“Q&A with…” is a series dedicated to introducing staff members to the Oberlin community. We are highlighting one staff member each week. Is there someone you’d like to nominate? Please get in touch.
Donna Russell, assistant dean for student support services, works in the Academic Advising Resource Center. There, Russell works collaboratively with staff and faculty to inform students of available resources and provides support to foster academic success. She also knows the best time to avoid the crowds in Philips Physical Education Center.
Get to know more about Russell in this Q&A.
Describe your role in six words.
Listening is essential for advising students.
Where did you grow up?
Uniondale, New York
What was your favorite class in college or school?
My favorite class in college was Introduction to Caribbean Studies. I loved learning about my heritage in an academic context. I changed my major to black studies because of that class.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is Philips before 7 a.m. It's free, and there are very few people in the gym that early. Another reason the gym is dear to my heart is that in 2016, I reached a fitness milestone there when Betsy Bruce, former director of recreation and club sports, taught me how to swim.
What’s the best advice someone gave you?
Sometimes, you can't control what happens to you. What's important is how you react, your journey to recovery, and what you've learned.
What's a word or expression that makes you laugh?
Eighty percent of the expressions my 13 year-old son says are hilarious. Teenage boys without a filter share weird and ridiculous thoughts. It's fun to view the world through his eyes and experiences.