We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.
Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.
I am the newest Program Coordinator within the Financial Aid Office. I started my career in education as a high school biology teacher and transitioned recently into work surrounding college access. I worked most recently within the TRiO, Upward Bound, and Talent Search programs of a Tacoma non-profit organization; while there, I helped low-income, first generation students realize and achieve their college and career goals.
What drew you to apply to Green River?
In all honesty, a good friend came to Green River shortly before me and consistently told me of the intentional, student-centered work being done on campus here. The more she talked about it, the more I wanted to be a part of it! I looked towards the Financial Aid department in particular because I see it as an extension of my work in TRiO. Financial barriers and struggles in navigating a complex higher education system were huge hurdles for my high schoolers; I saw this position as a proactive way to act as a resource for students once they arrive at college.
On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?
Depends on the day! Most days, I listen to practice tracks for my upcoming choir concerts. Other days, probably alternative rock (Nirvana-type stuff… makes for a nice commute!)
What was the very first job you ever had?
I was called a WayFinder. It was a temp job through a staffing agency that lasted about three months. An urgent care clinic moved from one building to another, and my job was to sit at the old building and redirect clients to the new building down the street. I was paid a few bucks over minimum wage, my best friend and I were the only two on the shift, and we saw maybe two people in a 40-hour work week. My job was to literally say “hi, are you looking for the urgent care? They’ve moved down the street. You’ll take a left at the light (point) and then the next available right turn.” It was so weird. But some good money before heading to college!
What about your new position is most exciting for you?
Easy! Helping students navigate this complicated process in a way that allows them to share that know-how with their communities. My hope and goal is to become useless; by that, I mean to focus on empowering and educating so that students feel as though they have the resources, supports, and knowledge to navigate the process on their own. Each time I see the “aha!” learning light-bulb go off as a student understands the process and their place in it, it’s the best!
What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?
Well, at this point, just to fully understand financial aid! I’ve been told that takes a few years… but if I have the cognitive capacity to extend beyond my nose, I would love to be a part of developing resources and strategies that engage and empower students in the financial aid process. I am also passionate about being part of financial aid outreach to local schools.
What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?
Wow, my whole life?! This might be too general, but every student that came through my classroom door was my proudest accomplishment in a different way, either through educating their mind or educating their heart. I am exceptionally proud of where my students are now, and love being able to see some of them around campus! Second, I was awarded the Vicki Lewis Humanitarian Service Award through Whitworth University’s School of Education in 2011. Third, I found a way to have 12 fetal pigs last for 5 rounds of dissections with 35 students per class. I still don’t know how, but I did it. OH! Fourth, my phenomenal husband and I have kept our cat alive for 6 years, so there’s that.
If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?
If I’m being honest, probably “Extra”. I’ve heard some comments about my high energy! If not that, probably my most used phrase, “Umm, question”.
For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?
I can quote almost every “The Simpsons” episode ever made?! I know everyone expects me to say singing, but I sing in a big group for a reason. So unless anyone wants to join me on stage, Simpsons it is!
If G.R.E.E.N. were an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?
Genuine Relationships Engage and Empower Newcomers