Heather Stanley (B.A.’99, English; Secondary Education)
How were you involved on campus?
Hall Council President, Night Security Staff, Residence Hall Association Vice President, Resident Advisor, Residence Hall Assistant Director, Residence Life Undergraduate Assistant – Housing Office, Taught English 100, National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) Member, Golden Key National Honor Society Member, and WMU Homecoming Queen 1997
Hometown: Flint, MI
Current Location: Redford, MI
Job Title and Company/Organization: Area Leader, Calhoun Intermediate School District Statewide Field Team
Favorite Campus Memory
As I reflect on my time at Western Michigan University, my most fond memories are connected to my time as a resident and staff member in the residence halls. Whether it was participating in or organizing floor and hall wide events, I made the most of my residence hall experience. One memory that stands out is organizing a campus-wide conference as Vice President of the Residence Hall Association. I was entrusted with and empowered to organize the theme, content, and logistics for the event. This opportunity provided me the chance to exercise my organizational skills, while galvanizing a team to bring a vision to fruition! Seeing everyone engaged throughout the day, hearing positive feedback from my peers and mentors, and seeing the event positively impacting the work in which we were engaged was a truly amazing feeling. That experience taught me the power of ownership, collective responsibility, and leadership. This is just one of many memories that illustrates how my time at Western taught me countless relevant lessons for life!
When I decided in eleventh grade that I wanted to be a teacher (instead of a TV newscaster), I shifted my focus to searching for universities with high-quality education programs. I was also looking for scholarship opportunities that would allow me to minimize the financial burden for my family. Western met both of those needs and so much more! I was awarded the FAME (Fund for the Advancement of Minorities in Education) Scholarship, which paid my full tuition. By the time I was entering my sophomore year, I had secured a position as a Resident Advisor, which covered my room and board expenses. These opportunities allowed me to really be able to focus on my education and my involvement in numerous university clubs, programs, and events.
My time working within the Housing Division in Residence Life – as an RA, AD, Undergraduate Assistant – still serves me today. I worked with diverse groups of people and learned to truly appreciate varying perspectives. I developed critical conflict resolution and problem-solving skills that shaped how I approach conflicts and challenges even now. I also had to refine my time management skills, which has to obviously adjust based on my life context, but those skills I learned at WMU provided a foundation for how I approach my everyday life – they were truly skills for college and beyond.
I had amazing mentors both in my residence life work and in my studies. My residence hall directors, residence life staff, English and education professors all became trusted advisors. I am beyond grateful for the feedback, challenges, and insight they always provided. Beyond any one class or person, I simply remember that it felt like a family where everyone wanted me to be successful; I carried that attitude into my classroom when I became a teacher and have continued to bring that teamwork and family mentality into any position in which I have worked or held.
I have so many amazing reasons that I love Western, which is why I am so honored to join the Alumni Association Board. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back, even a fraction, of what Western Michigan University gave to me. I am forever grateful to be a forever Bronco!