Since Fall of 2012 I’ve known that I was a Shimerian. It was a surprising discovery since I received my BA from the largest school in the state, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Shimer is the smallest. An alum and then Admission Counselor for the school, Adrian Nelson, first introduced me to Shimer and it was an immediate fit. A month later I joined Shimer as the Database Administrator for Admission. Since then I have known there are far too many Shimerians, like myself, who aren’t learning about this special place in the right moment. It’s become my job to make sure that the people who would be at home here find us when they are making decisions along their path of life-long learning.
There are as many ways to be a Shimerian as there are Shimerians but having a book problem is a strong indicator. I worked in bookstores and libraries through my undergraduate days; my favorite was interning with the Phillips Collection Library in Washington D.C. Another aspect of Shimer life that resonated with me, due to my Quaker upbringing, were the principles of self-governance practiced here, and is a huge part of why this intentionally small community has felt like home - dysfunctions and all!
After a little over two years in the role of Database Administrator, I was done seeing only the application side of potential Shimerians. I wanted to be wowed by more than just on paper achievements and witty essays. So, in 2014 I started a new role with Shimer College as Admission Counselor and have had the joy of meeting and working with future Shimerians in every step of their application process, from the moment they discover Shimer to the moment they arrive at the realization that this is their home too. Since then I have been promoted to Associate Director of Admissions, which has grown my opportunities to connect with future Shimerians.
Despite how all-encompassing life in the Shimer community can be, I do have a pretty active life beyond the bounds of our campus. I’m a director and co-founder for a small non-profit, called Midwest Access Coalition, and constantly engaged in related feminist and social-justice oriented action and organizing. I live nearby in Bridgeport and believe in community building that is multi-generational and diverse, which situates me well for counseling incoming students regarding their transition to our area. I like making things, but I’m not always the best at finishing that sweater I started knitting or putting that zine I wrote through production.
Still, some projects do turn into the envisioned window garden or something else lovely and useful. The experience of doing is always an enjoyable end in and of itself. Unscheduled moments in life are generally spent riding a bike or reading over a cup of coffee.