Where are you originally from?
That’s always a really long question. I was born in Nigeria, but I grew up in Missouri, and I’ve also lived in California, Washington, Texas, [and] England. I really like Washington a lot. England and Nigeria I don’t remember it as much because I was very little when I moved here. Missouri was okay when I was growing up. But I do love Washington, a lot, seeing that I moved back here from Texas.
What is your official position here at WWU?
I am an Academic Support Coordinator. I advise students and also work with parents.
What does your past work experience look like?
Before that I worked for Texas State University, right outside of Austin. I was an Academic Coach Specialist. It was a grant that I worked for, from the US Department of Education, and it was to implement peer mentorship training and academic coaching for first year students to help with the transition from high school to College. I also taught classes, freshmen transition classes, which was mandatory for all freshmen.
Why did you choose to come to WWU?
The grant was ending and that was my first job. I am a Western alum, so I graduated Western in 2012, and immediately after I moved to Texas. I went to grad school there, and got my first job there. When I was thinking about what the next step of my life was, I didn’t see myself living in Texas. I really loved the Pacific northwest, like I said I love Bellingham, I love Washington, so I started looking for positions that fit my expertise and my background. I saw the Academic Support Coordinator position, it is a continuation of what I was already doing, and what I was familiar with, and what I thought I could really excel in. I’m very excited that I got the job, and the opportunity to come back in a different capacity.
How do you see the department you work in impacting the WWU community?
I feel like there’s so much this department does for the Western community, especially the population that it serves. There’s academic support for students, academic success, what does that do for students, what does that do for the community. I really like that holistic approach. Really taking the time to see the student’s interests, their life, where they are in their life, what their future goals are, and seeing where they’re coming from, and using that to tailor to [the students] success. I think that’s really powerful.
What is your favorite resource that your department provides that you wish more people knew about?
We offer so many resources. I’d say my favorite resource is the Peer Mentor project, just because it’s so helpful to have that Peer Mentor connection. Especially a lot of the students that we serve, are first generation students, and the Pell eligible, and sometimes it can be difficult going to college on your own. Western is big enough that sometimes it can feel kind of lonely, especially if your peers don’t have the same background. So it’s good to see that someone else who kind of understands, and has been through it, and can model that behavior. I think it’s very uplifting. In my own past experience, when you meet someone that wants to be your mentor it inspires you to become a leader. I truly believe in inspiring leadership. I was a recipient of it when I was a student here at Western.
Having the experience of having done these programs as a student, and now working on them as an advisor, what differences do you see?
I think it’s different because as a student at Western, I wasn’t the most involved student. I kind of coasted. That’s why I think these programs are so important, because it’s so easy to get lost in the middle of everything. I was definitely one of those lost students that just bounced from major to major. It wasn’t until the end of my time that I really started to get plugged in and connected. Now being on the other side it makes me realize that I had all these resources and all these people here that I never tapped into. It was a kind of sad realization, but it also kindled this fire in me to find those students that were like me and pull them in. To be a form of community for them. That’s so important, that community, it’s so important. It took me so long to find my community here on campus, so if I can prevent that length of time for new students, I think I would’ve done my job.
What do you hope to bring to the position?
I hope to bring my enthusiasm and passion for helping students. At the end of the day I still have a lot to learn as a person and a professional. I think that journey of growth and development never ends, but the one thing I do know is that I’m willing to learn. I love what I do. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, and I think that’s really important, especially when you have a job in dealing with people. I also hope to bring some of my knowledge, that I’ve gained over the years. I definitely have gained a lot of experience and knowledge especially on peer mentoring and advising, but each community is different. I’m still learning what peer mentoring looks like at Western.
What do you hope this position will bring to your life?
I hope that it will bring a lot of experience. Like I said, I’m all about growth and learning. In all forms, and education comes in different forms not just going to class in a classroom. I hope that it brings a lot of fulfillment, personally and professionally. I’m a very relational person and I believe in investing in my coworkers lives, and them investing in my life. I try to be very intentional about that, since you spend more time at work than anywhere else. I hope I can get that here. It’s an extension of what we do as Academic Support Coordinators.
What do you do outside of work?
Right now, outside of the job, I’m unpacking. I love fitness. I love working out. It’s my own form of self-care. I’m starting to get back into that, so typically after work. I’m not a morning person. If I haven’t had my coffee and shower, it takes me a couple of minutes to really wake up. I love working out after work. I typically go work out for an hour and a half or so. Then I go home and play with my dog, Aria. I love her so much; she is my life. I don’t have a family [nearby], so she’s my family here. She’s wonderful, I could talk about her all day long. I get into different projects every once-in-a-while. I love running, actually I hate running, but if there’s a cause behind it, it really motivates me. I like running 5K’s because there’s a cause behind it. Giving a little bit of myself to something really motivates me. That’s easier for me to do than going to the gym and just running on a treadmill.
This page includes staff biographies of the DOS/AS Staff.
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