This school year brought new resident directors to the Laguna, Catalina, and Balport dorms as well as to Vanguard Center. The changes on campus this semester have given the new staff a vibrant atmosphere to step into.
The new Laguna RD, Paola Martinez, attended Vanguard as a student and began working at Vanguard following her graduation. She has been working in the Professional studies department for two years. She began as the administrative assistant for professional studies, then moved to the admissions counselor role, and now has taken on the position of an RD.
While both of her parents are from Columbia, Martinez was born and raised in California in the Santa Ana, Tustin area. Martinez explained that she chose to come to Vanguard because of its location coupled with it being a small Christian school.
“[Vanguard] wasn’t too far from home, but gave me enough space to be able to be here and just be present,” Martinez said.
Tessa Crellin, Catalina’s new RD, was also a Vanguard staff member prior to becoming an RD. Crellin worked in the Residence Life Office last year as the Student Services Coordinator.
“I love Res Life, I always have,” Crellin said. “I think it’s a fun department to work in, and it has a lot of interaction with students, and a lot of one on one conversations.”
Crellin was born and raised in Tracy, California before travelling south for school. Before Vanguard, Crellin attended Biola University, worked at Biola University, and then attended Azusa Pacific University for her Master’s degree. She came to Vanguard with a desire to work closely with students, and has found that in the RD position.
Unlike Martinez and Crellin, the RD for Balboa and Newport, Joy Parker, is new to Vanguard this year. Parker was born and raised in Seal Beach, California. She attended Azusa Pacific University for her undergraduate and master’s degrees. Following her graduation, she went San Diego Christian college and worked there for two years, and in that time got married.
“I’ve known I wanted to work on a college campus since I was little,” Parker said, “and really felt like the Lord was calling me to come work here.”
According to Parker, her first impressions of Vanguard are nothing but positive. She explained that the student’s general love for the school made her job as an RD easier and more enjoyable.
“The part where I really kind of fell in love with all the students here was student leadership retreat that we go on in the beginning of the school year,” Parker said, “I feel like that was really exciting for me to step into a new role knowing I was going to be working alongside these students.”
The new Resident Coordinator for Vanguard Center, Justin Capener, is also new to the Vanguard scene. Originally from the Bay Area, Capener came to Southern California for college and, like Parker, attended Azusa Pacific University. After graduating, Capener worked in Keto, Ecuador for a study abroad organization, where he heard about Vanguard from am alumnus.
“Going from that [APU] to a smaller institution has been interesting to see, there’s differences,” Capener said, “I’ve liked it a lot though. Vanguard feels like a family, with staff, faculty, students, like everybody. Everybody kind of knows each other.”
Since beginning the RC job, Capener has worked to connect VC to Vanguard. He expressed that so far, he feels that he and his staff and Resident Assistants have had success in creating community within VC itself.
These four new staff members have joined Victor Akioyame (second year RD of Huntington Hall) in fostering an atmosphere of care and passion, tackling the challenges presented with hard work. Through all the frustrations and rewards, the new staff has proven they are up to the task.
“Being an RD is kind of chaotic, and everyday is so different,” Parker said, “but that’s what makes it fun and exciting.”