Meet A Deac

It’s Meet A Deac Monday! Today I am pleased to introduce you to someone your Deacs might come into contact with, Medina Thompson of the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

TMedina Thompson of Residence Life and Housingo get us started, will you please tell me your job title and how long you’ve been at Wake? My title is Operations Assistant, Office of Residence Life and Housing. I’ve been here for 8 months.

Forgive me that I totally cheated there, since I was on the search committee for your position 🙂 Now tell me a little about your educational background. I went to Regent University, graduating in 2015 with a B.A. in Christian Ministry and stayed to get my M.Ed. in Student Affairs, graduating in 2019.

How would you describe your job in layperson’s terms? Some say that I am the “gatekeeper” for our office in Angelou Hall. I assist with incoming calls, greet guests, and help out with any tasks that our Operations team may need. I have an incredible team of Office Assistants that assist as well, as we speak with students, parents, and families on a daily basis, covering a variety of their questions.

I know you were working at another school nearby when the pandemic started. What was one of your toughest COVID challenges? I would have to say making sure my student staff and colleagues were taken care of. March 2020 will forever be “the month it all happened” to folks who work in Higher Education (especially Residence Life). I’m proud to say that although it was a challenging spring of 2020, we really pulled together as a team and were able to get the closing of our residence halls done. If there is anything this pandemic has taught us, having a strong team with effective communication is at the top of the list.

What do you like best about working at Wake? Working at Wake Forest is an incredible honor in itself, but I really enjoy the people that I work with here on campus. Being in Campus Life, especially Residence Life and Housing, requires you to have a sense of humor – and our office sure does have that! I love being a part of the heartbeat of campus, and in an office that helps fuel the holistic growth of our students.

Do you have a favorite place on campus yet? Definitely the trail up towards Reynolda Village!

If you were offering advice to a student, what would you tell them? Don’t be afraid to ask for help and get involved! You have so many incredible people on campus that want to serve you and assist with your questions, concerns, thoughts, and ideas. In undergrad, the first thing I did was get involved and that led to incredible opportunities to network and gain leadership skills that I was able to pass on to other students. Also — PLEASE check your emails! 🙂

And what advice would you offer to Wake parents and families? We love parents and families and are so grateful that you have allowed your students to come to campus (particularly during the pandemic). Although it may be scary, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to allow your students to take the first step! Whether they are having roommate issues or need to add a dining plan, we want to encourage your students to be the initiators, which enhances their sense of responsibility and success as a student living on campus.

It’s time for the lightning round questions!

book cover: Life on FireBooks you’re reading now: Life On Fire by James Aladiran

Favorite band/musician/genre: I love LOTS of different genres of music (except country…. sorry!). I listen to anything from Jazz/Neosoul to Rap/Hip hop to Screamo/Alternative to Worship/Gospel music. My husband and I are both musicians, so we love going back and forth about harmonies, melodies, and everything in between!

still from the movie Marie AntoinetteTV, movies, Netflix, etc.: Movies: Marie Antoinette, The Fifth Element, Forrest Gump, and Monsters University. Shows: The Office, The Chosen, The Great British Baking Show, and Monsters at Work.

Websites you frequent: Gmail (I try to keep my inbox as clean/organized as possible). YouTube (mostly playing background jazz/rain sounds).

cappucinoGuilty pleasures: A good cappuccino and cinnamon roll from Lavender and Honey bakery!

Introvert or extrovert: Extrovert when I’m in social situations and a total introvert at home.

Something most people don’t know about you: I am a first-generation college graduate (both undergraduate/graduate). My father immigrated to the United States in the early 80’s and pursued a career in the restaurant industry; however, he never really had the opportunity to further his education. Growing up knowing his story really fueled my passion for higher education and seeing young adults succeed and make a lasting generational change.

Medina, many thanks for being this week’s Meet A Deac, and for all you do to help our students in their residential experience! 

[Editor’s note – you can read past Meet A Deacs here].

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)