Familiar Faces Were Once Peace Students

Two William Peace female faculty members stand in front of campus trees outside dressed in black

By Taylor Peatross

Being on a small campus you get to know your professors and fellow staff members pretty well. But did you know that for some of the employees around William Peace University, their college experience was much like yours?

That’s right,12 faculty members who work at Peace were once students. All of them received their degree here, and they all have a special place for Peace in their heart. Most said that being employed is different than being a student because it gives you a behind the scenes view of how the university runs.

“I’m able to see the other side. See why things went the way they did,” said admissions counselor Jasmine Godbolt.

In addition, many of them expressed that working at Peace gave them the opportunity to give back and make a difference in the lives of students such as Dawn Dillon, Director of Retention and First Year Experience.

“I enjoyed my time as a student and had always hoped to work here,” said Dillon. “It’s an honor to be able to work at your alma mater, preserve history through your experience and help move forward.”

In 2006, Professional Development Seminar instructor Kenia Thompson graduated with a Communications degree. Thompson’s first job at Peace started in 2011 and lasted until the end of 2012. After being gone four years, Thompson returned this August as an adjunct professor.

“I always wanted to come back and teach,” said Thompson. “Mr. Christman was a key player in teaching me. He was very influential in making me want to teach and helped me learn, not from a textbook perspective, but from a life perspective.”

Thompson describes her favorite thing about working for Peace is just being on campus.

“It’s very nostalgic to me, very comfortable, like being at home. It’s a good pair of shoes, it fits.”

Lara Lee King, Director of Student Involvement, graduated in 2007 with a liberal studies degree. She wasn’t gone for long as two days as after graduation she began working in the Office of Advancement.

“Peace is a family, and it made sense to stay with family,” said King.

King’s favorite part about working for Peace is watching students come in as first years and transform over four years.

“I see their lives change in four short years,” said King.

Sarah Heenan, Conference and Events Manager, graduated a year later with her degree in history. She began her first job at Peace in the bookstore that same year in August 2008.

“It was home,” said Heenan. “A big part of who I am is because of the faculty and staff that impacted me. It’s rewarding to see the impact the faculty and staff can have on students at Peace. I like being a part of something greater than myself and my community.”

Moving up to 2015, Administrative Assistant for the Office of the Registrar, Tarecka Payne was graduated with her degrees in anthropology and liberal studies with a minor in women’s studies. Payne started work at Peace four months after graduation.

“There’s something about this place, I wanted to see it grow, wanted more alums on campus and more diversity of alumni,” said Payne. “So why not me? My favorite part about working for Peace is getting to see all the people that came after me succeed.”

Another 2015 graduate Bryson Gibson, Assistant Basketball Coach for the Men’s Basketball team, received his degree in political science and started working for Peace in the summer of 2016.

“It was a no brainer. Peace meant a lot to me as a student,” said Gibson. “Faculty, staff, coaches impacted me and I like being able to give back. I’m responsible for other students, not just myself.”

Sheri Keasler, more commonly known as “Mamma Sheri”, is the Office Manager for Student Services, received her degree in English in 2016. She first worked for Peace as a student worker in 2005, and became a full time employee April 2011.

Keasler said she loved Peace as a student. The professors cared and promoted success, which inspired her. She wanted to work at Peace so she could give back and make a positive difference in students lives.

“I know what the students are going through, I can relate which helps me serve the students,” said Keasler. “I don’t know what the day will be like, but everyday I can do something good, make a difference, make the next day better.”

With many favorite parts about working for Peace, Keasler says,“Peace is the only job I’ve ever had where I smile all the way to work.”

Maria Geddis, Database Trainer and Report Writer, is another graduate from the year 2016 and she majored in business. Geddis started working for Peace as a temporary employee in 2006 but quickly moved to a permanent position in September of the same year.

“I love the atmosphere, the campus, there’s so much history,” said Geddis. “I work with everybody, and love the people who work here.”

Geddis decided to get her degree while working here for the knowledge and also to move up in the ranks.

“It’s offered so why not take advantage of it.”

Technical Support Analyst Ed Parsons, another graduate from 2016, holds his degree in liberal studies with a minor in information technology. Coming to Peace in 2014 after a previous job at a large university, Parsons was not only excited to come back to Raleigh, but happy to be working in a smaller atmosphere.

Parsons favorite part about working for Peace is interacting with students, faculty, and staff.

“Everybody just seems to care about what they are doing.”

Bronson Canovai, a 2016 graduate, is not technically employed by the university, but he still works on Peace campus everyday. With a degree in communication, Canovai is the Field Manager for Follett in the bookstore . Employed since July of 2015, Canovai wanted to work here because he was involved on campus and wanted to stay on campus.

“It’s weird not being a student,” he said. “I still know people, and people ask me if I’m taking classes.”

Overall, Canovai says, “Peace is home to me, I enjoy being here, it’s a great school.”

Admissions Counselor Osaybeon Howard is a Peace grad from 2016. Earning his degree in liberal studies with a communication minor, Howard started working at Peace two months after graduation.

“I really enjoyed my time at Peace,” said Howard. “When I was a student my admissions counselor really helped me, so I wanted to provide that for other students. Working here you are a part of pulling the strings in the back to make things look good.”

Our final Pacer on the list, and sixth of the 2016 grads, is Godbolt. Also an Admissions Counselor, Godbolt got her degree in psychology and began working at Peace August 2016.

“It’s the same job I had done all three years,” said Godbolt, who is working to save money to pay for grad school in addition to gaining experience. “I love everything about Peace. It’s cool to be able to work where I went to school. I know people, it’s comfortable.”

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