New faculty and staff share their stories

by McKinley Powers

Ahyana King: Assistant dean of intercultural student development, student life

One of the newest additions to the Whitworth faculty is Ayhana King, the assistant dean of intercultural student development. Originally from Philadelphia, King went to her undergraduate school at Messiah College in Pennsylvania and finished her degree at Walden University in Minnesota. She has a background in counseling and has worked with foster care, HIV and AIDs victims and also sexual abuse victims. She is one of five siblings and had a diverse upbringing, which she feels lead her to value diversity even more, and looks forward to being here at Whitworth, King said.

Before King came to Whitworth, she worked at Pennsylvania State University at the Brandywine campus, where she did mental health work with the students there. She realized she enjoyed this type of work and wanted to pursue it further in her career, she said.

King decided she wanted a break from counseling, which led her to apply for the job at Whitworth. As the assistant dean of intercultural student development, she feels that she can help bring a certain level of creativity to Whitworth that can be helpful in fostering cross cultural collaboration and understanding, she said.

“I look forward to being in communication and celebrating various differences and similarities that every person brings to Whitworth,” King said.

She believes that Whitworth is unique because its students are excellent leaders, and she looks forward to seeing how specifically Whitworth accomplishes this and being a part of it, she said.

Robin Henager: Visiting assistant professor of economics, school of business

Robin Henager has lived the past 20 years in a town north of Atlanta, Ga. Originally from the Tri-Cities, Henager moved to Georgia after she got a job at Lockey Martin as a financial forecast analyst after grad school.

Henager has two daughters. Her oldest daughter is currently in college back in Georgia where her husband also is, and her youngest daughter is a student here at Whitworth. Once her daughters were born, she started looking for a part time job. She then started working in a ministry that did work counseling families in finance as a non-profit organization.  She had always dreamed about being a professor at a university so she decided to go back to school and get her doctorate, she said.

With her new degree, she started teaching at a private liberal-arts college north of Atlanta and also taught and did research at the University of Atlanta. Because Henager is originally from Washington, she started to miss the Pacific Northwest, she said. When the opportunity came up to be a visiting professor at Whitworth, she decided to take it.

“By being at Whitworth, I feel that it is adding value to my life and I appreciate the community,” Henager said.

She feels that she brings experience to Whitworth because of her background in the corporate world combined with her knowledge of finance, non-profit work and also experience in ministry, she said.

“I have already experienced an enriching experience here at Whitworth, and all the faculty has treated me like family. I hope this is the feeling that continues with my time here,” Henager said.

 Monica Whitlock: Director of counseling center/assistant professor, school of ed/student life

Another addition to the Whitworth faculty team is Monica Whitlock, the director of the counseling center and assistant professor.

Originally from San Diego, Calif., she has a husband and two daughters, one of whom attends Mead High School and the other Westmont College. Because Whitlock lived in San Diego most of her life, she misses the ocean and is nervous for winter, she said.

She has been a professor in sociology, criminology, marriage and family therapy and worked in a college counseling center.

Because she teaches in the graduate program, she hopes to pass on her passion and be helpful to her students as they go off to work in different settings and become “competent and caring counselors,” she said.

“I also hope to help students get unstuck when things interfere with their plans for their lives,” Whitlock said.

Whitlock hopes that this experience here at Whitworth will involve building a strong community and that she will help students grow and learn, she said.

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