The Colonnade recently got the chance to sit down with Kristy Johnson, the new assistant director for the GIVE Center. Check out the following interview to find out a little about Kristy, her qualifications and why she is excited to be at Georgia College.
colonnade: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
kristy johnson: I’m from Georgia, grew up in Warner Robins, did my undergrad at the University of Georgia. Then I worked at Oconee Regional Medical Center here in Milledgeville for the last seven years.
colonnade: What was your job and daily tasks there?
johnson: I was their community outreach coordinator, so basically linking the hospital to the community and doing health education programs in the community. When this opportunity came up at the college I was just very interested in it because it was still doing that side of what I was used to doing but with college students. I just have a passion for college students and just wanted to get into the university. So that’s kind of what brought me here.
colonnade: What experiences from the hospital do you feel like will help you here?
johnson: Well definitely all of the contacts in the community. I’ve had the opportunity of doing a lot of collaboration and partnership with different organizations and individuals. I have a very strong sense of the resources we have in the community so that kind of brings that aspect to the university to help the students here get more engaged off campus.
colonnade: What kind of changes or plans do you have for the GIVE Center?
johnson: The GIVE Center all over is making some changes, moving forward with the whole ENGAGE initiative and the service-classroom based learning. So as the time goes by we should hopefully have better relationships with community partners and the same with students. Whether you’re doing service work as a classroom project or you’re just doing it because that’s where your heart is, we are trying to make it more seamless to encourage all students to do some kind of service work.
colonnade: How, if at all, is working in a college environment different than your last job?
johnson: It’s completely different but the students here are wonderful. Especially the students we have on staff here. They’re very professional and it’s almost like working with another professional that’s out of college. You also have to realize that they are still college students and that they’re still developing their skills. So it’s a lot more challenging to find that good common ground with students. But it’s a good challenge.
colonnade: Have you found the staff and students to be helpful during your transition?
johnson: The students have been so welcoming and I tell them “please, just because I’m the assistant director doesn’t mean you can’t tell me how to do something or what I need to be doing.” They have been very helpful in helping me feel more comfortable here.
colonnade: Anything else you want to add?
johnson: I’m just really excited to be at Georgia College and coming from a community standpoint where I wasn’t really connected to the college before. The community really is opening and embracing the college now. I know there has been a lot of disconnect in years past where you’ve had the college and you’ve had Milledgeville as a community as separate entities. It’s really great with the administration here and a lot of the faculty and staff really want to engage students in the community and vice versa.