How long have you been here at Ball State?
I came back to Ball State in 2018. I was a doctoral student here in 2009–2013. Then, I was in North Dakota for about five years and came here to be an assistant professor and the training director for the doctoral program. This is my fourth year here.
What are some of the highlights of your career here?
A few things that stand out to me are probably my research team meetings. They were honestly always a time for me and the students to recharge and, while we talked about research projects, it was also a socializing and support time as well. Some of the jokes and memories I have from the research team are one of the highlights particularly when we were regularly meeting in person. Other highlights were getting to see students present at conferences like Great Lakes or the National Multicultural Conference. One of the most recent highlights was a gathering at Elms Street Brewery that came about because I was leaving. One of the things that I realized was that it wasn’t so much about me leaving, but about bringing together a lot of students that hadn’t seen each other in some cases for two years. It was not so much a goodbye party but a reunion.
What are you going to miss most about your current position?
Probably teaching my group’s counseling class is one for sure. This is my fourth year teaching it, and I think I finally figured it out. I teach it somewhat nontraditionally in that we heavily focus on teaching group processing by just being a group in ourselves. I will also miss interactions with particularly first year doctoral students. Being the trainer in the program, I get all the supervisees and especially in the first year the students might be overwhelmed. They are the freshest and that is something I really enjoy, and I am going to miss.
What are you most looking forward to regarding your move?
I am looking forward to being back around my direct family. This week, I got to go to my niece’s birthday party. Yesterday, we went to a Kansas University basketball game. I get to babysit my niece and have dinner with my partner’s family. The social calendar is very different being able to do the day-to-day events as opposed to just the special occasions. We bought a farm with 20 acres of property that needs to be renovated, so that is getting a lot of my available attention. I am very much looking forward to the day that we can move in there.
What parting words of wisdom do you want to leave your current students?
For better or for worse, you do you. What I mean by that is in graduate school there is a lot of pressure for social comparisons whether that means between students or perceptions of what a student should be doing. There are these expectations everywhere, and so I guess that sentiment is to simply find or know your voice and be confident. It doesn’t have to be or sound like anybody else’s, especially in higher education. I am physically not in Muncie anymore, but I am always an email, Zoom, or phone call away. I hope people stay in touch and leverage my social capital when or if it is needed.