Always keep growing, always keep learning
Erin Coiley came to Virginia Tech in 2015 as a graduate student in the Higher Education Program and immediately identified with the feel of the campus community. She said, “I knew that I could be challenged, but also successful. It felt like it would be a place where I could learn while also making contributions to this field. Four years later, I still feel a sense of community. Though our work can be tough at times, I enjoy working with our students and I am continuing to learn and be shaped by those around me, both professionally and personally.”
For the past two years, Erin has been Residential Learning Coordinator for Pritchard Hall, where she selects, trains, supervises, and assesses 29 Resident Advisors and has led ongoing staff development in self-care, diversity, inclusion, and interpersonal skills.
Erin’s nominator wrote, “As a Residential Learning Coordinator, it is easy to fall into the daily grind of the job, ignoring how one’s values show up in the work. Yet, Erin is careful to think about who she is and who she wants to be. Whether that is ensuring her word is met or that she leads with moral strength, stability, and transparency, Erin models integrity for her peers and students. Erin has developed lasting relationships with students and staff not because she is required to, but because her value of relationships drives her to know and be known.”
One of the highlights of Erin’s time at Virginia Tech was working with the Corps of Cadets. She said, “I believe you need to observe and fully understand a culture before you can truly dive in and make a difference. My experience allowed me to transform as a professional and learn about a student experience that is different from my own. The Corps of Cadets sparked my love of working with living-learning communities and the partnerships that stem from those communities.”
Erin believes wellness should be a priority in all of our lives so we can better teach each other and our students to practice self-care. She said, “Though I believe we all support students, faculty, and staff being well, I strongly believe we could do more to actively engage people in taking care of themselves. In one-on-one conversations with students and colleagues, I try to promote healthy living because I believe that is the root of being our best selves and performing well in our roles.”
Erin’s advice to others is, “It is important not to be stagnant in your role, whatever that may be. One of the reasons I returned to Virginia Tech was because I knew I wasn't done growing and learning. I have always believed in practicing lifelong learning. It is important that we keep moving forward, especially as new generations of students enter college. If we remain stagnant, we are failing our students and ourselves.”