Q&A: Get to know the Fall 2016 Resident Directors!



Communications Coordinator
Nov 18, 2016


Q&A: Get to know the Fall 2016 Resident Directors!

The Student Life team has six Residents Directors on staff. We sat down with them to get to know a little bit more about ship-life as an RD.

derekName: Derek Murakami
Hometown: Torrence, CA
Undergraduate & Graduate Institution: Colorado State University

  • What has been your favorite port so far and why?
    • Barcelona–I enjoyed the people, the food, and the city was easy to navigate.  It was just a great environment and the architecture was so amazing.
  • What’s something you wished you packed?
    • More clothes; there’s a lot of laundry to do!
  • What is your favorite part of ship life?
    • I love being around people all the time, even as an introvert.  There’s always someone to talk to or hang out with.
  • Most memorable moment so far:
    • It was so cool to be a part of such a long-standing tradition of Semester at Sea on Neptune Day.
  • Do you have a favorite part of being an RD?
    • You have built-in connections with so many students–people naturally approach us as a resource, so we get to interact with all types of personalities.

oliName: Oli Munoz
Hometown: Saginaw, Michigan
Undergraduate & Graduate Institution: Central Michigan University & Fresno State University. Currently pursuing another graduate degree at University of San Francisco  

  • What’s your favorite part of ship life?
    • Definitely having those random glances out and realizing I’m in the middle of a beautiful sea. Sometimes I’m like, “Oh, that’s right!” We’re in the middle of the ocean and that’s awesome, even when we get caught up in the day-to-day, it’s like this is still an incredible unique experience.
  • What do you miss most about home?
    • Being able to order a pizza and watch Netflix.
  • What’s your favorite part of being an RD?
    • My favorite part is seeing students develop and take on leadership roles, or share their talents. Seeing that, and being able to get people to do that is the most rewarding part, and being able to help students at a unique time in their life.

devinName: Devin Harper
Hometown: White House, TN
Undergraduate & Graduate Institution: University of Tennessee & Louisiana State University

  • What has been your favorite port so far and why?
    • The views in Santornini, Greece were amazing. But Senegal had the biggest impact on me. The way of life is not what we’re accustomed to seeing.  When you see how happy people are, despite having so little, it puts a new perspective on life.
  • What’s something you wished you packed?
    • Definitely sandals – I finally bought some, but I didn’t have any until Brazil.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • Dream job? College basketball coach…or being an astronaut would be pretty cool, too.
  • Do you have a favorite part of being an RD?
    • I get to meet students and see what they gain from this experience.  I get to see others succeed and that’s why I do this job. You see people change and you see them enjoy this experience.

korrinName: Korrin Anderson
Hometown: Onalaska, Wisconsin
Undergraduate & Graduate Institution: Millikin University & Florida International University

  • What’s something you wish you packed?
    • I had to go out and buy a Camelback pack because I forgot it. I have a lot of hikes planned and it was a critical item I forgot at home.
  • What’s your favorite hangout spot?
    • I try to go to the gym a lot. That’s my hanging out spot, what I like to do in free time, plus it’s got free views from the back of the ship. I’m still keeping my eye out for marine life.
  • What was your favorite port so far?
    • I enjoyed Italy a lot. It was all independent travel, and it was very adventurous. I went to Pompeii and climbed to the crater of Mount Vesuvius. We hiked Cinque Terre. It was fun, an active adventure with amazing food. I met some fun people, it was the first time the RDs came together and hung out.
  • What’s your most memorable moment so far?
    • It was fun to perform in the Talent Show. I performed the diva dance from The Fifth Element. I dedicated it to the Yellow Sea and hearing them cheer and feeling like I’m being vulnerable in that experience, that allowed my students to feel pride and excitement for our sea.

alexName: Alex Obed
Hometown: Ormond Beach, FL
Undergrad & Graduate Institution: University of Florida, Psychology; Bowling Green State University, Masters in College Administration; University of West Georgia, Masters in Psychology

  • Do you have a favorite hangout spot on the ship?
    • The back of Deck 7–You get a great view of the ocean, but it’s still in the shade, so it’s cooler.
  • What’s something you wished you packed?
    • More socks. A lot more socks.
  • What has been your favorite port so far and why?
    • Morocco. I finally fulfilled my dream of sleeping under the stars out in the Sahara Desert.
  • Favorite part of ship life
    • Random, amazing conversations with students all the time.

brittnayName: Brittany Gaalema
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Undergraduate & Graduate Institutions: Indiana University (Bloomington)

  • What’s your favorite hangout spot?
    • Probably the Fritz, especially on the back porch. You can see the water, but you can still do work.
  • What’s your favorite part of your job?
    • Student time. It sounds cheesy, but the students are an awkward and fun group. The ship is different than other land institutions, because by the time you’re an RD, you don’t get to spend time with students as much.
  • What has been your favorite moment so far?
    • I did a homestay in Fes, Morocco. That was a game changer–getting to fully immerse in the culture and learning more about the Muslim faith, that was really nice.
  • What’s your favorite part of ship life?
    • I like being on the ship. Don’t get me wrong, I like being on land, too. It’s the crazy views I can walk out and appreciate at any time of the day, whether that’s drinking coffee on the deck in the morning or when we leave the port and hear the horn and see us pull out, it’s a cool sight.
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