Welcome: Brandy Burgess, Associate Director, Student Life

Student Life’s new Associate Director, Brandy Burgess, comes to Santa Fe College with some interesting Gainesville ties.

She grew up in Winter Park and attended the University of Florida for her undergraduate degree in Public Relations. She enjoys writing and is tech savvy, so she is going to produce This Week@Santa Fe starting with the Oct. 31 issue. But back to the story. She worked at UF after she got her bachelor’s from 1999-2007. Now she’s back in town as her husband Matt, who is working on his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology at UF. He grew up in Gainesville, and Brandy’s father-in-law is George Burgess, the internationally esteemed shark expert at UF. Since he catalogues every shark bite in the world, Brandy and Matt joke about how embarrassing it would be if one of them got bitten doing something risky and George had to write it up. 

Brandy enjoys the outdoors and nature activities. She’s happy to be back up in this area where there are bike trails and more of a “green” consciousness. She and Matt are big recyclers, they try to conserve energy, and they carpool, bike and take public transit when possible. They like to hike at San Felasco and ride bikes on the Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail.

Brandy has always worked in higher ed, and relishes interacting with students — and empowering them. Her last position was in the scheduling and events services department at Rollins College. She naturally migrated to student programs in Rolins’ student involvement building, “and then it just snowballed,” she said. Working with students, who are still open and flexible, gives her joy. She said she likes to lead by questioning them and enjoys seeing “ah hah” spread across their faces.

“You keep asking them questions, and they get to the answer themselves,” she said. 

She holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Rollins. She’ll be over SF’s Office of Community Engagement and Service, Student Government, and SF’s student organizations. The Leadership Institute and the Pathways to Persistence Scholars program will report to her.

When she’s not working, she said, “I’m the ‘dog mom’ of two 100-pound labradors.” She takes Baxter and George to the dog park, on dog walks, and to visit dog-friendly places, including Changing Tides inn in Madeira Beach on the Intracostal Waterway. She and Matt enjoy kayaking. 

Brandy’s office is in S-136 and her number is 381-3733.