Angela Long has a history of having things explode on her — in a good way. She takes a challenge on a lark, and the next thing she knows, she has a new path in life. It is a technique that has taken her from her early days growing up in Oregon to her current position as Coordinator for Student Leadership & Activities here at Santa Fe.
Long took residence in Building S in fall 2008 and her office quickly became the new hangout in Student Life. Students are either there in need of her help, or just looking for a welcoming place to spend some time. She regularly walks out of her empty office to get the mail and returns to find seven students waiting, but that is fine by Long.
“They are the highlight of what I do,” she said. “Some start feeling like cousins.”
Long grew up in Roseburg, Ore., and did not plan on attending college right after high school. On a whim, she signed up for a contest in journalism skills. Though she had never written as a journalist, she wrote an article, won, and got a scholarship. Not wanting to waste the scholarship, she enrolled in Umpqua Community College, but with some trepidation; she expected community college to be 13th grade. Instead, Long found it was very different and loved the environment.
In another capricious mood, Long gave track and field a try. Once again, she excelled and another scholarship came her way. She still holds the school record for the hammer throw.
Inspired by her experience at her community college, she decided to major in education and received a masters in School Counseling and Consultation. While working on her MA at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore., her dean suggested a doctoral program that was designed not for regular students, but rather for governors and high-ranking executives. Long ended up getting a Doctorate of Education degree in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University, in 2004 while still in her mid 20s.
“I wanted to get my education as far as I could as fast as I could,” she explained.
Her thesis paper, “Community College Attrition of GED Certificate Holders and Regular High School Graduates: A Comparative Study using National BPS Data,” has been published nationally and Long has flown about the country speaking on the subject before audiences such as the Oregon State Board of Education and the Florida Association of Community Colleges.
After graduation, she moved to Gainesville as her brother was studying orthodontics at UF. Her parents still live in Oregon but now spend several months each year in Florida. Long had investigated working for Santa Fe prior to her move to Florida. She started out teaching fifth graders for a year and a half at Hidden Oak Elementary School before achieving her goal of working at Santa Fe.
“It’s a classy school,” Long says. “It’s full of palm trees and sunshine.”
Long began her SF career as an adjunct and conducted classes in “Teaching Diverse Populations,” and “Introduction to Education,” before being hired as a coordinator in Student Affairs.
Her workload gives her lots of time on campus to enjoy the scenery. Between her regular job duties and meeting with all the student organizations, she is often here well into the evening. She said one of her greatest challenges is “balancing the workload and time schedule without having a heart attack.”
Long spends the bulk of her time advising, but is in charge of the clubs and is the Student Government advisor. This works perfectly as her favorite things are students and travelling with them.
When free time makes its rare appearance, Long heads to the beach, Saint Augustine, or Disney, where she has an annual pass. Her favorite theme park is Animal Kingdom. She also spends as much time as she can outdoors. In Oregon she was an avid white-water rafter and loved to hit class 5 runs with names like “Frogger,” “Toilet Bowl,” and “Cardiac Arrest.” Here in Florida she spends a lot of time camping.
When actually at home, she enjoys cooking, baking and hanging out with her cat, “Daisy,” and a dove named “Coconut Rose,” whom she hatched from an egg.
Now that Long is firmly entrenched at Santa Fe, she hopes to focus in on retention and plans to work with upper administration in promoting student leadership.
~ This profile was written by David Hackett, Communication Specialist, College Relations