Kimberly credits her time at Messiah with teaching her how to “integrate faith and learning in a real-world setting.” She did not hesitate to take advantage of Messiah's wide variety of extracurricular opportunities, participating in the Los Angeles Film Studies program
, getting involved with theatre productions, working as the Productions Director for the campus radio station WVMM
, and participating in Bible studies. Her overall experience at Messiah taught her how to think and how to be “a problem-solver and an incredible thinker,” she observes, adding,“[Messiah] taught me the value of an encouraging word.”
“It was an incredible major,” Kimberly says of her focus in communication. “It taught me to communicate ideas verbally and in written form,” she observes, appreciating the cultivation of these skills that are essential in nearly every career. Kimberly also learned to “formulate ideas in captivating ways,” an ability that has proven quite useful in a position that requires daily interaction with many people.
Kimberly knew she wanted to remain in a higher education environment after graduation: “The college setting is a very exciting and dynamic setting. It’s a time of change. I wanted to be a part of that change, wanted to walk alongside students during a part of that growth.” Kimberly was so impacted by her own college experience that she decided to continue in an academic atmosphere, helping others find enrichment during their own college years.
• "Do a few things well, not many things half-heartedly."
• "Earn respect by being excellent at what you do."
• "You don't need to be a monk or missionary or pastor. You can practice your faith in your vocation anywhere. God is just as glorified by an accountant who rarely makes mistakes as by an incredible musician."
Kimberly moved quickly from her own college graduation to an entry-level position in student development at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Tennessee. But before she could attain the job she desired, she needed a postgraduate degree. As she continued in student development, Kimberly worked on her master's degree in higher administration at the University of Louisville. While getting that and her Ph.D. (in educational leadership from Regent University) Kimberly "worked very hard," as she recalls. "I said ‘yes’ to every project that came my way." Kimberly's diligence paid off. She eventually worked her way up to Dean of Students at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, a position she still holds.
From her own time as an undergrad, Kimberly understands that the college experience is defined by much more than one's academic concentration. In her position, she finds, "I focus my attention on the 91% of time that students spend out of the classroom." She works to "create a seamless learning community." As the chief student development officer, Kim is in a leadership position for 11 departments on campus, which entails a considerable amount of time processing paperwork and attending meetings. Kimberly spends as much time as she can, however, attending undergraduate activities and spending time with students—even scheduling time to attend student Bible studies and small groups.
"I serve God through serving others," Kimberly says. "I see my role as very pastoral: building relationships, walking alongside students, strengthening students' faith, so that when they graduate, their faith is solid. I am where God wants me to be."
Discover the career journeys of other Messiah grads who work in higher education:
Stephen Lias, professor of music theory
Robin Miller, head of slide library
Fabienne Doucet, assistant professor of family studies
Jon Benda, professor of foreign languages and literature
Tonya King, associate professor of biostatistics
Owen Byer, professor of mathematics
Profile by Angela Kriebel, 2005