Where are you from, and how did you end up at the U of M?
I was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin and did my undergraduate degree at UW-Madison (I know, I know, arch rivals!). I stayed there for a few years after graduating and then moved down to Austin, TX where I worked for a few more years. I came to the U for my graduate program and haven’t left since!
Tell us about your schooling!
I was completely undecided when I entered college. I had originally auditioned to be a saxophone performance major at UW-M’s school of music, but was not admitted to the college. I had *literally* no idea what I wanted to do and no parallel plan for if I didn’t get in. During first year orientation, I ended up signing up for a random assortment of classes centered on Nigerian Life & Culture. This sparked my interest in learning about Africa and as a result, I ended up majoring in International Studies and French with certificates in African Studies and Global Cultures. I studied abroad in Senegal during my junior year and returned with the intention of working in international development in francophone West Africa upon graduation. I instead ended up working for a large healthcare software company for a few years then moved to Austin, TX where I worked in energy efficiency consulting, both as a program coordinator and in IT as a software administrator. I had always felt something was missing from my career and thanks to open-mindedness, social support, and some calculated risk-taking, I discovered counseling and haven’t looked back since. I came to the U, completed my master’s degree, and now work at CAPE!
What do you love most about CAPE?
I love the individualized approach that CAPE takes to helping students. It can be intimidating at such a large university to navigate the exploration process, so having a place like CAPE where coaches can connect with and advocate for students, it’s a wonderful opportunity and privilege. I love the ability to create a space for safe exploration and build a supportive relationship with students while they navigate their self-reflection.
What's something that makes you unique, or that most people might not know about you?
Most people wouldn’t guess that I’ve been to five of the seven continents (I’m only missing Australia and Antarctica) and that I’ve been on my fair share of crazy adventures (see my fun fact about the rickshaw race). I also have a serious passion for baking and spend time making macarons, tiered cakes, and cookies for anyone who will take them :)
What's your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I love going on hikes, planning future travels, drinking coffee, going on bike rides, and baking. If it were up to me, I’d see how I could incorporate all of these into one Saturday!
If you had the power of teleportation, where would you go first?
Tough question! My current list of places I’d like to go keeps growing, but I’d probably use my teleportation to visit some of the countries that have the longest flights, so New Zealand or Tanzania.
What job would you do for free?
Be a pastry chef but not have to work the awful early morning hours (hello, Great British Bakeoff!) I would also be a professional dog snuggler.