Paige VinsonHometown: Austin, TX

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Professional interests:

I’d like to create a space where students feel comfortable sharing their entire story – not just the parts that are neat and tidy. A place where students not only ask questions about which classes to take, what career options exist given their major, but also, and especially, the hard questions that we as messy humans have searched for answers to: who am I? where do I belong? what’s my purpose?  Of course, I don’t have the answers, but I hope through dialogue we can fearlessly interrogate any question and together come closer to understanding who we are and why we are here.  

Professional background:

Prior to accepting the role of Academic Guide, I spent almost two decades teaching English to speakers of other languages.   As a teacher, I discovered that my greatest skill in the classroom had less to do with teaching the subject matter, and more to do with offering a holistic approach to supporting students and creating community.   By creating norms for the classroom that included honoring and respecting all students, a community developed in which students felt empowered to engage with difference.  My interest in and appreciation of what students experienced outside of class, led me to my previous position as staff member of Duke International House. There I spent 13 years supporting internationals as they negotiated life at Duke and in the U.S., and sharing with staff the benefits of and skills for enhancing intercultural engagement and development. 

Educational Background:

  • M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, University of North Carolina at Greensboro 
  • B.A. Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro                           

 

Intellectual interests:

Increasing intercultural competence and improving interpersonal communication using mindfulness.  Neuroscience and our perception of reality, what it means to be human, and the interconnectedness of all things.  All topics that inform my endless search for a greater understanding of self and other.

Fun fact/what we do for fun:

I played on the University of Texas-Austin soccer team as half-back.

For fun, I walk…and walk! I love the simplicity of walking with all you need packed on your back: cheese and bread, my watercolor paints, a book, and a canteen.  My favorite walk to date was the month I spent with other pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. 

What was the most challenging part of college for you? What did you learn from that experience?  

I entered college within a few years of my mother being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and at a time when her health was deteriorating.  Not having role models at home or on campus to show me how to share this part of my life, left me burdened and ashamed.  I know now that carrying that secret and the stress from worrying, negatively impacted my ability to thrive academically and socially.  

I learned several things from the experience – that is after working with a counselor and taking time to reflect on the experience.  I learned that I don’t have to go it alone.  I learned that life is going to give us times of immense joy and at some point, challenge us with seemingly unbearable suffering.  I learned that it is okay to ask for help even when I have no idea what kind of help I need.  Sharing my less-than perfect life with others will not only ease my burden it will also strengthen my relationships. We really are only human.

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Chase Black

Quads: Keohane & Wannamaker

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Sarah Eisensmith

Quad: Crowell & Kilgo

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Debbie Hughes

Quads: Swift & Lancaster Commons

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Mathavi J. Strasburger

Quad: Few

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Paige Vinson

Quad: Kilgo

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Erica Wallace

Quad: Craven

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