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Kaitlin Barker – Employee & Alumni Spotlight

Date:

Kaitlin Barker of Mount Airy has been working as a Student Success Advisor at Surry Community College since fall 2019.

She attended the Surry Early College High School from 2010 to 2015, and graduated with a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts degree. She completed a Bachelor of Arts from UNC Chapel Hill with majors in English Literature and American Studies.

While at Chapel Hill, Barker worked as a Communications Assistant in the Dean's Office. After graduating from UNC, she was employed part-time as an Administrative Assistant in SCC’s Student Services from April 2017 to October 2019.

“I came back to Surry because I remembered the impact of the teachers, mentors, and advisors I had during my time here. Bradley Arrington, Jon Thomas, and Sarah Wright are some of the people who influenced and encouraged my love of literature and words. They inspired me to follow my instincts and get a degree in what I enjoyed, even if it didn't seem like the most practical choice to me,” Barker said. “I had amazing advisors who did more than just tell me what classes to take; they were supportive and encouraging, and I knew I could turn to them for issues I was having beyond the classroom as well. Thus, I came back to Surry because I wanted to be a part of that atmosphere again, to give back to the institution that shaped me, and to be that person for other students.”

Barker looks back at her time as an SCC student with fondness.

“My favorite memory at Surry is when I had an evening British Literature class with Mr. Thomas. It was about three hours long, and only met once a week, but we had some great discussions in that course, and I discovered some of my favorite novels.”

Attending Surry Community College just makes sense, according to Barker.

“I recommend Surry to future students because, on a practical note, it's just reasonable. The switch from a high school to a college setting is abrupt and jarring for many students, and Surry gives you a place to adjust and adapt. It is an affordable way to figure out your interests and motivations, and to explore before deciding definitively on a major or career path. We have something for everyone – whether you're transferring eventually, interested in some of our technical programs, or want to go the continuing education route to do something like Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) or an Emergency Medical Training (EMT) certification. But beyond the practical aspects, when you come to Surry, you get a team of people who are all working to help you succeed. No, literally, you're assigned a Success Team of Advisors, and we will be there for you throughout the ride.”

Barker’s advice to students is to select a field that brings them joy.

“I want to tell every student that ‘it’s okay’ to not know what you're doing, or interested in. I felt so much pressure at that stage in my life, to decide on a major, decide on a career, decide on a pathway to achieve both of those things. But, I learned along the way that it's ok to take time to figure it out, to be confused, and to follow what you're passionate about, even if it seems unrealistic in terms of a career. Do what you enjoy, and the right job will come. I majored in English Literature, and somehow, I found my way to advising; it will all work out.”

Kaitlin Barker can be reached at (336) 386-3273 or bakerke@surry.edu.

– Fun Facts about Kaitlin Barker –

Mentor:

I look up to my Mom the most; she has always modeled kindness, unconditional love, and not taking life too seriously for me.

Top Three Favorite Books:

1. A Clockwork Orange

2. Lord of the Flies

3. Frankenstein

Top Three Favorite Movies/TV Shows:

1. The Handmaid's Tale

2. Friends

3. The Great British Bake Off

Top Three Favorite Phone Apps:

1. 1010!

2. YouTube

3. Spotify

Top Three Favorite Foods/Meals:

1. Pizza

2. My Great Grandma's salmon patties and creamed potatoes

3. Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Favorite Place:

The beach, any beach. Somewhere near an ocean.

Favorite Holiday:

Christmas, because I love the lights and decorations, and surprising my family with gifts.

Musical Interests:

Pop and Kpop; Taylor Swift, Halsey, BTS

Fun Trips:

I went to New York City in high school, and it was amazing! I considered moving there after college and applied to Penguin Random House publishing – I didn't get a call.

Favorite Quote/Mantra:

"One student/thing/task at a time." This statement has really helped keep me feeling sane through a crazy time. Thank you, Craig!

Pets:

A Chihuahua named Sugar, and a Shih Tzu named Otis. Otis is 2.5, Sugar is 1.5, and they get along...most of the time.

Something That Not Many People Know About Me:

I'm actually very introverted!

Hobbies:

Swimming, reading, knitting/crocheting, and painting (for the latter, not that well)

Favorite Sports Team:

Obviously, the Carolina Tar Heels!

#SurryccPride #SurryccAlumni #SurryccTransfer #SurryccSuccess

Want to Learn More?

Choosing a college is an important decision, and we’re pleased that you’re interested in Surry Community College.