Before undertaking her new position as the Residence Director (RD) of Gibson Hall here at Maryville College, Brittany Coats had absolutely no idea what to expect. However, when one of her Residence Assistants (RAs) told her that being a RD was going to change her life, she hardly could have imagined just how right they would be.
Growing up, Brittany Coats resided in the small, rural town of Montpelier located in the tristate area of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. In 2012, she graduated from Defiance College with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.
During her time as an undergraduate student, Brittany was fortunate enough to have experienced several, international travel opportunities largely focused on service learning—such as training laboratory technicians in Cambodia to microscopically diagnose malaria and teaching villagers in Belize how to detect pathogenic contaminants in drinking water. She believes it is experiences such as these which satisfy her aspiration to help others. Soon after, Brittany decided to pursue her master’s in International Education at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT.
Before becoming the new RD for Gibson, Brittany interned at the International House on campus where she worked closely with student services and the study abroad program. Upon arriving on campus, she was impressed with how dedicated the faculty and staff were toward nurturing student’s learning and growth in and out of the classroom. She was equally impressed with the college’s passion to cultivate a culturally diverse environment. Since Maryville College is a liberal arts school much like the one she attended, Brittany felt right at home.
Within the few months Brittany has been Gibson’s new RD this academic year, she has already begun to understand what her RA meant about this life-altering experience. During a team building retreat for the Gibson Hall staff, she and her RAs went on a whitewater rafting excursion.
When asked how everyone cooperated, Coats said, “As a team we work very well together while also having fun.” She and her staff also created a banner for move-in day inspired by their trip which communicates this year’s theme at Gibson: The Great Smokey Mountains. Brittany believes that it excellently depicts the dynamic of the staff this year: functionality and fun.
Brittany admits that her favorite part about working as a Residence Hall Director and Housing Coordinator is that she gets to witness firsthand how students are stretching their minds. “I believe that throughout life individuals are constantly changing and evolving; we are never quite the same as we were in the past and college is a time where people can experience some of the biggest changes in their lives. It is really neat to watch how students have grown during their time here,” Coats said.
With the help of her staff, Brittany plans to continue to help make Gibson a safe and healthy place while enhancing the residence community. In order to do so, she has high expectations that all Gibson Hall residents will start the year off right by following rules and regulations such as strictly adhering to the no-alcohol policy. The staff also encourages the use of door props so that it creates a friendly, welcoming and communicative environment.
Something to know about Brittany if you haven’t met her yet is that she is an adventurer. A few exotic, fun facts include that she has ridden an elephant, swam with a shark, and seen a jaguar in the jungle; after joining Dr. Unger on his trip to Bonaire during J-term last year, Brittany has also made scuba diving one of her new hobbies. She is located on the first floor of Gibson in room 1108, where she keeps an open door and is happy to have company from whomever would like to stop by and chat.