay preaching in the Methodist Church. Her extensive travels had taken around the world twice.