What drew you to this position in CBS?
I'm a CBS graduate, but I transferred into the college in my junior year so I missed the entire Nature of Life experience. When I saw the posting for this position, I decided to look into what the program was all about and I found that it was something that would have really benefited me as an undergrad. I realized that this position would be a great way for me to help create a better college experience for a future generation of students, which I find to be a worthwhile pursuit.
You used to teach. What drew you to join the University after time in the classroom?
I was a middle school science teacher in Minneapolis for four years before starting at the U. I was drawn to the University because I was looking for a different way to provide a quality education to students than what I was able to do in a middle school classroom. The middle school classroom can be a lot of fun, but there's also a lot of time spent on things like behavior management, developing classroom routines, and communicating with parents. All of these things became even more important during and after the pandemic, and it left little room for doing the part of teaching that I really enjoyed and was good at. This last year was very difficult and unfulfilling for a lot of teachers, so a lot of us were keeping an eye out for other opportunities. My wife works at the U and forwarded me the posting for this job, and after looking into it I realized this was a much better way for me to achieve my career goals.
What's something unique about your role that you enjoy?
Probably the most interesting part of running the Nature of Life program is the diversity of activities that we coordinate and people we work with. We work with hundreds of freshmen and sophomores who are taking the NOL courses, as well as dozens of sophomores and juniors who are helping us run those courses. We plan lessons and track grades, but we also conduct training workshops and have meetings with our student leaders. We coordinate with a lot of the faculty and all of the academic advisors in CBS, as well as representatives from other organizations and offices that provide helpful resources for our students. And then in the summer we have NOL@Itasca, where we take all of the incoming freshmen up to Itasca State Park, so there's a lot of planning and unique tasks to be done there. I love that in the course of one day I might go from making slides and sending emails to starting a campfire and taking students out on a canoe.
What's coming up for you in your role over the next year that you're looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to actually being helpful in planning next summer's NOL@Itasca. My first day on the job was the day before it started this year, so I wasn't much help. I'm excited to see all of the work and planning that goes into making this program run next summer, and to do my part to make it even better.
What are you most looking forward to this fall?
Fall is my favorite season, so I'm looking forward to the colors, the cooler weather, and Halloween. My wife and I like to watch scary movies all throughout the month of October, so I'm excited to start that up again.