Happy Tuesday, Reigners! Today we are highlighting Karissa Czepiga. Karissa and I met in graduate school at Rider University in 2009. Returning to school in the evenings while working full-time is never easy, and I was inspired that Karissa was driven by her dreams (and lots of coffee!) to work in higher ed.
One of my favorite memories of Karissa is when we each went around the class on the first day to introduce ourselves and share an unusual fact. “I am certified to artificially inseminate cows,” she announced with confidence. Nervous giggles filled the classroom as students and the professor wondered if she was kidding around. I remember that moment so clearly because I thought about how much courage it took for her to switch gears from getting a BS in Animal Science a Rutgers University to then attending graduate school to get a degree in Organizational Leadership.
Karissa is one of the most compassionate women I have ever met. Her entire life is dedicated to helping others. She is the Student Center Assistant Manager at a state university, and she is a passionate supporter of animal rescue. Karissa fosters animals and runs numerous events to help her fur friends find a forever home. Karissa embodies a spirit of gratitude, love, and positive energy. She doesn’t live by the rules of the world; rather, she is ruled by her heart, her faith, and a deep, driving desire to make our world a better place.
I am a whirlwind of energy, emotion, compassion and gratitude… and I love every minute of it. Some people say that my mind moves a mile a minute, and they are probably right. I like to think that I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve myself, improve the world and inspire people all while doing it. My Instagram and Twitter pages really describe me best…”Wife.Doggie Mommy.Animal Rescuer. Pescetarian.Country Music Aficionado.Student Affairs Prof.Avid coffee drinker and lover of all things inspiring!”
Tell us about a woman who has inspired you.
I would have to say my Aunt is a huge inspiration in my life, She is an even bigger ball of positive energy than I am. Even though she’s faced countless obstacles in her life, she always approaches life with an air of gratitude and a smile – gratitude to be alive no matter what and a smile of gratefulness. She is one of the hardest working and most compassionate people I know, always putting others before herself and never seeming to mind doing it. Her energy and enthusiasm for life, even at its most difficult moments, are both inspiring and infectious. She has always told me that as long as you are willing to work hard enough for the things you want in life, you can get them. I can only hope that I can impart the wisdom she has imparted on me on my children one day.
Describe a challenge you faced or a crossroads in your life that defined your path.
The summer before I was a sophomore in college, my parents came to me and explained that they weren’t able to pay for school anymore and that if I didn’t find a way to pay my tuition, I wouldn’t be able to return to school. This was definitely one of the most defining moments of my life, as I had to muster all the courage I could, put my big girl pants on and figure it out…and quickly. I was scared, unsure of how to even begin to go about this seemingly insurmountable task, but I knew that I had to fight for what I wanted, fight to stay in school, because it would change my life. So I worked hard, day and night, to find a solution to pay for college, and with the help of some family members, I was able to figure out how to finance my remaining years at school. This moment taught me about resiliency, that I am so much stronger than I thought I was, and to remind myself of how I rose to the challenge during that difficult period in my life whenever times get tough.
What are your favorite websites, apps, or other tech tools?
My number one favorite website is definitely www.apathwaytohope.org. It is the rescue my husband and I volunteer for and showcases so many beautiful animals in need and what you can do to help! You should check it out!
As I mentioned before I’m a huge user of social media so obviously the FB, Twitter and Instagram apps are high up there on my list. They help me share my journey, advocate for animals in need and talk about higher education. Social media can be a very influential platform when used in the right way. I also love the pic collage app, as I use it to showcase animals up for adoption or that have a Happy Tails adoption story. The ResQWalk app is also great because just by walking and using this app you can get money donated to your animal shelter/rescue of choice! How easy is that? On a personal level, I couldn’t live without my iPhone calendar. I live by what’s on there!
#countyourblessings or #itcanalwaysbeworse
What song makes you want to dance, gives you courage to face the day, or makes you feel strong?