Meet Kim McClure, Ball State graduate of 2020, who has recently become the Assistant to the Dean, Paaige Turner.  In this blog, Kim shares her favorite memories of Ball State, her love for Japanese culture, and how she enjoys working for CCIM Dean’s Office.

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Could you share the personal journey that led you to become a staff member?

I started in this position as a temp. I really came in not knowing much about CCIM or if I would even end up staying. On my first day, I got to know everyone right away – everyone was super friendly and welcoming! I liked making things happen and coordinating with Dean Turner. What really made me want to remain a part of CCIM was the first DEAC meeting I got to attend. I took the meeting minutes/notes and just being there and listening to everyone’s ideas, feeling their passion for CCIM blew me away. They really want to improve this college and make it the best that it can be. As a passionate graduate with a bachelors in Japanese Education from BSU, it really struck home for me even though I didn’t graduate from CCIM. The more time I spent here as a temp, the more I hoped that I would be the one to get the interview and the official position! And now here I am!

Any personal stories you’d like to share from your time at Ball State?

The other study abroad students and I at Odori park!

Sure! I have a lot of stories from my days as an undergrad here. Getting the opportunity to teach Japanese to 5th graders over at Burris was one of my favorite moments. They had students coming to America from their sister school in Japan. We were helping the students learn the basics to feel more comfortable conversing. It was a wild ride from start to finish.

I’m a secondary ed major so teaching kids was something I never thought I’d be doing. It turned out really well. I absolutely loved being able to work with one of our Japanese exchange students from BSU to help lesson plan and teach. While it was only once a week for about two months, I still think about how fun it was. Playing a part of helping close that communication gap between the students was inspiring! It showed me how second language acquisition between children and teenagers is a little different even though the age gap is not necessarily large!

What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies?

I absolutely love to play video games and study language! A lot of times, this will go hand in hand. I try to up my Japanese vocabulary by playing video games in Japanese. Recently, I’ve been very interested in virtual reality. I have been testing out some language acquisition games to see how it differs from just looking on a screen. A lot of the games I’ve tried haven’t been super thrilling, but in the future that VR immersion in a language could be a very interesting way to learn!

I also LOVE to read articles and studies involving VR and education. It’s kind of been my fixation lately. I’m currently making my way through a book that might be over my head, but it has to do with how the brain interacts with VR and how we can use that in education to help our students in ways that book studying might not.

Other than those two things, I watch a lot of movies and shows with my partner! We’ve been catching up with The Expanse lately. If you haven’t seen it and love sci-fi, give it a try! The twists and turns so far have been so wild!!

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

Well, I’m relatively new to all of this, so I’ll choose something from my academic career!

I was extremely proud of myself during my study abroad to Japan in the summer of 2018! It was such a life changing experience for me. I lived on my own in a totally different country, went to school, made friends, paid my bills at the local convenience store (which was AWESOME!), and got to experience some amazing things that I otherwise would never get to over here in America. It was nerve wracking traveling alone but I’m proud of myself for it. It showed me that I can be independent.

The day I left. Our friends helped myself and the other study abroad student, Sean, to the station!

That experience taught me a lot about myself and about how I deal with situations where I’m not necessarily able to communicate to my full extent. From day 1 in Japan there was so much Japanese thrown at me that I really hadn’t prepared for, but as the days went on I realized I was able to navigate my life there without too much trouble. I remember how scared I was that my language ability just wouldn’t be where I needed it to be when I traveled to Japan, but I think I really underestimated myself!

Were you a student at Ball State? If so, what kind of student were you?

Yes, I am a recent graduate from Ball State with a Bachelors in Japanese Education! I’d like to think I was a good student while I was here, but I definitely could have been more involved. I was a part of Japanese Club and a few other misc opportunities that popped up here and there, but since I was a commuter it was harder to get involved.

During my time here, I was also a student worker for the department of Psychological Science over in NQ. I enjoyed working over there and I think that helped prepare me for this job, actually. Doing clerical work was a good start to being the assistant for the Dean! I also got to be involved in a way where I was kind of a connection to faculty for students, and so I got kind of an insider peek as to how things worked behind the scenes. It definitely made me realize how much more faculty do than I had thought before! And I met some amazing people in that department – LeeAnn, Mary Jo, and Michelle! I love them! Even though Michelle did leave us to go upstairs to a different department!

Can you share one thing that people don’t typically know about you?

I absolutely love horror games and movies. It’s a really common thing to enjoy, but if you walked into my entirely pink and floral bedroom I’m not sure you would think, “Oh hey, her favorite genre is probably horror!”

My dog, Shinobu!

I guess another thing people might not necessarily know about me is that I have a giant evil dog who is blind and always angry. He’s an old man now, but he still has enough energy to get an attitude with me whenever I want him to come inside even though it’s -10 degrees out. He’s a big, fluffy Akita named Shinobu!

What are you most proud of, as a staff member of Ball State?

The members of CCIM all have a vision of how they want this college to be and they all take such great strides to try and reach it! Dean Turner especially is always trying to do everything she can to help improve the college to be more inclusive, more engaging, and more immersive for students. I’m really proud to be a part of a team that wants to be involved so heavily with the students and their experiences! I know this is the College of Communication, Information, and Media, but I really do think the effort and patience to accurately communicate and understand all sides of a conversation is really admirable here!

What do you think is most important about Ball State?

Especially recently, I feel that Ball State has really decided to focus on improving all aspects of itself for students. With the pandemic and completely wild transition from all in-person to all online and then to a hybrid, its left a lot of room for things to kind of get left behind or forgotten. I think with all things strange, there comes some insight – so I think Ball State being able to identify how it can improve for the students and work with them to help with their academic careers is very important. Everyone is far more willing to be accommodating and flexible now, which I think are some of the most important things you can be.

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