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Comings and Goings: Get to Know Angela Buck

June 20, 2016

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This month, Angela Buck transitioned from working as an area director for Campus Living and started her new job as the assistant director for the Department of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) and International Students and Scholars (ISS). Get to know Angela in the interview below: 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Torrance, California, so I have a lot of love for Southern California, the beach, and sunshine. I attended the University of California, San Diego for college as a Linguistics major, and I was really involved in campus life as a resident advisor and member of our Filipino organization, Kaibigang Pilipino. I then went on to attend graduate school at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where I studied Higher Education Administration with a focus on Student Affairs. I had the opportunity to deeply investigate issues that college students face, how students experience college from a developmental standpoint, and how communities form. That time in my life affirmed my love for working with students and inspired my commitment to work hard every single day to make sure young people are able to maximize their potential. I moved to Portland three years ago and have worked as an area director in the Stewart, Odell, and Akin complex (#SOAlove) throughout this time. I am excited to transition to my new role this summer!

What is your new role at Lewis & Clark and what do you enjoy most about working here?

My primary responsibilities will include programming campus-wide events on topics related to diversity and inclusion, enhancing student leadership development and multicultural student engagement, and working collaboratively with campus partners to foster an inclusive campus climate. What I love most about working at Lewis & Clark is that I can work from my values around community, equity, and compassion, since these things are reflected in many of the students, staff, and faculty that surround me. I am inspired by the passion with which people in this community approach life and work, so this motivates me to get up every day to continue to enhance and harness that sense of passion and social progress.

What are some of the challenges for underrepresented communities at Lewis & Clark and how does the IME office help address these challenges?

I have seen that students from historically underrepresented communities can sometimes feel a sense of isolation on campus because they do not often see many similar faces around them. I know I certainly had a rough transition in that regard as a person of color moving from California to Portland. The feeling of being the “only” person in a space has its own pressures and challenges. In this regard, IME seeks to create a robust community that connects students of historically underrepresented backgrounds via our LEAP mentorship program. Another goal of IME is to encourage all students to have a nuanced understanding of difference and how important it is to work within discomfort in order to create real relationships and connections. Our hope is to equip our community with tools to recognize our implicit biases, confront issues with care, and to engage others in dialogues that are sometimes difficult yet crucial.

Do you think staff and faculty should play a role in helping new students transition to life and academics at Lewis & Clark? If so, how?

Absolutely! Serving as an area director on campus has given me lots of insight into the minds of our new students on campus, and I have learned that they are incredible, creative, and brilliant in many ways, and they have amazing histories and life stories. Given this, I think it is our duty as staff and faculty to understand the contexts from which our students are coming, and create conditions where they will thrive. I think it is on us to be aware of and responsive to the identities and needs of our students, and to work from a place of care, compassion, and learning. Lewis & Clark students are not just students—they are club members, change agents, loving siblings, loyal friends, athletes, among many other things—so it is important that we are working within the bigger picture of their lives. Not only that, I think it is important that we do our own self work of understanding our biases in order to recognize how they show up in our roles on campus. 

What would you say to students with different identities and backgrounds considering coming to Lewis & Clark?

I want to quote Portland-born author/performer Renee Watson who recently said at a Black scholarship lunch I attended, “Hold onto your people, hold onto your passion, hold onto your power.” Transitioning to Lewis & Clark will come with a lot of life changes, but it is important to hold onto your friends and family members who helped shape you and to maintain the relationships you will create with those you truly connect with on campus. Also, make sure you check out everything IME and ISS have to offer because we are excited to meet you! 

What did you want to be when growing up?

Growing up I was really into playing soccer, so for awhile I wanted to become a professional soccer player. I quickly learned the severe limitations of my athletic ability, so I realized that was not a possible career path in any way. I was then focused on becoming a newscaster because I would see these beautiful women of color on our local news channels, and it was the first time I saw Asian women in the media portrayed in real-life roles. I even joined the TV station in college and had my own hour-long show for about a year! Don’t ask me about my show… it was a weird time.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

As many on-campus folks know, I love my 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Jameson. He is friendly and loves saying hello to everyone, so feel free to come say hi if you ever see us walking around campus! I also love food and eating at different places around Portland, so if you have any restaurant, food cart, or coffee shop recommendations please let me know!

What’s on your bucket list?

I love bucket lists, so I am happy that you asked! In no particular order, some of the things on my list are as follows: try all the Jelly Belly flavors (even the gross ones); ride in a hot air balloon; give a commencement address; create a college scholarship; live abroad; renovate a house (shout out to “Fixer Upper”, my current favorite show); and be a part of a community art piece (like the “Before I Die” project).

The following staff members are either new to campus or have a new job title:

Arianna Figueroa, administrative coordinator, Campus Living; Pamela Findlay, head women’s basketball coach and instructor, Physical Education and Athletics; Evelyn Guerrero, admissions counselor, CAS Admissions; Erica Jensen, visual resources and fine arts librarian, Watzek Library; Blythe Knott, acting director, Overseas and Off-Campus Programs; Yvon Kozma, access services and collection support assistant, Boley Library; Andrea Lang, staff attorney, Law School; Tara Mussulman, administrative coordinator, Center for Community Engagement; Robert Truman, librarian for legal research instruction, Boley Library; Kristina Williams, assistant women’s basketball coach, Physical Education and Athletics; and Xi Zhong, financial analyst, Finance Division.

The following people have left Lewis & Clark. Here’s wishing them good luck in their new adventures:

Deborah Keller, coordinator, Information Technology; Michael Kinkenon, assistant baseball coach, Physical Education and Athletics; Danika Machado-Potestio, assistant women’s basketball coach, Physical Education and Athletics; and Martha Spence, associate dean for academic affairs, Law School.