The Residence Life staff welcomed two new village coordinators to the 2017-18 school year: Tanika Palmer and Tyler Turner. Tanika Palmer is now in charge of Allen Village and Honors Village, while Tyler Turner is head of Bray Village.
Palmer was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and attended undergrad at North Carolina Central University to receive her bachelor’s degree in English and Literature. Following that, she went to UNC Wilmington where she received her master’s degree in higher education. When asked how she ended up at Virginia Wesleyan, Palmer said that after grad school, she originally began to search for jobs of any type, but then narrowed down to ones relating to residence life and housing. She searched in the surrounding areas of North Carolina such as Maryland and Virginia. It came down to two schools, this one and another school in New Orleans.
There were many factors in her decision to move to Virginia Wesleyan. Palmer chose Virginia Wesleyan because the university was closer to her family.
“I figured to come here because my sister lives in Baltimore and my mom still lives in D.C. so I was trying to be close to my family in case there was an emergency, and New Orleans is ten or more hours away,” Palmer said.
Another factor in her move was the students and staff on campus. “When I came on campus for the first time I really liked the students and res life staff that I met. Everyone was so friendly and nice, so this in conjunction with how close to home it is influenced my decision,” Palmer said.
Despite the difference in size between Virginia Wesleyan and UNC Wilmington, Palmer was still able to find multiple similarities that has helped her feel at home. Both schools are just fifteen minutes from the beach, and they both share the same demographics in their student bodies.
Now that she oversees residence halls, Palmer reflected on when she was a student living campus during her undergrad and graduate schooling.
“I was working for housing as an assistant residence coordinator so part of the residence life staff was living on campus and being on call,” Palmer said.
Not only does she have prior experience working in residence life, but she also can relate with current students living on campus.
When asked about her favorite part about working here, Palmer said, “I would definitely say the staff; I know Virginia Wesleyan is going through huge transitions, so it’s good that we are all consistent on one base. But it is also nice and helpful to have a staff that I can come back and relate to and also laugh with. We all work well together because we all have the same vision and this goal of what we want the division of student affairs to look like.”
Tyler Turner, the new village coordinator of Bray Village, is no stranger to Virginia Wesleyan University. Turner attended school at Virginia Wesleyan and worked in the Information Technology Department over the summer after he graduated, as well as the Residence Life office. At the beginning of August, Tyler transitioned to working in Residence Life full time and became the village coordinator of Village I.
When asked how he felt about working at his alma mater Turner said, “I was nervous and excited at the same time. I thought it would be a great opportunity to still be amongst people that I already knew and also meet different people on campus. I was also more willing to work here since I already graduated here.”
Originally Turner is from Maryland, but the beach and fun campus life brought him down to Virginia Beach where he too was a student who lived on the Virginia Wesleyan campus during his four years. This means that he has an understanding of the villages as well as the atmosphere of the small student body. And with this knowledge he is able to take his own experiences into consideration as he oversees Bray Village and the freshman student body that is occupying them this 2017-2018 school year. Freshman will find comfort knowing and seeing a friendly face they can count on for guidance such as Turner’s.
When asked on why he chose to work here, Turner said, “I think just seeing the sense of community is what I took into consideration coming back on campus. Being able to be amongst a group of people and have these positive interactions – those were the best things that I have seen.”
To add to that, when asked his current favorite part about working here, he reemphasized, “It’s the positive interactions, the positive interactions I am able to have with the students and the staff.”