Murray State has chosen Abigail French, an alumna, as the new interim director for the University’s Women’s Center for the 2012-13 academic years.
French, a recent graduate from Buchanan, Tenn., received her undergraduate and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Murray State and has worked for the center as a volunteer since her freshmen year.
Kelly Herrenbruck, senior from Madisonville, Ky., said French has done more for the center than what was expected.
“She has been great at helping us out since no permanent director has been selected yet,” Herrenbruck said. “It’s a bit early in the year but she has already helped us become better at organizing events and answering any questions we may have.”
Herrenbruck, who has worked for the center for two years, said French has brought a new view, along with some fresh ideas, that might change the perception of the center altogether. She said French is aspiring to get more organized in order to reach a broader student body.
French said the job may come with some difficult challenges.
“There are a lot of expectations,” she said. “But I do feel there’s been a lot of support from the administration and the student workers. The student workers are great and I really do get a feel of the team effort.”
She said it really is a collaborative effort and she hopes the center can continue to work together and create something that will benefit the University.
French said she hopes to have more student involvement with the center to help new programs. French also hopes more students become aware of the services the center has to offer and to know they have support and resources to be more successful.
The interim director is a one-year position, until a permanent director can be appointed. After Jane Ethridge’s retirement last year, the decision for a new director has not been made yet. A search to fill the position was attempted, but has yielded no results.
French said the role of director comes with the opportunity to focus on the needs of the student body, both as a whole and individual. She hopes to achieve a fresh understanding of what students need and think is important.
“I want to learn how to ‘revamp’ and redefine how the center gears their programs toward students,” she said. “To be involved with student affairs is to be able to understand that all students come from different backgrounds and histories and they all have their own needs and deserve as many chances as possible to work one-on-one with many different people.”
In her time as interim director, French hopes to help students realize their time at the University is crucial to the rest of their lives. She said college life is a time of freedom and a time to experience other people as well. The center’s office is a place where students can learn how their actions and choices have a profound effect on not only themselves but other people as well, she said.
Shamike Stiles, a freshman from Aurora, Ill., said French is not only helping the center with the advising side, but as well as the promotion side of the center.
“It is really nice to have someone who is a huge help in the office and in our time of need,” Stiles said. “Already, we have discussed some changes to a few of the already existing center programs.”
Story by Sam Villanueva, Staff writer.