Dive in with Mrin: DOS Edition

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Dive into the lives of the three latest additions to CMC’s DOS Staff in this Edition of “Dive in with Mrin!” Jason Wimbley, Sesa Bakenra-Tikande and Brian Weir are three dynamic, motivated and high-spirited individuals whom I chatted with recently. If you haven’t had a chance to meet them yet, read on to learn more about their roles at DOS and discover some fun facts about them!

Jason Wimbley

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Jason’s Fun-Fact File:

Favorite Hobbies: Jason enjoys working out, CrossFit, reading military history, spending time with his two sons (who are 9 and 21 years old)

Fun Fact: He’s a Division-II All-American track and field athlete and loves Top Gun

Three words that describe him: Optimistic, loyal and forgiving

Biggest Pet-Peeve: Unnecessary noise

Desired Superpower: The ability to heal others

Favorite 5C Dining Hall: Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons at Harvey Mudd

Role Model: Jason said he doesn’t believe in role models because he thinks one cannot know enough about an individual at any given time to consider them a role model. However, his mother and his track coach are two of the most inspirational figures in his life.

Jason Wimbley is the Assistant Dean of Students for Conduct and Community Expectations. Born in Philadelphia to a father in the U.S. Air Force, Wimbley moved from Philadelphia, to Florida, to England, and then back to Colorado: his personal favorite and also the place he calls home. Before Wimbley joined CMC three months ago, he worked as a housing conduct coordinator for U.C. Riverside, U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Santa Cruz.

When asked what motivated him to join CMC, Wimbley shared that it was Sharon Basso. “She had a vision about being aspirational with the student population and being approachable,” he said. “When I think about this position, I think about educating, caring about each individual and working with high achieving students. I was ready for change and wanted this opportunity to step out of the normal bounds of student conduct and be creative,” Wimbley added.

The small class size and ability to have different conversations with students who aspire to be successful, are not afraid to ask questions, and are receptive to the responses to those questions compelled Wimbley to come to CMC as well. Wimbley wants to transform the way conduct is viewed at CMC and steer away from the image that violation equals punishment. Rather, he wants to enforce pro-activism, listen to both sides of a story and act as a resource for staff and students in all spheres of life. “Finding a place in my official role, breaking away from the stereotype of a punitive figure on campus and connecting with individuals has been the biggest obstacle so far,” said Wimbley. His biggest success is being able to connect with students over orientation, move-in and passing conversations. Wimbley concluded our interview by sharing that he got into this work because someone cared about him, and he wants to be that someone for others at CMC.

Śeṣa Bakenra-Tikande

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ŚeṣA’s Fun-Fact File:

Favorite Hobbies: Traditional West-African dance and drumming, reading graphic novels (“Habibi” is her favorite) and historical fiction, learning new languages, DJing, mixing music and traveling the world

Fun fact: Śeṣa was in the video “Say Yes” featuring Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams

Three words that best describe her: Creative, transformative and boundless

Biggest pet peeve: That being kind to others is not universal

Desired Superpower: The power to teleport (to get rid of those long layovers on the way to Senegal)

Favorite 5C Dining Hall: The Hoch at Harvey Mudd (but Collins Dining Hall is a close second!)

Role Model: Śeṣa’s role model is her incredible mother who, born in a segregated, low-income neighborhood in Cleveland, created her own West African dance company, ‘African Soul International.’ Her institution transformed the lives of many young individuals who did not have alternative ways to express themselves. “Because of her, I know who I am and I know what my ancestors have accomplished,” Śeṣa said. “She is living proof of the fact that the limits we place on our own destinies are just figments of our imaginations.”

Sesa Bakenra-Tikande, from Cleveland, Ohio, is the Interim Assistant Director of Student Activities and a CMC Class of 2015 graduate. Many will be surprised to hear that she was named by a Hare Krishna priest. Her name is derived from the Hindu serpent deity, ‘Nagasesa,’ who protects lord Vishnu. When asked what motivated her return to CMC, Bakenra-Tikande told us, “contributing to the development of my alma mater over time is very special to me and I feel fortunate to be able to give back in this way.” Her work in K-12 education helped her identify patterns that lead to student success in a college setting. In graduate school, she conducted research focused on culturally relevant pedagogy, which she is excited to work on at CMC.

Bakenra-Tikande’s main aim is to have positive interactions with people she meets and help them achieve their goals. So far at CMC, her biggest success is working with a senior to get Sponsored Internship Experience funding, and her biggest obstacle is the daily trek from the Senior Apartments to the Heggblade Center. When asked what she brings to CMC, she poetically responded “I bring authenticity, I bring life, I bring perspective, I bring myself.”

 

Brian Weir

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Brian’s Fun-Fact File:

Favorite Hobbies: Golfing and spending time with family

Fun fact: One can google Brian for ‘The World’s worst golf swing’: his friend used to take him to the best golf-courses and record Brian’s miserable swing. After his video being selected as the worst swing, Brian got free lessons from Phil Mickelson’s coach.

Three words that best describe him: Dedicated, loyal and honest

Biggest Pet-Peeve: People who are not sincere and honest and present themselves artificially

Desired Superpower: To always know what someone is truly thinking

Favorite 5C Dining Hall: Collins at CMC

Role Model: Brian’s father is his role model. He was a hard-worker and cared deeply about his family and other people. Weir thinks it is important to be benevolent and consider each individual’s perspective. It is very easy to address things without considering the world and his father did a great job of fighting against that.

Brian Weir, born and raised in Texas, is the Director for Public Safety at CMC. He attended Texas A&M University, which has significantly impacted his values of collaboration and community building. Brian has worked in multiple roles in the past, ranging from being a retired Air Force Veteran to a retired police sergeant. CMC’s close knit atmosphere and family-driven environment brought Brian back to his time at Texas A&M and motivated him to work here. He wants to contribute to the institutions growth from a safety and consumer-service lens. When asked what he brings to CMC, Weir shared, “I bring a safety oriented mindset with years of experience.” He hopes to use this mindset to create an environment where both those protecting and being protected are involved in safety.

Weir shares that he’s “extremely proud that students and public safety offices can be seen interacting with each other on a first name basis in passing, and believes it is really a WIN on the public safety front.” However, this has been a growth process and was initially difficult to implement as “whenever there is something new, some embrace it and others criticize it. It takes time to assimilate into a new environment,” said Weir.

While Weir is extremely satisfied with the work being put into safety at CMC, he believes CMC can continue to work on ensuring there is  “always someone looking out for someone and that no individual is ever left alone.” He cannot wait to continue working with students and staff alike to strengthen the CMC community.