Job Title: Connection Coordinator (or is it Connections Coordinator? -- I feel like I have seen it a couple of different ways.
Hometown: Nacogdoches, TX -- Fun Fact: Nacogdoches is known as the "oldest town in Texas" and has an annual Blueberry Festival at the beginning of June each year!
General Bio with pics! (include family information, schooling, involvement at vista, etc.) I earned my B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University in May of 2005 and my M.S. in Higher Education from Texas A&M in May of 2008. I, then, worked professionally at Texas A&M for 6 years before moving to Temple and accepting a role at Baylor University in Waco in June 2015. I met my wonderful husband, Morgan, in September 2014. Fun fact -- online dating can work! Morgan is my best friend, most supportive encourager, my live-in personal trainer, and always makes me laugh! We've been married since November of 2016, and we have 3 adorable pups -- Hank, Lana, and Lexie -- who keep us on our toes, give us endless snuggles, and bring us so much joy! We share a passion for health and fitness, and we love spending time with our dogs, family, and friends!
What are you currently watching on Netflix? Parks and Rec because who doesn't love Ron Swanson?? I also love current episodes and re-runs of The Goldbergs because it takes me back to my childhood!
Top reads? The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. I'm still deciding my top reads that aren't classified for young adults or children...
First job - struggles and all: My first professional job following grad school was in Student Activities at Texas A&M in College Station, working with service and community engagement initiatives and advising student organizations focused on leadership and service. It was a one-year interim position that provided me an opportunity to move into various roles during the next 6 years in the department, working with student volunteers who helped welcome incoming freshmen! The hours were often long, and the rewards were almost always huge! I loved working with students who were passionate about leadership and service at their institution and in their community, and I loved watching them grow and develop!
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
- Visit Australia
- Learn/develop a new skill -- maybe photography or design work
- Do something daring -- maybe skydiving, zip-lining in Colorado, or white water rafting...decision TBD
Most embarrassing story - go: Maybe not the most embarrassing story EVER...but I accidentally interviewed for the job with The Vista while I had the flu. I hadn't been feeling well earlier in the week but thought it was a cold or 24-hour bug. My fever cleared for 24 hours, and I attended my interview, thinking the "flushed" feeling was just nervous excitement for the opportunity at-hand. I went back to work the next day and started feeling worse as the day went by. I left work early, and by the time I arrived home, I was, again, running fever. Morgan took me to a walk-in clinic, and I was told I possibly had the flu. I was given a glamorous face mask to wear, which Morgan was sure to document (and share with our family -- out of concern for my health, of course!) -- and he also shared a photo of my doppelganger. Needless to say, if The Vista thinks I'm worthy of hiring when I'm suffering from the flu...it can only go up from here!
Describe your favorite place in the world: I am terrible with selecting favorites...but Colorado is definitely one of my top places! There is something about the grandeur and beauty of the mountains and mountain foliage that remind me of God's greatness and goodness -- and there is so much peace that comes with experiencing his creation in such a big and real way!
Favorite comfort food after a stressful week: freshly grilled, rare steak, seasoned to perfection and topped with a little butter with a side salad and a sweet or baked potato...or possibly a homemade hamburger from my in-laws...or maybe pizza...oh, and throw in some of my mother-in-law's homemade oatmeal cookies or some ice cream...and that's a perfect collection of comfort! Is it obvious that I love food??
What are you most passionate about? I love empowering people to use their strengths and passions as they promote and create positive change.
What are you most excited about as you join the Vista team? I am most excited about the team that I am joining -- both the paid staff team and the team of wonderful volunteers. I feel blessed to have this opportunity, and I know and hope that all aspects of my life will be positively affected through the work that The Vista is doing to help people feel loved, wanted, and welcomed!