By Angela Morrison
Bernadette Stunder graduated from Holy Family University in 2009 with a degree in Psychology. Eight years later, she returns to her alma mater with a master’s degree and a passion for teaching. Stunder sat down with Tri-Lite to discuss her pathway to the classroom and her memories of HFU.
What did you do after graduation and how did your experience prepare you for that?
“After Graduation in 2009 the economy was really bad, and jobs were really sparse, so I decided to go to graduate school. I’d be moving forward, instead of standing still waiting for a job, so I went to La Salle. I got my masters and that allowed me to be able to teach. I loved it here, I loved the people here. It was just the whole learning process, I really thought it was awesome and I thought ‘I gotta find a way to get back there.’”
Did you always plan on coming back to teach here?
“I hoped to. After I graduated from La Salle I put Holy Family’s website on my phone and I would check the jobs. I would apply for every job I thought I would qualify for, and then finally an adjunct opened up. It took a couple years from 2015.”
What’s it like coming back? What’s different? What’s the same?
“A lot is the same. The basic mission, how things are done, the attitude and values of the University itself are the same. I came here 10 years part-time and I thought ‘Well, I came here for 10 years and fit in. This must be a part of me by now.’”
If you could go back and give yourself advice as a student, what would it be?
“Well the advice I did give myself, I started this and I said ‘You gotta do whatever it takes,’ and that’s what I followed all the way through. I had one schedule where one class was nine in the morning and the other was six at night, which was inconvenient and just an awful schedule, but I just thought ‘Whatever it takes.’ That was just my mantra.”
What’s one of your favorite memories related to Holy Family?
“It has to be walking up on that stage and getting my degree. They do it individually, it’s not like a group thing. They call your name and you walk up, and I just never thought that I would get there. It always seemed so far away, and then when the day it happens it’s really surreal. It seems so cliche but it’s really like that.”
Any other thoughts or memories to share?
“I’ve wanted to come to Holy Family since I was young and out of school. I couldn’t go, so I sent my kids to Alpha House. When I would drop them off and be at Grant and Frankford at the corner, I would look up at a window and think ‘Man, I really want to go there.’ Then there was the first night I was enrolled in courses, 1999, I went and I looked out the window and it was the same window overlooking that intersection. I just thought ‘You made it kid! Without one grade, without one thing you made it. You made it inside.’”