Employee Spotlight – Josh Gerstman

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.


What do you love about working at Green River?
Working with a broad range of people, including co-workers, students, and community members and the diverse experiences and opportunities available on campus and in the community. I love working in a multifaceted organization with many moving parts and the opportunity to be involved in a variety of projects and efforts.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
Working in Higher Ed means we are providing amazing opportunities to members of our local community and students from around the globe to advance their lives through education. I love the ideal that we will meet a student where they are at, whether that is basic skills, high school completion, career and technical education, advanced academic topics, or even a single course to get ahead in a job. I have worked at Green River for just over 15 years and lived in our service area. I am frequently meeting people who share a Green River story, either about themselves or a family member. And yet I also frequently have the opportunity to clear up myths or assumptions about the college and open people’s eyes to the amazing opportunities available here.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
Walk out on the nature trails, less than a ½ mile from the parking lot is the Mt. Rainer Overlook. One clear day, you have one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. Even better, are the remaining 200 acres of trails, from easy walking to getting a true alpine feel, access to the Green River, and amazing forest. (alternatives include the water-wall and stone sphere, and the new waterfall by the AD Bldg.)

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
The opportunity to work in an educational environment with frequent learning opportunities, such as lectures, workshops, speaker series, concerts, cultural events, and activities like the Engineering student trebuchet pumpkin launch or walking across campus and AJ Narayan having telescopes or special glasses available to view an eclipse. You don’t find opportunities like most work environments.

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Hearing from alumni and past scholarship recipients and learning of the cool things they are doing professionally and in life. To see that the students we have been working so hard to help are now leading amazing lives and impacting others. To go to my son’s scout meeting and see three parent leaders are former scholarship recipients from my time at Green River. Also, to continue to see the Water-wall and stone sphere be a center peace of campus 10 years after we worked to raise the funds, spread the vision, and help make the Kennelly Commons rebuilding project happen.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
In addition to frequent public speaking on behalf of the college or on campus, that I enjoy storytelling and would like to participate in actual storytelling workshops or opportunities such as the Moth Radio hour on NPR. Even better would be a forum for storytelling on campus, with the chance to listen to others stories and share my own.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
For one day, would love to swap with Tom Trindl’s grounds crew, have the chance to run some machinery and have a hand in shaping one of the outdoor spaces and have a spot on campus I could walk by every day and know I had a hand in making. Alternatively, would love to guest lecture in a class and interact with students in a direct academic capacity.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
Watching new students interact with the water-wall and stone sphere sculpture and enjoying sunny days on the Kennnelly Commons or other gathering spots. These are areas we worked hard to make possible to provide students the opportunity to gather and spend time on campus and help set Green River apart from other CTC campuses.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I haven’t enrolled in any quarter long classes but I love to take advantage of faculty lectures, staff brown bags and workshops, and student presentations such as the recent First Peoples Conference or Who Are We Sessions.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Enjoy the beautiful campus and natural environment. Get out and walk the campus, view the art in the building, and talk to the people. Introduce yourself to co-workers, listen to their stories and favorite aspects of the college. If you see a student or prospective student trying to find a building or walking with trepidation, stop and ask if they need help. Learn the campus and where things are so you can help direct people, but even if you don’t know, help the student ask or stop in an office and ask how to find the location or service the student is looking for.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Green River is about so much more than one person, but the first person I’d thank is Clark Townsend. Clark was the founding executive director of the Green River Community College Foundation. Clark was a role model for community engagement, innovative and visionary thinking, and laying the groundwork for the foundation, for which we benefit from today. Fortunately I was able to spend a lot of time with Clark in the years prior to his passing and was able to thank him in that time. I would also thank the faculty and long time faculty and staff who have taken the time to share the early stories of Green River.


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