Brother-sister Andrew and Shannon Edmunds credit the HEHD Living-Learning Community with helping chart the course of their careers.

Brother-sister Andrew and Shannon Edmunds credit the HEHD Living-Learning Community with helping chart the course of their careers.
Image Credit: Tim Whims

One simple conversation can change the course of your life.

During the spring of his freshman year in 2009, Andrew Edmunds ’12 (B.A.) ’14 (M.Ed.) walked into the College of Health, Education and Human Development (HEHD) Academic Advising Center for a routine visit to figure out his schedule.

As they talked, his adviser mentioned that he would make a good resident adviser (RA) for the new HEHD Living-Learning Community (LLC), a program that gives freshmen from HEHD the chance to live together and take part in personal, professional and academic development programs. The HEHD program is one of several LLCs on the Clemson campus.

Andrew took his adviser’s words to heart, and it shaped his career forever. The secondary English education major became a RA in the program for three years.

Equipped with that experience, he entered Clemson’s student affairs master’s program and became an academic adviser the College of Engineering and Science (CES) General Engineering Advising Center. His primary responsibility? Working with RISE, the CES Living-Learning Community. He graduated with his master’s degree in May and is working full-time with the center.

As an RA, Andrew developed programs for residents such as information sessions and social events, including an annual dinner with the HEHD dean. He also served a peer adviser and a point of contact for questions related to majors and classes.

Above all, he helped create an environment to foster a good transition to college – something intrinsic to the LLC model.

“LLCs are built to help students build connections with one another, with faculty and staff, and with the plethora of resources that will make their Clemson experience the best it can be,” Andrew says. “I loved being a part of that, and that’s why I chose student affairs as my career.”

Andrew isn’t the only Edmunds making a presence in the student affairs and LLC communities. Influenced in part by Andrew’s experiences, his younger sister, rising junior Shannon Edmunds, became a member of the HEHD Living-Learning Community her freshman year. The early childhood education major is now herself an RA, serving a freshmen residence hall during 2013-2014. She will follow her brother’s footsteps by serving in the HEHD LLC this year.

“I came from a small school in Florence, so the Living-Learning Community made all the difference in my freshman year,” Shannon says. “It was an tight-knit community with similar academic and personal interests, and I was close to my RA, who was also an education major, so it made the adjustment to college and classes so much quicker.”

Like Andrew, Shannon enjoys helping students navigate academics and life, and she is preparing for a career that continues that work – most likely as a guidance counselor.

“The LLC program has shaped my vision of what my career should be,” Shannon says

And for this brother-sister duo, that’s changing lives – one conversation at a time.