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Favorite book(s): Wishful Thinking, Learning to Walk in the Dark, Seven, St. Augustine’s ConfessionsFavorite music: The Wailin’ Jennys, Needtobreathe, Gregory Alan Isakov, Lord Huron, Steffany Gretzinger,
Phil WickhamFavorite movie(s): The Sound of Music, Les Miserables, Dan in Real LifeFavorite past-time: Iced coffees on the porch with my mama and sister; walks around King University’s
campusFavorite quote(s): “Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we dared
hoped, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to
be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in the world the gladdest thing
of all.” Frederick Buechner
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom
and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your
way into the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments
are key moments, and life itself is grace.” Frederick Buechner
“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot
“Instead, I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the
light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really
only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.” Barbara Brown
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid.”
What have you been doing since graduating from King? After graduating from King in 2011, I moved to Tanzania, East Africa for seven months
to teach English Language Learning to Tanzanian elementary students and deferred acceptance
to Radford University to study counseling. After being in Tanzania, I moved back to
Bristol for a few months and worked as an academic tutor in the Bristol Tennessee
City Schools. That summer in 2012, Chase Arndt and I were married and then we moved
to Radford, Va., so that I could begin my graduate counseling program.
What are your career goals, both short- and long-term? I love group and individual counseling both in the elementary and middle school-age
groups. As far as short term, I hope to assess the mental health needs and be of help
to local Maasai in whatever way that takes shape after a year of Maa language learning.
Longer term, I hope to be a mom and use my counseling skills at local elementary or
Have you received any awards, recognitions? Tell about your accomplishments. I was chosen by the associate dean of the graduate college at Radford University
to be on the Student Grievance Committee with faculty as the student representative
and was chosen to be an admissions ambassador for the counseling department at RU.
I am a member of Rho Chi Epsilon, which is the Counseling Honors Society at RU.
How do you feel King prepared you for your chosen career path? King helped me understand that life is about learning and asking deeper questions—not
just taking something for what it is, but asking and coming alongside one another
in community to ask those questions. It was the professors and their lives that taught
me the most.
Organizational memberships? Chi Sigma Iota (Counseling Academic Honors Society), American Counseling Association
What is your definition of success? I would define success as simply taking small steps and trusting in God’s plan for
one’s life, while resting in the truth that “the One who calls you is faithful” (1
Why did you choose King? King made an impression on me through a few of its alumni (’90, ’97, ’99, ’00). There
seemed to be something so refreshing and real about the alumni that had graduated
from King that God put in my path. Obviously, King is a small place, so it seemed
like God had orchestrated them showing up in my life over the years. They were compassionate
people of integrity who made deep connections with folks and loved people well.
What sets King apart from other schools? The professors and their commitment to their students are what set King apart for
me. King was small enough to feel like a community and offered a liberal arts education
with thoughtful Christian perspective.
Which professors and staff members had the greatest impact on you and why? Dan Kreiss was always available to listen whether it was a personal issue or academic
concern. He didn’t act like he “didn’t have time” (although he was incredibly busy
and probably didn’t) and that spoke volumes to me. He listened well. He had time to
be with me in the ups and downs that life brought my way. Listening was important
to him. As a professor, I admired Dan’s ability to answer a question with a question.
At the time I found this a bit frustrating, but I have learned that in life we always
must be willing to ask the possibly hard, difficult questions to more fully understand,
be it a person’s story or in academic study. As Frederick Buechner puts it, “To be
wise is to be eternally curious.” I appreciated the training for curiosity that Dan
taught alongside his academic teaching.
I only had Dr. Dale Brown for one course at King, but I have always been and remain
deeply thankful for it. I was a freshman and a sub-par writer (and never was an avid
reader), but that didn’t matter to Dale. Dale met me where I was and was intentional
about digging deeper into my thoughts on short stories and how they were challenging
and changing me. At the time, I was coming out of a difficult life season, so these
stories spoke to me. They also introduced me to a mysterious new realm of literature.
Dale had this uncanny way of knowing what was happening inside your heart without
even asking questions. What I learned through Dale was that, no matter the depth of
darkness in a day or life season, the light is stronger still. One just has to be
intentional about looking for it. Barbara Brown Taylor wrote, “There is a light that
shines in the darkness, which is only visible there.” Dale gently introduced me to
this particular type of light. My outlook on life and what grace was shifted in a
way I didn’t expect.
Were you involved in extracurricular activities at King? What was your most rewarding
and why? It’s hard to say which activity was the most rewarding. I enjoyed RefCo and it was
a privilege and joy to lead worship in chapel alongside dear friends. Being the manager
of the new cycling team was also a great experience. The team’s commitment to encouraging
one another through the challenges was inspiring for me to witness. And, I just can’t
leave out ultimate Frisbee. Although I’m not very competitive, it was always fun to
be together with friends and enjoy being outdoors.
How do you think your activities/involvements have helped to prepare you for your
career goals? Every person has something valuable to contribute that can help form a great working
group and I learned this through all of the activities I took part in at King. It
was, in a small way, a depiction of the Gospel at work as we became family and loved
the different personalities, perspectives, and the similarities we had with one another.
What is your favorite memory of King? That’s hard to choose. I have too many favorite memories. The one that comes to mind
was the peace I felt when watching the sun set over the campus while I sat on the
back stair cases over Bristol hall.
Did you study abroad or participate in mission trips? Where? How were they beneficial? Twice I traveled to Camden, N.J., with Dan Kreiss. Once I went during a youth ministry
course and another time with a spring break team. Camden is a broken, yet incredibly
hope-filled place. Urban Promise and their presence in the community is making a dynamic
impact on families and generations. To witness this level of poverty in the states,
that was so similar and yet different from poverty in Appalachia, was overwhelming
to see and certainly eye-opening. The second trip I observed in classrooms at the
Camden Forward School and was again overcome with thanks for the work that Urban Promise
is doing and the opportunities they are providing to children and youth. They are
learning academically, but they are also learning that God cares fiercely about their
lives no matter the turmoil they experience.
I also traveled with a King group after graduation to Kenya for one month with the
Rev. Dr. Fred Foy and Dr. Cecily Strang, and visited what would later become my new
town Kimana. God clearly had more long term plans attached.
Did you participate in any internships while at King? Where? How were they beneficial? I didn’t participate in internships, but I student taught as a requirement for my
degree. I taught 3rd grade math at Fairmount Elementary and kindergarten at Avoca Elementary. I learned
that the life of a teacher is both rewarding and demanding. There were many challenges
in the public schools with testing and lack of parent assistance, but the teachers’
commitment to the students made a difference. At the end of the day, these children
had a person that cared about them and their learning.
Do you have a message to students relative to their own journey? Take advantage of all opportunities offered to you, be it an unexpected conversation
in a coffee shop or a fully paid internship. Don’t let life slip by without being
watchful. Life is beautiful; take the time to look and experience it. Above all, trust
that the Creator of the Universe loves you immeasurably and has a purposeful plan
for your life.