Diane Donery, Contributing writer
Brandy Ferber-Christensen has called Pierce College her home for several years. She was a Running Start student and now the program navigator for computer information systems and computer network engineering.
Her job fulfills her passion of helping others. As a program navigator, Christensen assists students with advising and additional support they might need to be successful in college.
“It’s pretty cool I can help people with a major life decision,” Christensen said.
As a Running Start student, Christensen said she was influenced early in college by what she learned in her COLLG110 class. She believes her faculty counselor adviser and College Success class instructor Terry Green was the biggest influence in shaping her career today.
Christensen said she asked Green one day how she could find a job similar to his and then she set to work.
Christensen earned her associate degree at Pierce and bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Washington. She’s also taken classes at Central Washington University in its master’s degree program for educational leadership.
As the first program navigator at the college, Christensen said it helps that she’s worked in many programs such as Running Start, student life, peer mentoring, TRIO and advising.
Anyone who enters her office in the College Center can quickly see that Christensen is a huge fan of horses. Her office space is filled with personal photos and mementos of horses, including her riding horses at various events such as parades. When asked about the photos, her eyes lit up and with a huge smile, she began to show each memento and explained the details of its significance.
“As much as I love my job at Pierce, if it included animals, it would be a huge bonus,” Christensen said.
Her interest in horses came at an early age. As a child, Christensen said she was independent and loved being outside.
Whether it was climbing trees or taming wild cats, she was always outside, Christensen said. A significant time in her life was when her family moved next door to a farm with horses and stables. She’d befriended her neighbor and began to work on the farm in exchange for horseback riding lessons.
By 12 years old, Christensen had learned to drive a tractor, truck and trailer to help with farm maintenance; she also helped with all the horses needs as well. In return, Christensen said she learned valuable life skills and it probably kept her out of trouble while growing up.
Christensen took the skills she learned and now owns four horses, one of whom is her pride and joy – a gelding she helped deliver 10 years ago. She now teaches horse riding lessons; her students include one as young as 5 years old who recently won her first place show ribbon.
“No matter your age, when you have a mutual respect with a 1,500 pound animal, it’s a pretty cool thing,” Christensen said.
Among the photos displayed in her office is one of Christensen in her wedding gown with her horse decorated next to her. There’s also one of Christensen on her horse with a gun in her hand.
“My horse was even in my wedding, and yes, that’s me with the gun on my horse,” Christensen said.
Christensen belongs to the South Sound Mounted Shooters, a riding club where members shoot guns at targets while riding their horses.
“I shoot guns off my horse,” Christensen said.
Most visitors to Christensen’s office probably wouldn’t guess that’s one of her hobbies.
“I clean up pretty good, don’t I?” Christensen said, as she lifted her flowered scarf up and ran her hand over her boots with a big smile. “I have to brush the dirt off these every morning before I come in here.”
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost