Jan. 14, 2022
Thinking of hitting the refresh button? Here’s how members of the VCU community took their lives in new directions.
Following their hearts and passions led these students, faculty, staff members and graduates to make big changes, from switching majors to starting new careers.
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Change is part of life, but it’s not something everyone embraces. Making a fresh start doesn’t have to be scary. It can lead to personal growth and fulfillment that’s well worth the challenges. That’s what these five members of the Virginia Commonwealth University community have discovered after changing direction.
Jessica Seppi: From studying broadcast journalism to statistics (and from JMU to VCU)
Once she transferred to VCU her sophomore year, Seppi took a required introduction to statistics class and fell in love with a whole new field, leading her to switch majors.
Joe Cates: From chef to professor
Cates spent the first part of his professional life as a chef and restauranteur before a stint in rehab helped put him on a different path. He’s taught in VCU’s Focused Inquiry program since 2007.
Tim Chavous: From football coach to academic adviser
After achieving his goal of becoming a college football coach, Chavous moved from the field to the classroom and is now a student success adviser at VCU’s School of Social Work.
Aubrey Moog-Ayers: From the film industry to social studies teacher
After college, Moog-Ayers moved to Los Angeles to work in film but soon realized the industry wasn’t a good fit with the life she wanted outside of work, including having a family. VCU’s Pathways to Teaching: Career Switchers program helped her start a new career as a high school social studies teacher.
Hikisha Harris: From breast cancer patient to chaplain
Harris, a VCU graduate, was undergoing treatment for breast cancer when she met Jim Bonomo, a chaplain at VCU Massey Cancer Center. The encounter inspired her to return to school for a master’s degree in divinity and to become a chaplain herself.
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