Partial Transcript: "So, today is February 19, 2021, I'm here virtually with Kassena Hillman, my name is Sydney Klupar and this interview is being video recorded as a component of classwork assigned to the course 'The Hidden History of Women at OSU'."
Segment Synopsis: Klupar introduces Hillman and asks for her verbal consent to conduct the interview.
Partial Transcript: "Moving forward a little bit, when you were growing up, what did you feel was your calling? What did you want to do?"
Segment Synopsis: Hillman further discusses her love of the outdoors and sports that she played growing up and her childhood dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, a member of the Coast Guard or a chemist. She describes how she never quite felt like she had a "calling", but that it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Partial Transcript: "I thought I could play professional baseball, I was pretty darn good, definitely was not going to make a baseball team"
Segment Synopsis: Hillman discusses her years playing baseball for many of her formative years. She discusses the ways she was treated differently as the only girl in her little league and how she adjusted to softball when mandated to do so.
Partial Transcript: "Let's move on to your bachelor's degree and photo as what you seemed to focus on then, do you remember when photo started becoming a part of your life?"
Segment Synopsis: Hillman recounts on what led her to choose Drexel University, and a degree in photography. She describes what the program was like and her experiences as a female photographer.
Partial Transcript: "Ok, so then moving forward, what inspired that transition to instruction?"
Segment Synopsis: Hillman describes the time in her life directly after her Bachelor's Degree. She discusses getting a Master's Degree in instruction, desire to work with middle and high school students, and her struggle to find a permanent job after getting her degree.
Partial Transcript: "So, then with your decision to go abroad, did you guys have a plan or was it just 'fly by the seat of your pants'?"
Segment Synopsis: Hillman details her time in New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, and Spain. She describes her experience participating in Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
Partial Transcript: "...and then at some point my husband started working harvest here and so he was here six or seven months before I was"
Segment Synopsis: Hillman outlines her motivations for working with the Honors College, how she got her job there, and how Hurricane Sandy affected her cross-country move.
SYDNEY KLUPAR: Here we go. Let me just start this one. Alright, today isFebruary 19, 2021. I'm here virtually with Kassena Hillman. My name is Sydney Klupar and this interview is being video recorded as a component of classwork assigned for the course, "The Hidden History of Women at Oregon State University." Once completed the interview will be deposited into the permanent historical record at the OSU Library Special Collections and Archives Research Center. The interview will also be described with a biographical sketch, interview abstract, and detailed index and made freely available to the public through a dedicated web portal. During the Covid-19 era we are asking narrators to provide verbal consent rather than signing paper permission forms. Do you agree to allow this interview to be preserved, described, and made freely available online as indicated?
KASSENA HILLMAN: Nervously-nervouslessly... why did I start with this word?Everything except for what I just said-yes [laughs].
SK: [Laughs]. Perfect. Alright, so let's get into it. Why don't you tell me a00:01:00little bit about where you grew up?
KH: I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. I'm originally an East Coaster, nota West Coaster. I would say that I used to call it a town in the middle of nowhere, and I moved to Oregon and I learned what that meant. It's a really small town right up against the shore. So we say shore on the East Coast, because you can swim in it. So it's a shore. Right up against the shore and right up against the state forest. I had people in my high school going surfing in the afternoon and their friends are going hunting. It's kind of this really cool spot where you feel like you're surrounded by woods and nature. You spend all of your summer days at the beach. That's just what you do. Little bit in the middle of nowhere but not too much. New Jersey is the most densely populated state, so while it was kind of a small town I always had access to other little 00:02:00things in the area.
SK: Then did you like it there?
KH: Oh, I loved it. My whole family is still there. My sister now lives twoblocks away from the house in which I grew up in. She is raising her two children there. It was a really great experience. I really liked it a lot. It's definitely a lot different now. We have neighbors in our town that commute to New York City every day, which is an hour and a half commute but just by the nature of how much population there is everybody's kind of moving in. It's a little bit of a different experience. It was the kind of place, this just might be the place or the period of time, definitely a child of the '80s with the thing where your parents say "please get out of the house. When the street lights come on, it's time for dinner. Go out and do whatever it is that you're going to do. Here's the three rules I set for you yesterday. Don't do those things." Of course, you do them. They find out and you get in trouble, but you had a lot of freedom. We would just tromp through the woods and the rivers and 00:03:00all kinds of stuff. New Jersey's #1 thing in that area is blueberries and cranberries. I grew up right next to a cranberry bog. They had decommissioned the cranberry bog, which is called the flood gates. You would go down the flood gates every day and feed the ducks and the geese. In the summer you'd go swimming. A lot of woods things, avoiding as many ticks as possible. That's a thing. But it was good. I loved it a lot. Definitely made a lot of friends and they're all still there. I guess that's it.
SK: You mentioned your sister. Did you have any other siblings and what was yourrelationship like with them?
KH: Oh gosh. Okay [laughs]. Me and my sister are now, I would say, pretty close,but we are two years apart and she's older. It's just the two of us. We had all 00:04:00those lovely little sibling things where I was the youngest so all I wanted to do was hang out with her all the time. She'd be in her room with her friends and I'm lying on the ground kicking the door saying please let me in. I just want to hang out. She's like, ugh, God, little sister. Please go away. We were really close when we were really little. When we got to be teenagers, that's just how things are. We fought a lot. We definitely got into a few little tiffs. Once I moved away we got close again. For the most part, we're pretty close now that we don't have to share a bathroom or clothing.
SK: Moving forward a little bit, when you were growing up what did you feel likewas your calling? What did you want to do?
KH: Well, I was the youngest of two girls so I know the phrase isn't used a lot,but I was definitely the tomboy, is what they would call it at the time. I played baseball my whole childhood. I did all of the sports and outdoors things 00:05:00that my sister hated. I thought, like any young child whose dad is their-I'm going to be a baseball player. I have little books that I had written that's like, I'm going to be a professional baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies, which are way better than the Mets, the Yankees or the Mets. Phillies is way better. I thought I was going to be a professional baseball player. I think at some point in time I really wanted to be in the Coast Guard. I just wanted to save people. I thought that was the coolest thing ever that you fly in helicopters and you jump out and you save people from drowning in boats. Baywatch was really prevalent at this time, so I think that might have been the problem. Then somebody told me about Kodiak, Alaska, then I suddenly realized I was going to have to jump in freezing cold ocean water. That idea quickly snuffed out.
Then I really loved chemistry. That was a thing that I really wanted to do but I00:06:00don't think I ever really had a calling to know that this is it. There was all these different things. That's also part of my nature. I might be jumping ahead, but I think this is one of my biggest beefs in the world is that we're told a little bit that you're just looking for your thing. Eventually you'll find it. You'll find what it is that's your calling or your thing. I have a little bit of a personal beef with that because I kept waiting for that to happen. I'm like well, of course, I'll find the thing that is going to make me this is what I should be doing for the rest of my life. Instead, I realized that you need to find something that has components of things that you like. Mine is I get to talk to you all day and hang out with students and help you. It came to what did I find joy in in different positions. I kind of digressed from your question, but I think that was part of the thing. I never really had a calling. It was never a thing. I liked everything that I didn't do terribly at. 00:07:00
SK: So, you were kind of a Jack-of-all-trades?
KH: Yeah. There were definitely things that I was terrible at. Those of coursewere the things that I didn't want to do, because why would I want to do that because I was terrible at it. Also, I think that's the thing when you're younger. When you're like eight and ten you still think everything is still possible and that everything is there, so I wanted to do a little bit of everything. I thought I could play professional baseball. I was pretty darn good. Definitely was not going to make a baseball team, like a minor league team or anything.
SK: But you were a baseball player. You weren't a softball player?
KH: No, we didn't have-I played baseball. This is one of those interestingthings. I played baseball. We didn't have a softball team. That wasn't a thing. If you wanted to play baseball with all the towns you would go and you'd sign up for little league and everybody was allowed to play. I think I was the only girl in the league for a really long time. Oh my God. The stories that are coming to 00:08:00my head right now about that experience. We'll leave that, unless you ask more. Probably when I was around in middle school or so there was a couple more girls that played. That was it, but when I went to middle school that's when I started hitting the state mandate. I played on these side leagues and when I got to middle school they're like you're not allowed to play baseball. There's officially now a softball team. You have to play softball. That's a different game. It's not the same game. I don't want to play softball. I want to play baseball. They're like, nope. State law says we have a women's alternative and that is what you must play. You are not allowed to play baseball. I was like that's not fair, but then I started playing softball after that and then I transitioned to other sports in high school. But growing up it was all baseball all the time. I was definitely into that for sure.
SK: Then I am curious-was there any sort of dissonance among you and the team as00:09:00the only girl on the baseball team?
KH: Do you mean as far as problems with it or just different experiences becauseI was the girl on the team?
KH: Okay. Yeah. Let me think about this for a second. I would say that there aredistinct memories of having the...all the boys on their teams take their cups out and put them on the dugout and making comments to me about you don't have [makes whining sound] and all that really fun stuff. There definitely was teasing and things involved about being the only girl on the team and I was different. That was something that was very apparent. Well, of course you can't put Kassena in the starting lineup because she's a girl. It doesn't matter if she's better or not. There were definitely times where it was like I know I'm 00:10:00better than this kid why am I not playing? I think that a lot of the teasing that happened I think was going to happen regardless. If it was on the baseball team I think that's just little kids figuring out what's going on in life and they're going to pick on the little thing that's different. That was just the most obvious thing that was different from them.
When I was more in middle school and things like that most of that teasingstopped. I'd been around long enough that they were like oh there's a girl on the other team. It must be Kassena. She's playing on the team. I definitely had some rites of passages that were really fun. My dad was the coach of the team for one of the little league teams for a while, too. There were definitely some fun things there. Trying to decide I want to elaborate on public record [laughs], but let's just say there was a really nice rite of passage that happened in which I had to alter my uniform because I am a woman and things were 00:11:00happening and I needed to adjust for that and the other team was complaining about my uniform not matching the rest of the team in which my father promptly screamed to the rest of the crowd to explain as to why I was wearing different pants than everyone else. There were things like that that made it very different [laughs]. I think I'll leave that there as I blush a lot [laughs]. It formed me as a human. I will definitely say that.
SK: Alright. Let's move on.
KH: You're like, I'm going to edit that part out [laughs].
SK: No. Then, once you got to softball were the other girls, did they know howto play or was there an adjustment period of like, oh none of these girls really know how to play this kind of sport at all.
KH: Oh, no. If anything, I was the one that had to play catchup because the00:12:00rules are different. I was the one who was on the learning curve, for sure. Everyone was super welcoming. There was no weirdness with it at all. I think there was a little bit of comradery of we're all playing sports and we're on a team and that didn't matter at all. Super easy adjustment.
SK: But you just moved on to other sports as you found different interests?
SK: Okay. Then, let's move on to your bachelor's degree and photo as what youseemed to focus on then. Do you remember when photos started becoming a part of your life?
KH: Yeah, in my high school you had a couple electives that you could take ayear. I basically just tried every single elective that I could. One of the electives was graphic design and photography. This was like a totally different 00:13:00period of the world now. This was the mid to late '90s. With graphic design we're doing things on very formal chemical presses and screen printing and things like that. That was the first time I started shooting film and developing film and getting my hands in that. I think one of the things was I had really enjoyed chemistry and not necessarily the mathematical components of it but the magic of it all. That kind of combined a lot of science and art stuff for me. I think it was pretty much that class that introduced it to me.
SK: Then it's going back to that you found little bits of things that you likedand put them together into this one thing? Then, what led you to Drexel and more specifically to a degree in photography?
KH: I think the goal was to own my own studio and run my own photo studio. I00:14:00think one of the main things that drew me to Drexel was that they didn't require you to pick a particular area of photography and photography was a central major and it was something this is the major. It's not communications and you do a little bit of photography. One of the main things about studying photography in a lot of visual arts is they're often lumped in with different majors and they're like well you can take this major and you can focus it in that way. The amount of programs that were solely just photography, the main two were RIT and Drexel. Rochester made you pick your focus really early on. I didn't know if I wanted to be a photo journalist or a studio photographer or a landscape photographer. I had no idea what area I wanted to go into. The way Drexel worked is you spent your first two years really learning all you could about photography: studio photography, 4x5 camera, all this stuff. Then you started 00:15:00doing in your junior year you did a junior thesis project, which was a three-month long project.
In your senior year you did a full-year thesis project. The idea was you learnall the stuff and then you could always direct your different classes to the types of photography you were in to, but you didn't have to pick a particular thing. You could drive your discovery as you went. Also, they had a really cool dark room, really cool people. It's also a huge university and I think the photo program probably still is about this size, I want to say about 100 students from within their first year to graduation that are in that. You knew everyone. You knew people in your class, the class under you, and then in all your other classes I'm in a lecture hall with 600 people, so very similar to the-I guess you can see a pattern that's happening here, right? I think it's very similar to 00:16:00how Honors goes, where you're at this really large university and then you're in this smaller community. I think that's kind of [inaudible]. The people are pretty cool, too.
SK: What kind of classes did you take?
KH: Man. So many. I would say, I'm trying to think of the coolest ones, becausethere's just so many that are foundational. I took basic design classes that focus on different things. Some of them are on two-dimensional structures. Some of them are color theory. Anybody who survives the 3D design class will be able to make it to the end of your freshman year. You'll be fine for the rest of your time, I think. My husband and I have been together since we were freshman in college and he saw me survive that class. At some point we were talking about stress and he was like, "no do you not remember how you were during that time? How many pieces of broken balsa wood were all over the floor as you tried to create these projects?" One of the other cool photo ones is you do 4x5 camera, 00:17:00which is mostly what most people don't know but what they see when they look at historical pictures when somebody is under a cape and they're messing with the camera those are usually 4x5s or 8x10s. The film is slipped in the back. Because of the nature of the camera if you tilt certain things and adjust certain things you could have someone who's 100 feet off in the distance in focus and someone who's five feet in front in focus and you can do all these really cool things. It's not Photoshopped. This is on the film.
Then you take all that film out and you go into a completely dark room and youdevelop the film by hand in trays. As somebody who was afraid of the dark for a really long time that was really trying. That was super cool and then I had a class with a professor who's still there and she's super cool. Call out to Amanda Tinker. She did this class where essentially it was just really experimental. We started playing around with different processes, things like tin typing and daguerreotyping, painting your own prints and stuff, which was 00:18:00pretty cool. A lot of things. I mean, the photo program essentially was me, it's the same thing as OSU where it's quarters, except we had to go to school in the summer. We had a sic-month cooperative experience. That's how I ended up working in New York for six months. You pretty much had two to three photography classes every quarter. There's a lot. My drawing and painting class. I had to take those. Those were terrible. I really stink at drawing and painting.
SK: Then would you say that you are a creative person? Or was it more justphotos specifically?
KH: I like to think that I'm a creative person but I think photo was the onlyplace where that actually felt like I was doing it. If that makes sense. I think everywhere else it felt a little forced. 00:19:00
SK: It was predominantly focused on that one outlet.
SK: You also mentioned how it was a tight-knit community. Was it dominated bymen or women or was it a pretty healthy mix?
KH: It was very weird. I can't speak to if that's really the truth now, becauseit's been ten years since I've been really fully in the business, but at the time that I was going there it's a very, very male-dominated field. I would say 95% of the people who are really super successful that we were interning with were men. Most of the faculty-I think we had a couple female faculty members, but most of them were men. But the majority of the study body in photography were women. We would talk about this all the time, even in the field and our instructors would actually talk about it as well. They're like "We want to prepare you for when you're going in the field you're in this class right now 00:20:00with 85% women. That is not how it's going to be when you go into the field, and we want to prepare you for that." Yeah. Not a good mix, but a weird juxtaposition.
SK: It was women in your class but the professionals you saw were men.
KH: Yeah, most of the authority figures were men and most of the students were women.
SK: They tried to make sure that you knew that.
SK: Okay. Did that affect you at all? Did you think about it or was it somethingthat was-
KH: No, I thought about it a lot. I ended up working for the same program that Iwent to school with, too. I would say that there is a lot of room, and I would 00:21:00say this is true for all professions, not just photography, but it is very apparent that you are a woman in the field. There are going to be people who are super supportive of that but they are also doing things like we want to prepare you for what you're going to interact with when you leave. It was never in the background. You knew that it was going to have an impact. There were definitely photographers that wouldn't take female interns. They just wouldn't do it. They automatically said, "well, we need you to be able to lift all this stuff and I don't have time to mess with you." I interned with someone who was amazing. I loved him. There was not the regular assistant. There was a different assistant one day. He was like, "we always try to get male interns because they can always just carry stuff up and down the stairs." I'm like, "I can carry this box. Is that what you're worried about? I'm going to go carry this box up the stairs." It was assumed that I couldn't. It wasn't that heavy. It was like 30 pounds, which is not undoable for most people. It was just, yeah. There would be little 00:22:00comments like that, like, "Well, you're different. You're atypical. You're outside of the box." I'm like, "no I'm not. I'm not different from the rest of my gender. This is what you would probably get" [laughs].
SK: Then, thinking about them preparing you for that. Did it feel likepreparation? Or was there ever that little bit of like is this just kind of sexism?
KH: No. I would say that there is definitely in every place that I've everworked or gone to and even in my life there's always room for improvement. I would say it was coming from a place of we want to prepare you and this is how you're going to manage this dealing with the realities of it. I don't think it was a, well this is all you're going to get so here's what to prepare for. It 00:23:00was more like if you want to push through this here's the realities. Let's do this. I think it came from a really caring place. It never felt dismissive. I always felt encouraged. It was just pointed out wow, there's so many girls in this program. I'm like, uh! Apparently we all like photo this year. I don't know what to tell ya'.
SK: Okay. Moving forward, what inspired that transition to instruction and itseems like specifically ESL?
KH: I think is one of those situations where I had a super supportive boss inthis. The program director, they were doing a high school workshop. We would have students come stay on campus for two weeks and we would show them all the things about photography so they could get their feet in it. See if they really like it, because (one of the things I say all the time) there's only one way to know if you like something is if you try it out, right? This gave students two 00:24:00weeks to see if this was something they really liked before they chose it as a major. They needed help running that program. Part of my role in that position was to make sure they had all their supplies, make sure the schedules are set, like when are these buses going to pick up these students and take them from here to here? I ended up basically becoming a second adult in the room for when they had to bus 40 kids across the inner city of Philadelphia to different areas. I really loved working with those students. The faculty who was teaching that was really enjoying it. We were going back and forth brainstorming ideas. It went really, really well. So, there was a quarter where there was an introduction to photography class going. Actually, I'm going a little bit out of order. So, that made me interested in education. I had done my internship in New York and decided that it was a really great experience, but I didn't want to run a studio. I could see how it wasn't a 9 to 5 job. It was like an all the time job. People would be calling you at all hours of the night. I was looking for how I wanted to do that. 00:25:00
Then, in my job running that facility, I was managing all the student workers. Iwas semi-advising, I guess you would say? They're like, what classes should I take? I'm like, oh you should take this one. Here's how you figure out where the books are. Here's how you figure out where the resources are. It really became how I was really invested with the students and then the high school workshop came up. I was like, okay I should probably look at getting something education. I want to be a little more informed about this. So, I enrolled in the master's program. So, this is a long chain of events. I had a super supportive boss who basically was like, hey I had a faculty drop out of the class. Clearly graduated from this program. You know your stuff. You've been running the facility for a while now, so you know how things work and you're in the education program. If you want to teach this class and we'll see how it goes? I think I was 23 at the time. I was like I don't know. I'm really scared, which is not what I said out loud. I was like, sure let me think about it. I'll just look at my schedule. I 00:26:00want to make sure with my grad classes I can manage it, and then I went home and had a panic attack. Told my husband-not husband at the time, but this is what's going on. He's like why are you afraid to do this? Because, I'm like, I don't know if I'm going to be any good at it. I'm going to be really-he's like, you know you're going to want to do it. Just do it. It's never not going to be awkward. Just do it. I was like, okay. And I loved it. I got rave reviews. He's like, great! So, you loved it. They loved you. Cool. Here's three more classes. I just continually taught and then I would come up with ideas for classes and then I would teach those. Long version was that. Short version is super supportive boss. Right place, right time, and taking an awkward leap even though I knew it was going to be uncomfortable.
SK: So, after graduation you were working with the department a little bit,trying to figure out where you're going to go and it just kind of happened for you? 00:27:00
KH: Yes. I would say it kind of happened but also it happened because it wasknown that I would say yes to opportunities instead of I wouldn't be afraid to take something on or a challenge on. I think that was a big part of it. It didn't fall on my lap, but there were, I was definitely at the right place at the right time to have those opportunities to say yes. Does that make sense?
SK: Yeah. During your master's and instruction, was that a prettywomen-dominated program as well?
KH: I don't know. Most of my classes were online. This is way before Zoom or anyof this stuff was a thing. We utilized Blackboard, which was different, I will say. I'm not going to knock a different operating system because it was 00:28:00fundamental at the time. I had a couple in-person classes, but for the most part they were mostly online. I really didn't have too much interactions with students. Even if we were doing group projects, it was mostly through phone or just emailing things back and forth. Even if it was, I don't think I would have been aware of it given the program that I'd come from how many women were in the program. I don't think it would have struck me as something notable, which I think makes you not notice it.
SK: That makes sense. Then it was definitely a divergence from in yourbachelor's you had this tight-knit community and then here you were a little bit more detached from the program?
KH: Yeah, and I was doing this program while I was working full time and thenteaching on top of that. It was really interested to manage. I think this is why I understand so much why you all panic when you're like what is my classes? When are the finals? I had those nightmares of like: did I miss an assignment? Did I 00:29:00miss a final? Was I supposed to be online? Oh, my God, did I just miss my final exam? No, Kassena, it's a nightmare. You're fine. I still have them, by the way, and I got my degree over a decade ago [laughs]. Mostly online.
SK: Was that isolating at all? Or were you just so busy you didn't even really notice?
KH: No, it wasn't isolating at all. I think it was just-and I think this is whatI found with that program as well, and I think this is pretty true for most master's programs regardless of if they're online or not, is that most of the people that I ran into at the time were doing this in conjunction with something else in life. It was usually continuing education type thing or they had a job or they were working or they were supporting their family. It was usually kind of juggling things. Yeah, it wasn't-I found it very different versus when I moved to Oregon it was-I had never heard of programs where they had research assistants and you worked 20 hours a week and you got help with tuition. That 00:30:00was something that I never heard of before [mind blown gesture], and it didn't make sense to me whatsoever, which is awesome that it exists and it's wonderful. I wish I had done more research. I feel like it's a little bit of a different vibe. I feel like it's very common in these larger universities, like Oregon State, where people will be going to graduate school full time versus the experience that I had which was doing it at the same time as everything else.
SK: Then, Drexel was pretty close to your home town, yes?
KH: About an hour and a half, so close-ish. My 1985 Mustang could make it home.
SK: Then, after you get your master's what happens then? What is going on inyour life?
KH: I think my transition to, my big transitions in life before I actually got00:31:00my degree. One of the things that happened for me was I really had this dream of doing art education in the secondary-level, so high school and middle school. That's where my head was at the time. I'm a firm believer in plans are great and things change. I change my mind a lot, and that's okay. The degree opportunities that I had at Drexel were elementary school education. Part of my beautiful benefits of my job was I could get reduced tuition and some tuition for free. I had to make the choice of going to graduate school I'd pay for outright and do secondary education or if I could do elementary education and then have a really supported degree. I did the elementary education and, with that, in order to get my teaching certificate, I had to do student teaching, which meant I would have to student teach in a classroom full time. It's a little bit different than 00:32:00Oregon's rules, for three-four months, which means I couldn't work. I kept my degree in limbo for a long, long time. I had a different life transition where my husband and I decided that we were going to quit our jobs and leave the country. We timed it with me quitting the job and doing my student teaching, thus getting my degree and then going abroad. It was a weird time.
SK: You didn't have your degree and then decided to go abroad.
KH: Yeah. I decided, you know let's just not get the degree in and see what happens.
SK: They didn't pay you for the student teaching?
KH: No. I paid them. Yeah. This is why I have conversations about stuff: beselective about your programs. But I also got my master's degree was almost fully covered. Federal law, the way things work, is you end up paying income tax on what you get for free, so there was definitely a high cost to that, but far 00:33:00less than I would have paid if I had paid for the degree myself. Part of the student teaching was that meant I was no longer working at the university, which meant I was now paying for all the $900 a credit that I wasn't used to when I was taking them as a class. So, yes, I paid them. They did not pay me. I'm happy to hear that people do get paid for student teaching. That is not a thing that happened for me. But I had an amazing mentor teacher and it's fine and it didn't matter. She was probably the coolest teacher, ever. I loved her.
SK: Then, with your decision to go aboard, did you guys have a plan? Or was itjust fly by the seat of your pants?
KH: Fly by the seat of our pants. It was very weird. There were longcomplications as to how we came to this place, but the super short version is we 00:34:00both wanted to explore farm to fork type stuff and agriculture and food processing. I had really wanted to do a study abroad, and just it wouldn't work with the program that I was in. I really wanted to study abroad in high school, too. That was not something my parents could financially do so we had an exchange student come live with us for a year. She's amazing. I love her. We're mostly usually still in contact, but also we're older now and she has two kids so it's hard to keep track. There was just a lot of things going on and it was something where I threw out an idea, you know what would be really cool? We quit our jobs and I do my student teaching in Portland, because we're thinking about moving to Oregon, so maybe we live there for three months and test it out and then we go do this Willing Workers thing.
I think the important context to add here is I was on a lunch break for work andthe University of Pennsylvania is right next door and they have an amazing bookstore. I went to the bookstore at lunch and they had this book called, Delaying the Real World. It's a terrible title. It's like the worst title in the 00:35:00world. But the book is fantastic. The author is fantastic, and she actually guest taught at OSU for a little bit, which I thought was cool. It just had all these random things, like the JET program and Willing Workers in organic farms and teaching English abroad. You got all these ideas of like all these different things we could do. I got super excited about it. I threw this idea out to my husband and he just turned to me and was like "That is exactly what I want to do. I never said anything. I never thought you would say yes." I was like, "okay. I guess this is what we're doing. We'll tell my job that I'm quitting and we'll give them four months' notice so they can find someone and then I'll set up a student teaching and here's how we-let's do this epic road trip across country. Okay, cool." Let's set up the visas for New Zealand. Let's lookup how we do that. Okay, cool. This is what we need for the visas. Oh, you have to do this before you're 30. Cool, we're 29. I guess this means we should really do 00:36:00it. Alright, let's do that and then that was it. It was in the span of two days we had basically decided the rest of our like next couple years. Once we had our plane tickets and our visas and once we got to New Zealand we had absolutely no plan. We just completely flew by the seat of our pants and it was very different for me. I think a very good learning experience for me to not know what was coming next. It's very hard for me in the past to do that. Now I'm a little better about it, but I might be getting set back in my ways a bit.
SK: You moved to Portland before you left. Did you have a home set up inPortland or did you just get rid of all your stuff and move to New Zealand?
KH: We sold all of our stuff, which is amazing how much stuff you can fit into a600 ft2 apartment that you live in for six years. You fit a lot of stuff. Actually, eight years. God, there was so much stuff in so many corners. Then, 00:37:00anything we could keep in our-I think we packed up a few Tupperware of books, my husband loves books, that were stored at our parents' house and then our kitchen equipment because we are ridiculous and had a bunch of all-clad pots and pans that we still have now that were like, these things are amazing and if we sold them they would be $5 it would be $200 to replace. So, let's just keep them. Other than that we sold everything. Anything that didn't fit in the 2009 Toyota hatchback, didn't go. When we did that trip across country we also had to have all of our camping equipment. So there was very little that got brought to Portland. We pretty much sold everything and then we had friends that we stayed with the intention of course we're just going to find an apartment within a couple of weeks and it took us like two months and we slept on the couch in their living room for two months. Let's just say they are some really amazing, gracious people and I tried to do as many dishes as possible to make them a little less inconvenienced. But eventually we found a place.
SK: Why did you land on New Zealand as your first country to go to?00:38:00
KH: I think when I was in high school and I wanted to go to abroad, it wasAustralia. I was super obsessed with Australia. That's where I wanted to go. Let's go study abroad, be on the ocean every single day and I don't know. It just seemed like the coolest place that you could possibly go would be Australia. Then, the more my husband and I really got into food, New Zealand became something we were super interested in. Then on our honeymoon we went to-we planned our honeymoon along with spring break, because that's when I had off work. We spent three weeks driving around the country and totally just fell in love. We're like, we need to come back here. Also, wine. My husband thought he might be interested in food or wine and it turns out that's what happened anyway, so, yeah, New Zealand.
SK: How long did you spend there?00:39:00
KH: We were abroad for just under a year. Our intention was to stay in NewZealand for the full year, but we had a really interesting time-there was this really weird ski season essentially that happened. We had a lot of plans and the ski season was really bad so there wasn't a lot of jobs or posting or funds. We ended up moving on a bit little earlier, but we were in New Zealand probably for about seven or eight months I want to say. In that time we, God, we lived on a barrier island off the coast and had our own private cove to swim in which was like the coolest thing ever. I learned how to tackle sheep and drench sheep, milk cows, make cheese-oh, my God, all the weeding. I cannot tell you how many things I weeded. Planting, and all kinds of stuff. The only thing that I didn't get to do that I wanted to do was to ride, to learn how to ride. Most of the 00:40:00farms down there, "that's really great that you want to learn how to ride but I don't think our insurance is going to do that," so no [laughs].
SK: Give me a little insight on what your day-to-day life was, what you guysdid, and how you did it.
KH: I think, I feel like there was a three-different-I always say numbers and Itotally change the numbers as we go along, which you know, so, I would say in the first part it was we were at some point at the barrier island we bought a van and so we spent most of that eight months living in a van together. We definitely solidified our problem solving skills, for sure. How do we calmly solve this while we are trapped inside this van and it is raining and we have nowhere to go? Most of our days would be waking up, doing some kind of chore until about 12:00 or 1:00, exploring the area after that, and then just 00:41:00repeating. We would be in an area where there was really beautiful beaches. We'd work all day and then at the end of the day we would go drive out and explore different beaches and different swimming holes, see different towns. I think there was one farm where we'd wake up at 5:00 a.m. and milk all the cows and then we'd get up and have the most quintessential English breakfast ever with all the meats and all the things and get yourself all filled for the rest of the day's work and we'd haul bale or baled hay for four hours and then went and milked the goats again and cows-oh my gosh! My brain. Milk the cows again. The sheep were the next day, drenching the sheep and shearing the sheep. It was a whole mixture of stuff.
Basically it came down to each place had their own setup. You would do some bitof working and then you would use that as a way to explore what was in the area. We'd drive all over and see what's there or just go to the town and be like, what's this coffee shop like? I wonder what it's going to be like to sit in this 00:42:00coffee shop in this cool little town in northern New Zealand. Let's see what this is like. Near the end we called up a winery that we had visited on our honeymoon. We're like this place was super cool. They are organic. They were really nice. They're like hey do you need any pickers for harvest? Those jobs are totally booked up months in advance, but two people canceled on us just before you called. If you get here by Wednesday, the job is yours. We're like, okay. I guess we're going down. We spent the majority of our time, I would say, the majority's wrong, I'd say about 40% of our time in the wine region in New Zealand doing harvest and pruning vines and that was very similar to do a bunch of work, use the funds and the time that we're there to explore the area. We were volunteering-the hosts were really cool. They would take us on different trips and stuff.
SK: What town was that?
KH: Which one? There's so many [laughs].
SK: With the wine?00:43:00
KH: It's Bannockburn, which is in between Wanaka and Queens Town. Cromwell isone of the names of the town. If you drove through with the fruit [thumbs up gesture], that's Cromwell.
SK: Before that opportunity, how were you finding these opportunities?
KH: We utilized the WWOFing network. Willing Workers on Organic Farms has awebsite where you can connect with different hosts and they basically tell you what it is that they basically tell you what it is that they're looking for, what their criteria is, what they expect from you. You'd say, hey, I'd like to come work with you. They look at your stuff and see if like, okay great, you can come work with us. It's cool because they're vetted. The work positions where just took a, we just randomly called someone and we're like hey, you want to work? We'd using the Willing Workers again when we went to Spain as well. We did 00:44:00New Zealand and then we just traveled around Vietnam and Thailand, visited friends in Australia, and then we did Willing Workers in Spain. It was a whirlwind. Our goal was to go all the way around the world in one direction, which we did.
SK: I love that. You left New Zealand for ski reasons and then what made youland on Vietnam, Thailand? How did you make decisions after that?
KH: We made a list of the things we wanted to see. We had friends in Australiathat were like we should go visit them. Then, in the process after that my husband and I just talked about it, like where do you want to see? Southeast Asia was never on my radar. I have always fallen in love with South America and European history. It was never on my radar whatsoever. He's like, we're right here. It's super affordable for us to go right now. We might not be this close. 00:45:00We quit our jobs and we have no money, so what is the chances that we're going to get on a plane to get here again? We should probably go now. I was like, aright, fine, we'll go.
It was amazing. I'm so glad. This is why having a really good travel partner isimportant. They push you to do things that you might not necessarily do and you really love them. If you don't, then you have a point to argue about later. We had no plan. We landed in Thailand and we're like cool. Let's just go barter with some of these hotels and see if they have rooms and decide when we would go to places thinking we're going to stay there a day. We'd stay there a week and then we'd go somewhere else and we're like we plan on staying here a week. We're like: we don't like it at all, so we're going to leave tomorrow. It was a way of traveling I had definitely never done before. You just don't do that. You don't get on a plane without a plan. That's craziness. But I did it. It was scary and it was fine.
SK: Was there an opportunity to do WWOFing there or was it more just kind oflike walking around and seeing the sites? 00:46:00
KH: There was but we just decided at that point we had been working in thewineries and pruning. Pruning the vineyards in New Zealand is really cold and really rough work and the people are amazing and it was a good experience, but we were ready for a break. We knew we were going to Spain afterwards. We were like, we're going to work really hard. Let's just do this and explore all the things.
SK: How long did you spend in Southeast Asia?
KH: Between Thailand and Vietnam probably about five or six weeks I would say?Maybe seven? I don't know, math is hard.
SK: Was Spain, was it very similar to New Zealand in that you were going arounddoing whatever you could or were you more centralized?
KH: Spain was definitely not centralized but we had to organize our-their systemfor WWOFing at the time is definitely people schedule them much more in advance. It was harder to find opportunities on a whim, so we organized what farms we were going to go to ahead of time. 00:47:00
SK: A little bit more planning there?
KH: A little bit more planning. If I had done better planning-my goal was topractice my Spanish. If I had done better planning I would have realized that I, we spent the majority of our time in Galicia, which does not speak Castellano. They speak Gallego. I practiced not as much Spanish as I thought because I was not in a place where people were speaking Castellano.
SK: Then was it a set, okay we're going to spend a year abroad and then we'regoing to come home? Or was there some sort of impetus for coming back to Portland?
KH: I think we just got to a point we decided we were done. I think there were acouple of times in the trip where we hit some financial barriers and then those would be resolved. But really honestly it came down to where traveling, we were 00:48:00more excited about the idea of going home and seeing family than moving on to the next place. It was starting to feel forced. I think it also didn't help that it was starting to be time for holiday seasons. We had these grand dreams of coming home and having Thanksgiving with everyone and doing the things. We had celebrated our birthdays and all these things abroad, so, I think we just felt like we were done, which now I'm like, okay I'll go back now [laughs].
SK: Then did you go back to New Jersey or did you go to Portland?
KH: We went back to New Jersey. The idea was that's where family is. We'll spendsome time visiting with family while we look for jobs. We didn't really know what our goal was going to be when we got back as far as work. I was looking for a teaching positions and university positions and my husband, his job before we had left, he was, not anything he was interested in continuing on in any way shape or form. When we were in New Zealand he got really interested with wine, 00:49:00which is what he does now. Went back to New Jersey thinking okay, let's look for work and this is our family and we'll get to hang out with them for a little bit. It took a lot longer than we thought. We quit our jobs in 2010 and so that was right in the heart of a lot of places were coming back. It was really hard to find a position. I think it took me about four months to find a position and I found a position as a travel agent because that's what I could find. I think I had applied to 150 schools and about 40 universities just for any position whatsoever.
I got a job at a travel agency. I accidentally applied twice, and one of myapplications was immediately rejected and the other application was immediately moved to having an interview the next day, because the person-this is what I say it doesn't matter, you never know-the person who was reviewing my application 00:50:00was a Kiwi and was like, oh this person's been to New Zealand and she seems really cool. Let's put her in a group interview and see how she does. Then I nailed the group interview and they're like you need to go to training tomorrow. We're going to figure this out. Here's the job. It's literally just the right HR-two HR people looked at it. One person was like: not a good fit. The other person looked at it: I got the interview. And they're like, of course this is the perfect person for this job. It's just a testament to random chance. Sorry, I suggest a lot. You said, feel free to add as much detail as you want. I warned you. I was going to be bad.
SK: No, it's awesome. No it's awesome. It's just hard for me not to add my ownstories. Then working as a travel agent, it was more like here's a job that I can have. That's what I'm doing.
KH: Yeah and it allowed me to share my expertise. They didn't have a lot of00:51:00people... where I was on the east coast people went to the Caribbean and Mexico. Those were the types of trips people were booking, and Europe. They didn't really have anybody with expertise on the other side of the world, basically. Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia was somebody they didn't have in their repertoire at the time. It was mostly just something that was interesting and I liked the idea of it, but it wasn't a long-term goal at all, which I think was really hard because that's-the people I worked with were amazing and I really, really liked them, but I think there's a goal for any of your supervisors to be like we want you to succeed and to be able to excel at this in a career. I'm in the back thinking this is a way point. Ahhh, but I'm going to try and make you the most money I can while I am figuring this out, so I don't feel bad about it. It was a transition for sure.
At some point my husband starting working a harvest here so we were spending, hewas here six or seven months before I was. I basically just came to a breaking 00:52:00point of like, okay, I'm tired of living across the country from you. We're going to figure this out. Luckily I got an interview with Honors College. Then that worked out great. In my interview, Toni says, you know it rains here, right? I was like, yes I swear. I've lived in Oregon [laughs]. I know it rains. I'm living in New Jersey, but I know it rains. Okay. Just want to make sure [laughs].
SK: It wasn't anything other than your husband was living across the country soyou needed to come and be with him?
KH: The goal was to come back to Oregon. Being in New Jersey was a way for usand I was in Philadelphia, too, for some of that, but was a way for us to spend time with our families while we transition back, but the goal was always to come back to Oregon. We left our driver's licenses. We left everything ready to go in Oregon. It just took a little longer than we thought it was going to.
SK: Then you get to Oregon-is he in Corvallis?
KH: He is in Corvallis.
KH: I had visited him when I was still working as a travel agent. I visited himin Corvallis. He was working harvest at a winery south of town. I think it's Monroe? He was working in Benton Lane. I just remembered the name of it. He was working a harvest at Benton Lane and trying to figure out do I get a degree? Do I not get a degree? Because the wine industry is very much in that place right now where it's starting to shift to wanting to have degrees versus just industry experience. Depending on who you get, they're like we don't care if you have a degree at all, as long as you have industry experience. There's other places that wanted a degree. He was like, alright, I guess I'll go back to get the degree. So, he was working harvest and then taking classes at OSU in the post-bacc program for enology and viticulture. I went to visit him. It was around Halloween time, and this might be off your radar, but Hurricane Sandy-I 00:54:00don't know if you heard about that-was, I flew out and I took off of work and I was like great I'm going to go visit my husband. I'm going to book my own plane ticket. I'm not going to do it through the travel agency. I don't need that whatsoever. Book my plane ticket. I get stuck because hurricanes are a normal thing and it's not something you think anything of, and this one in particular obviously was very bad. It did a huge amount of destruction. The airports were closed. As a travel agent, if I'd booked it through my agency I could have gotten special travel agent number that you don't have to be on hold for 10 hours, which I didn't do because I didn't want to pay $10. Props to travel agents right now: book a plane ticket through a travel agent. I got to spend longer time here and he took me basically on a town tour. We did a walk through Bald Hill. I remember walking through the path in Bald Hill Park and he's like this place is so cool. Look at the grass! There's really epic view of this mountain over here! There are cows! Look at the cows. They're so cool! I want to 00:55:00live here. That really-Hurricane Sandy basically made me have extra time to be like this place is super cool. This is where we're going to live!
SK: Then after Hurricane Sandy you went back?
KH: I told you too many details!
SK: You went back and then quit your job, came out, moved to Corvallis...looking for a job was it that same shotgun kind of approach or were you a little bit more selective?
KH: I waited. I didn't move before I had a job. It was just after that trip Ibecame very aggressive about applying and I think right around the time that I applied for the Honors College, I was very lucky because that's the job I wanted. I needed to get out there. At that point when I visited my husband it was October/November. I didn't get a position until February. There was a really aggressive I'm applying for 40 jobs today. I don't even care. I just need to get 00:56:00out there. It just worked out really, really well. But I didn't move until had a job because my husband was going to school and we wanted to make sure that we had, at that point we had reached pretty much our financial maximum of not having any funds. Working at the travel agency is what provided us with healthcare. It was very much a we live in the United States and if you would like to have healthcare you need to have employment, so I waited until I had employment and healthcare coverage.
SK: But this was a job that you really wanted?
KH: Yeah, I got super lucky. I got super lucky. I wanted to work for OSU. Iwanted to work for a smaller program, but I definitely, I had to eat a little bit of humble pie just by the nature of where Corvallis is, you know, everybody wants to stay and everybody wants to live there. The competition for jobs is 00:57:00pretty high. When I had left Philadelphia I was running a facility. I was teaching university classes and really had a pretty, not a leadership role, but there was a good amount of responsibility in leadership. I started in the Honors College with an administrative role. I started working for the Honors College in the role that Bailey has right now. I worked myself back up to that, but it also took me four or five years to work from that back to a similar level of responsibility that I had before. I wanted to work there but it definitely was a little bit-I started over a bit, which is always a little bit hard to do. I learned a lot. It was great. But it definitely took a little bit for me to have a role where I could be a little bit more responsibility and teaching, because I get to teach a little bit now, too.
SK: Then you wanted to do teaching but you had to start somewhere where youweren't doing teaching? 00:58:00
KH: I wanted to work with students and more with students than-I wanted to workmore one-on-one with students and that role didn't really have a lot of the one-on-one stuff. But it worked out. I like to work one-on-one with students. At the point that I was applying I knew that the thing that I enjoyed about my last position more than anything else came down to I want to know that I'm making a difference in a student's life and I don't care if that's a life-changing decision or something as simple as: I saved you three hours of headache because I helped you navigate the system. That is what brings me joy more than anything else. I could do that in that role but I wanted to do it a little bit more one-on-one with students. I had to grow to that for advising. Advising is something that in the university I came from we had, the program director just 00:59:00told us the classes that we were taking. Advisors was a new-I didn't really know what that was as a profession and that was even a thing. I don't even think I looked at advising as a job possibility because I didn't really understand what it was until I went to a university where that was so central to what they're doing.
SK: It was pretty exciting, then, to figure out that basically what you wantedto be doing was a job?
KH: Yeah! There was a job for what I wanted to do! I didn't know that that wasactually a thing. It was never-I think now it's recognized. This is a struggle for I think a lot of advisors, is that, I think most students would agree that we're pretty central to their lives and pretty pivotal. I think it growing as a profession and a title what you're doing and the knowledge of that throughout the country I think is just starting to catch on.
SK: Then why the Honors College in particular? Just because it's that smallprogram size? A little bit of a smaller community? 01:00:00
KH: I think it was that it was a smaller community and when I applied for thejob, I won't say who it was. There was a part of a job posting that said, think about if you were needing to advertise for students who come into advising, what would be one strategy you would use? What would some of that look like? So, I said, well, I'm not going to tell you what I would do. Here's some of the things I would do. Here's all the flyers I would create. I sent all these giant design materials and all of these things. I have no idea if it was something that they looked at, because they're never going to tell. If it was something like, oh this girl tried way too hard, but I guess we'll interview her anyway, or if they were like oh this girl tried really hard let's interview her. Because they're not allowed to tell you. At one point, maybe. Maybe upon retirement I'll find out what it was, but I realized for that one that it seemed like there was a lot of variety in the work and not just phones. 01:01:00
SK: Then as you got more established in it and started becoming that academicadvisor, how did you start teaching again?
KH: I Think because the way, oh gosh... I have to think about this now. I haveto think about my desire to teach versus when the opportunity came up. I think this was another one where an advisor has always been part of the thesis courses and I guess I can infer that there was knowledge that I was particularly focused on the first couple stages of a thesis. You know now that I'll geek out about it for a really long time. Whenever I talk to students about talking to faculty and I'm like you'll go geek out about their thing. Mine's a thesis. So, we'll geek 01:02:00out about the thesis all day, every day. I think the opportunity just came up where they needed an advisor to start taking part in that class and then some of my background skills in instructional design and needing to adjust to 'how are ways that we can change it so it is more impactful?' Let's take all the student feedback of what we've seen on the evaluations: what they love. What they hate. It's really cool because I'm getting to teach but I've also gotten to put a little bit of my perspective on it and adjust the class a little bit too where I think we could improve it. I'm happy with where it's at.
SK: As the opportunities present themselves you jump on them?
KH: Yeah. I say yes. I'm terrified every time but I do it anyway and it worksout great.
SK: Do you feel like your office in your field more generally is pretty women-dominated?01:03:00
KH: Yes. I think there are a lot of women in the field. Leadership is mixed. Iwould say when I sit in advising town hall at OSU I would say the majority of the people in the room are women. I don't know if the leadership is as diverse and that's not the implication of either/or. It's just I'm not sure. I do feel like there are a lot of female head advisors. Yeah, I do feel like there is a large majority of women as advisors. Don't know what the origin of that is.
SK: Do you feel like that has affected your experience at all? More generally asacademic advisors do you feel like people treat you differently? Is there any kind of perspective on that?
KH: As far as advisors in particular? Or being a woman in advising?01:04:00
SK: A woman in advising.
KH: I would say that any experiences I've had where I feel like something isbeing handled differently because I'm a woman, whether that's conscious or subconscious, is not limited to advising. I don't think that is particular to advising. I think that's just particular to our growing and adjusting world.
SK: Then, transitioning from that I see that you went to the Oregon Women inHigher Education Conference in 2018. Could you talk a little bit about that experience?
KH: Yeah. I would say that was probably one of the best women's centeredconferences that I have gone to. It didn't center around let's talk about the problems in what's happening professionally. Because it's not just advisors. 01:05:00It's everyone. There was large leadership there from universities all over Oregon to students who were looking into starting their master's degree. It really was women from all over. It was really focused on problem solving. I felt like there was a really good mix of feeling like you could share your experiences. You didn't feel like it was going to be shared in an inappropriate way. It felt like we were looking for solutions, not looking for problems.
Then there was a really good session done by Alex Aljets who does this mappingout process, which I love. I think I've posted this about 1,000 times. It's really cool. It's more like if the student was to come in and do x, y, and z what would this look like for them. You can do that with your own processes or your own life stuff and really putting it down on paper, whether that's post-its or a map of how everything goes and put visual representation to it. It's really fun. I've used that in a lot of meetings. They're like, no it's not that big of a deal. I'm like, let's put this up on the board and see what this actually 01:06:00looks like from a student's perspective. They're like, wow that is a long process. I'm like, yes. This is a long process. Here it is visually on the board [laughs].
SK: From that do you feel like higher ed has a long way to go or do you feellike it's pretty equitable?
KH: I feel like I have never been in a position where I haven't felt likethere's room for growth. I think there is absolutely room for growth and there are still times where I will be in a room and I can feel the tension of if I'm to speak up right now I'm being viewed as bossy and not as it would be if I was a male colleague. There's been other times where I've been in the room where I 01:07:00have felt like I'm having my job explained to me by someone who doesn't do the job and it's coming particularly because of gender things. But I don't think that's unique to academia. I think that's everywhere right now. I do feel like academia is more willing to hear those concerns. I don't feel like there is any concern that I could have that I couldn't voice. I don't know necessarily-it's really hard to nail down because of the different roles that I've had during different times. I've always worked in academia. I've had a couple of jobs outside of it, but for the most part it's been academia. Is that because it's a private sector or a public sector university? Is it because it's East Coast versus West Coast? Is that because it was ten years ago and that could be a very 01:08:00different experience? I think now I feel like there is an easier way to vocalize your concerns and have those be heard. I don't know if everything is solved. Does that make sense?
SK: Yes. So, we're adapting but there's always room for improvement.
KH: Yeah. I think we still have a significant way to go.
SK: Do you feel like some of those issues that you feel are still present, doyou think they're especially prominent at OSU?
KH: I think that's a hard question to answer because of the fact that thedepartment I work at is majority women. The role that I'm in is majority women. I feel like there is a little bit more of if I'm hearing more things is that because more things are happening or is that because I'm surrounded by other 01:09:00women in the field? To answer your question of is it happening more at OSU, right, is that what you asked? I don't think it's any more prominent. Not that there's anything that I'm like this is because I'm at OSU. I don't think that at all. I think it's very much this is because I'm in the world in 2021.
SK: Honestly, I want to ask you-what is your favorite part of your job?
KH: Oh, my God. Why is that such an easy and hard question? Okay, my favoritepart of the job is not necessarily when I hear from a student but when I know I've made an impact, whether they like to hear it or not. Again, if that's something super simple or significant, I think one of the most meaningful things that I've had with students is helping them understand when things don't go as 01:10:00planned I think that's one of the things I talk about a lot, is that especially when students are like well, how did you come into your role?
I'm like, well, that's a really long story, clearly: undergrad in photo. I quitmy job. I traveled. I found the things. But then I talk about how it's okay if things change. It's okay if you decide you're doing something else. I talk about all the time how my-the biggest thing that I learned in my photography degree is to take criticism, how to utilize it. How to know when to say no, that's not what I'm thinking and here's reasons why. Or okay, great. Tell me what it is. Explain more to that. I use that every day. But was that my plan when I took that degree? No, my plan was to become a famous photographer in New York City. I have a cool first name. Clearly, I'm going to be famous. The thing that I learned there I transferred somewhere else. Getting to help students figure out: 01:11:00okay, well, things didn't go as planned. How do we move on? How do we see what we've done? It's not a loss. If you completely change majors, how do we take what we've learned and utilize that for the future? That to me is one of my favorite things or even helping someone learn how to organize their life, or learn how to tell their roommate how they're feeling without being passive aggressive about it, or how to communicate to their parents that their plans have changed and that it's okay. Clearly there's a theme here, which is being able to help a student figure out how to proceed with what they need at that time. I think that's the easiest way to summarize it.
I get so much joy in that, even if it's something really, really small, becauseI'm not going to cure cancer but maybe I'll help a student figure out a study 01:12:00strategy and they end up curing cancer way down the line. Or I made their life way easier and they're like my senior year was great because I found this random trail that I told Kassena I was really sad and I needed to walk in the woods, and I'm like well have you tried this trail? No? Okay great. It's like, yep didn't solve any of life's problems but it felt really way better about it while I was walking on that trail. I guess whatever joy I can help students find. I told you all long answers! This is the East Coast part of me. I can't give small answers [laughs].
SK: Then, do you feel like your job is unique from other academic advisorsbecause you're talking to Honors College students? Do you feel like you have unique problems to solve and stuff like that?
KH: I don't think I-I don't think I have unique problems to solve. I think Ihave a unique opportunity because a lot of other advisors on campus if a 01:13:00student's required to see you to see their registration plan and you have to see all 1,000 students and you need to make sure that they are covered, you have a lot of different things that you're like if I see this student I need to make sure that I see x, y, and z. Yes, I have those same things. I have a checklist when I go through with a student to make sure, because I want to make sure they're not going to miss anything. But I think because we're not a required meeting that allows us to have 30-minute meetings which allows us to be like, alright here's the things that you wanted to talk about. Here's the 15 minutes. Now, let's talk about other stuff. I would say 95% of my meetings the most meaningful thing a student will get out of it will be the thing that they didn't come in with.
SK: Then, in the same vein, do you feel like you have a different connectionwith your students because it's not a required meeting?
KH: No. I think most of the advisors on campus really their goal is to get to01:14:00know their students because the only way that we can help you find stuff, whether that's a job or an internship or figuring out life afterwards, is really if we get to know you. I would say that there are students that have-I mean, I have students who see me once a year because they need to check in but the relationship with their major advisor is so much stronger. That's fine. Because that means that they're getting what they need and they're asking me what they need from me. I don't think that's unique to Honors at all. I would say that I feel like I have the opportunity to engage in some of those questions, but I've also not experienced a major role advisor on campus. They could have just as much add on.
SK: Then do you have anywhere you want to go from here or do you feel like thisis what you could do for the rest of your life?
KH: Oh, this is what I'm doing forever [laughs]. I would say I really like thatI'm getting to engage with students and do some teaching. I'm liking that I get 01:15:00to work with students each and every day. I would say that as long as I'm continuing to feel like I'm making impact on their lives I'm good to go. Maybe I did find my thing. I just didn't know it was a job, so apparently I did find a calling eventually, which is super funny [laughs].
SK: [Laughs]. Do you still take photos? Is that still a part of your life?
KH: I do. I do still take photos. I think now it's a little bit harder becausesome of the things that I really enjoyed about it-there were two things that I really enjoyed about it. One was actually the creative and getting to print and see my things on there on the wall and where they are, which is harder financially to do now because it is pretty expensive. Then, I don't have the facilities now to do the fun chemical things that, the magical chemistry things that I like. I do still take photographs but I think I have a-I really enjoy 01:16:00taking them and I wish that I could instantaneously edit them with my mind instead of like, it takes hours on Photoshop to do nothing to the photo, just to process it because I use a raw capture system. I don't do really well with backlogs and so the longer my backlogs get the more I don't do the processing and then I just have, I'm like this is too much work. I'm not going to just not take pictures for a year and then I'm like why? Why did I do that?
SK: That's about everything I have. Do you have anything else you'd like to add?Any final thoughts?
KH: Any final thoughts...I would say the voices of women, women at OSU, are allso, so different. I think we each have a very, very different story. I think 01:17:00that's one of the things that I've enjoyed the most about having so many women in the role that I'm in is getting to hear all those stories. I think if you asked even just the advisors in the Honors College, none of us have a similar story as to how we got there, and so I think this is a really interesting project and I think it will be really cool to hear the different voices. I'm excited to hear some of those voices that maybe aren't in those leadership-that are working towards those leadership places. We're getting there, but I think no story or opinion captures it all.
SK: Alright. Thank you so much!
KH: You are welcome.