Posted by: Katherine Primus | April 19, 2010

Three Blessings

During my tenure as Executive Director I have had the pleasure of working directly with talented, intelligent, caring, articulate University of Pennsylvania students.  These students, and the relationships we have created with one another, will always remain one of the most significant highlights of my tenure here.

This spring we will say goodbye to three of these students – Melinda Angeles, Alex Lee, and Meredith Aska McBride.

Both Melinda and Meredith began their work-study positions at the Christian Association the first fall I served as Executive Director.  Melinda applied for a graphics position and I fondly remember some of our initial conversations.  What a pleasure to see her grow in self-confidence in her designs, which helped to better reflect some of our newest programs.  Melinda had responsibility for all of the graphics design for our Open Mind for Africa program in honor of Dr. Louise Shoemaker.  She skillfully utilized one of Dr. Shoemaker’s favorite pictures of herself and designed sophisticated black and white program materials for our inaugural event.

Then last year, for the event featuring Nikki Giovanni, she again rose to the task incorporating key African images, along with the necessary information, into a cohesive and attractive design.  In addition to incredible graphic design, Melinda’s quiet presence and sweet smile made us all feel special when we talked with her.  Her major of Environmental Studies is not one I knew much about and so I enjoyed being exposed to a whole new field of study.

I am not exactly sure at this point what specifically Meredith applied for when she started here as she has gracefully transitioned into different roles as we have needed.  For the last two years in particular Meredith has taken the lead in preparing our electronic newsletter InProgress, which helped both Gary Bronson and I tremendously.  Her dedication to the task reflects her strong work ethic.  Meredith also has an innovative mind and her impetus helped to propel us to incorporating a blog building on our newsletter.  The blog enables us to respond to timely social justice issues that we feel need to be highlighted.  I have also had the sincere pleasure of learning more about the Penn student culture from Meredith, which has given me insight into the university’s students.  During her time with us Meredith converted to Judaism and she shared along the journey her individual discernment for this decision.

Alex, a graduate student in the Penn School of Design, joined us last year.  From the beginning I appreciated Alex’s ability to explain the vision of his designs.  With his sketchpad close at hand he would show sketches of his vision and I always came away impressed with his ability to translate the words graphically.  Our results from our campus culture surveys when graphically depicted by Alex combined an air of whimsy that added to the content.  In addition to these incredible skills I will always remember fondly the many conversations Alex and I had about movies and books and family.  Alex recommended a variety of movies to me, some of which I liked and some of which I did not so much, but all of which gave us additional content to discuss.   His desire to continue to develop and mature as a person helped him to make the most of his graduate school experience.

Melinda, Meredith and Alex I will miss you.  May God go with you in your journeys and may you always remember fondly your time with us at the Christian Association.  Please keep in touch.

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