Valerie is a woman of worldly involvement, and she has attended college in many countries. She was born and attended undergraduate school in Cameroon, Africa. Valerie received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Konstanz in Germany, and a Master of Arts Degree in Dispute Resolution from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She also lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone during the civil war there, and in D’Kar, Botswana in the Kalahari desert working with the San People.
Currently, she is using her expansive knowledge to make a difference for the graduate students in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department. From experience, Valerie understands the complications that come from studying in different countries, and feels fortuitous in the opportunity to truly experience diversity here. “I enjoy the diversity of not just my work, but of the institution,” she says. “I’ve been dying to find a position where I can interact with people of different backgrounds, different orientations, different languages, different ethnicities. I was lucky that I could find it here.”
As the Graduate Services Coordinator, Valerie opens her office to graduate students that need her advice and assistance. She helps them with their graduation process, and with managing conflict within the department. But Valerie also goes above and beyond her job, and creates an environment of inclusion of acceptance. “We all want the same things, regardless of where we come from,” she explains. “ We want to feel like we matter, like we’re valued. We want our idea to count. If we just give a little more effort in how we see others, it can be this way for all of us.”
Beyond the priceless work she does for the university, Valerie volunteers at the North Carolina District Criminal Court as a mediator. She also volunteers at the Catholic Francophones of Raleigh as part of the Social Justice Ministry group.
When she isn’t working or volunteering, Valerie spends time with her husband and four children. She also enjoys cooking, being with friends, traveling, and simply being around loved ones and sharing conversations with them.
Perhaps the most striking of Valerie’s qualities, though, is her compassionate stance on love. When asked what she is most looking forward to in her life, she responded by explaining the circle of love. “In the circle of love,” she says, “we are all givers and we are all receivers. When we have love, so many things can be solved, and the circle keeps turning around. It will never stop. It’s how I see my life, and it’s what I want to keep improving everyday.” Her love for her family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and graduate students shines through, and the department is excited to have her. Welcome, Valerie!
By Jasmyn Morere