Several freshman students gather around a gleeful and charmingly energetic dog in the front lobby of Copeland Hall. They laugh and chat with each other as they play with the peppy pup called Penny. Her owner, Raeann Bray, is the new Resident Director of Copeland this year, and this is one of many nights in the freshman hall when students spend time with their RD and her dog, getting to know each other and having fun.
Bray is a Maryville College alumna. She graduated in the spring of 2011 as a Psychology major and is looking forward to her first year working as an RD. Before this fall, she was working part-time in the admissions office as a telecounselor. However, Bray says that when she heard of the open position, she was excited at the possibility of returning to MC as an RD and to become part of what she describes as MC’s “enriching and thriving community.”
“Being an MC alumna,” Bray said, “gives me a unique perspective for this position, mainly because I consider Maryville my forever home.” She feels that her college experience at MC will provide a connection between her and the students in Copeland, which will better enable her to guide and help them through their first year.
Gaining that connection with the students is extremely important to her. “Perhaps my favorite moments in my job are those where I get to witness my residents growing and learning,” Bray said, “I also enjoy laughing with my residents and most of all, sharing stories about their lives.”
There are still some challenges she foresees with her new position, however, like having to watch students make mistakes and learn difficult life lessons.
Though Bray is the new RD of Copeland Hall, she confesses: “I was a Davis girl my freshmen year, but I always admired the strong and unique community of Copeland.”
Copeland’s student population has a reputation for its strong diversity and special community amongst the freshman residence halls.
Bray also says that it is a humbling experience to be a part of a group of people who care about and work exceptionally hard for their students, and she believes that this job is giving her a new and deeper appreciation for her own college experience.
The Resident Assistants in Copeland have all bonded together with Bray to create a fun and safe environment for all the students living in Copeland Hall this year.
Sophomore RA Cheyenne Gies says, “I love working with Raeann. She is energetic and brings a lot to the table. She has helped us bond as a staff and is making Copeland a better place to live.”
Bray says that she is looking forward to this year’s journey and watching her residents grow and mature during their first year here at MC. She says she can already see changes in many of them since they moved into Copeland this August, and she cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the year: “It’s going to be a whirlwind of a year, but I’m ready.”