How I got here…reader’s digest version…
I am currently a resident of Spokane, Washington, but being born and raised in Alaska, I think I will always identify as Alaskan. It’s in your bones.
I came of age in a wild place, and although I barely graduated high school, I learned so much about survival during those years.
After an unexpectedly successful academic year at the University of Alaska Southeast, I moved to Los Angeles, where I knew no one. I had no real plan, but I wanted an adventure, and LA would definitely fit the bill. The broad diversity and challenging landscape of Los Angeles, coupled with a rich educational environment, opened up a new world. This is where my love of learning germinated.
When I graduated with a BA in sociology in 2002, I knew I wanted to stay in higher education and I wanted to serve in the margins. I was offered a position at a small Jesuit university in Spokane Washington- Gonzaga University. At the time, I didn’t know what “Jesuit” meant and I’d never been to Spokane, but it was an opportunity to serve students with disabilities, so I accepted. I packed everything I owned into the back of my (parentally donated) 1988 Toyota pick-up and started the drive from LA to Spokane. This move launched a two decades long career in higher education.
After my father passed away unexpectedly in June of 2018, and then his wife passed just four months later, I hit the pause button on my career. I needed to focus on selling their properties and closing out their estate- no small undertaking. And, of course, I needed space to grieve. I maintained a small client-base in my side-business as a productivity coach and focused on estate matters and healing.
In July of 2019 I completed the last of the estate matters and was ready to get back to full-time work. I wanted to join an organization and be part of a team again, but I also wanted to be intentional about how and where I reentered the workforce. After some research, and much contemplation, I decided to enroll in an eLearning Instructional Design program at the University of Washington. I find myself in a state of flow when designing workshops, delivering learning experiences, and maintaining the technical side of that work. The UW program will compliment my existing expertise in adult learning with an additional degree of technical aptitude in design and eLearning.
Friends & Family
I met my hubby, Roger, in 2012 when we were both working at Gonzaga. Roger worked in IT and I was supporting a program that served students. We had both worked there for over five years and never met- we just didn’t run in the same circles. Then one day another couple on campus tricked us into a blind double date. At one point in the evening, Roger did the robot dance… and I swooned. The rest is history.
Roger has continued his career at GU, now serving as the Associate Director for Infrastructure Engineering in Information Technology (that’s a mouthful) and also as a hobbyist photographer (@roger.cummings). He has two daughters, so I have had the privilege of being in the lives of these special young women. I also have my darling fur baby, Dexter, a 10-year old mixed breed who has been with me since he was a pup. He’s quirky, sometimes grumpy, and has approximately 147 nicknames.
I have found myself to be very happy living, working and volunteering in the Spokane community. I especially appreciate the progress and growth I’ve seen since I moved here in 2003. What I love most about Spokane are the people. I have a circle of friends who are truly wonderful. I feel pretty lucky for the people who choose to be in my life.
My personal passions are divided. I love adventurous outdoors activities…and I love “grandma” hobbies (as my friends call them). Travel, of course, is a category all by itself.
During the warm months, you can find me in a kayak, cursing the motorboats throwing a wake- or on a trail, cursing the mosquitoes. During the colder months I’m cross-country skiing (still cursing at something, I’m sure). Last season I accomplished my goal to ski 20 times. During my final run, I was in a t-shirt watching the snow melt under my skis. I’m rockin’ the yoga year-round, which keeps my mind and body both challenged and free.
My “grandma” hobbies include knitting, embroidery, sewing, and most of all, food preservation. I am also a Master Composter, which you can read more about on my volunteer page.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading my story. If you’d like to connect with me, please click the button below.