Fern Green-Bowling graduated from Duncan High School and enrolled at Eastern Oklahoma State College, where she earned an Associate of Science degree in business. She earned bachelor’s and master's degrees in business education from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in occupational and adult education from OSU as an EPDA Fellow.
Her career began at Red Rock High School as a business education and social studies teacher. She was in the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education’s initial group of cooperative office education teacher/coordinators for eight years at C.E. Donart High School in Stillwater.
Green-Bowling worked in the Planning and Research Division of ODVTE in the Management by Objectives Project and the Southeast Oklahoma Entrepreneurship Project, through which the first business incubator programs began in the Kiamichi Area Vocational District. Former Rep. Wes Watkins initiated the project with ODVTE to develop the area’s economy. The partnership developed into a statewide economic development entity known today as Rural Enterprises Oklahoma with headquarters in Durant.
While working in ODVTE’s Educational Equity Division, Green-Bowling was the second state equity director to be appointed in the nation. She was the charter president of the Career & Technical Education Equity Council and initiated the process for CTEEC to become a part of the Administration Division in the American Vocational Association, now the Association of Career and Technical Education.
She was named executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Vocational Education by Gov. George Nigh and continued to serve in the administration of Govs. Henry Bellmon, David Walters and Frank Keating. When the federal legislation discontinued the national and state councils, Dr. Green-Bowling returned to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education in the Guidance Division as equity/diversity staff and coordinator of the GirlTech STEM program in eight CareerTech districts. She retired in 2008 from ODCTE.
Green-Bowling has remained involved with CareerTech by serving as president of the Francis Tuttle Foundation and board member of the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation. She served as board president of the first Hall of Fame. She is also past president and a member of the board of directors for Rural Enterprises Oklahoma, which presents a Fern Award annually to an outstanding female entrepreneur by the Women’s Business Center.
She is an active member of Stillwater First United Methodist Church and serves on the executive boards of Stillwater United Methodist Women and Stillwater Church Women United. She served as board member and policy director of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity and has served on the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women and the Advisory Council. She is an officer of PEO Chapter DU and is a delegate to the 2017 International PEO Convention.
Dr. Fern Green-Bowling was inducted into the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2017.