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Getting to know: Julie Graves

Human Development and Family Sciences Internship Instructor


Human Development and Family Sciences Internship Instructor Julie Graves came to the College of Public Health and Human Sciences in 2015. She previously served as a program evaluator and planner for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver; an online instructor and instructional design assistant for the University of Colorado, Boulder, Division of Independent Learning; a graduate instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Education; and a research consultant at The Gill Foundation in Denver. She earned a master’s degree in Community Consulting as well as in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?

“Actually, I identify with several professional fields – maybe this makes me an ‘interdisciplinarian?’ I began as an outdoor, experiential educator and quickly began applying those skills through adventure-based counseling. Then, I became a licensed professional counselor and did clinical psychotherapy. I went back to school and joined the field of educational psychology as a researcher and the field of higher education as an instructor. So, there’s definitely not ‘one field’ I belong to, but across all the fields I identify with. I am inspired by the learning and growing that happens within me and within those with whom I am working.”

Why did you choose to work at Oregon State?

“OSU is a dynamic and growing institution, which is appealing to me. I love that OSU is a land-grant school, with roots in the Extension philosophy of bringing the opportunity for education out into communities across the state. Plus, Corvallis seems like an up-and-coming little town, and Oregon was one of a few other states my family and I wanted to move to if we were going to leave Colorado.”

What is your favorite part about teaching HDFS?

“That’s easy – working with the students. I love accompanying them on their journey – sometimes soaring, sometimes slogging – through new information and new perspectives, toward making sense of it for themselves and deciding what actions they want to take next. I also really love designing classes that are engaging and really invite students to challenge themselves and grow.”

What do you like most about your position as HDFS internship instructor and program coordinator?

“I think I have a particularly awesome job because it combines on-campus teaching with building community partnerships for learning. My job is entirely focused on creating hands-on learning experiences for our students in actual professional settings.”

“I love accompanying students on their journey – sometimes soaring, sometimes slogging – through new information and new perspectives, toward making sense of it for themselves and deciding what actions they want to take next.”

What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment in the field of HDFS?

“I think I’ve accomplished a lot so far – such as receiving big grants, designing and leading innovative programs and doing fascinating research, but I am hoping that my greatest accomplishment is still yet to come!”

How are you going to change people’s lives with your work?

“In my primary role of instructor, my hope is to affect the lives of my students directly and then the lives of the people they touch indirectly. If I can create the potential for my students to become capable, mindful, determined people and professionals – and if they do their part by stepping up to the challenge – then many lives will be changed for the better as these students go out into the world.”

What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?

“I’m told the Buddha gave some advice that goes something like this: ‘No one will ever be more deserving of your love and compassion than you yourself.’ Unfortunately, I can’t say I got that advice directly from the source, but I have found it to be very helpful.”

What advice would you like to give to students and young alums?

“I’ll piggy back on the Buddha since I can’t beat that – please see above!”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

“I play the saxophone, and at one point in time I was actually pretty good!”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“Reading, sleeping, making lists, eating good food, hiking, meditative practice, yoga, dinking around with new apps and techy gadgets, being a learner myself, game nights with friends and just hanging out doing whatever with my life partner Kim and our two furry four-legged kids at home.”