Michelle Chin attended Southwestern Adventist University from 1986 to 1987 as a freshman communication major. Today she is the academic director at the University of Texas System’s Archer Center based in Washington D.C. Dr. Chin also holds an appointment as clinical associate professor in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is manager of the team in D.C. that coordinates with students from the University of Texas System universities who come to DC to live, learn and intern. Chin also teaches an undergraduate class on the policymaking process and works with graduate students on a variety of policy projects.
Although she was only a student at Southwestern for one year, she is the daughter of longtime SWAU math professor Watson Chin and has many fond memories.
“I remember speech class with Mr. Richard Norman, who encouraged us to be lively speakers by saying, ‘Don’t just sit there like bumps on a pickle!’ I took Probability and Statistics from my father, which was a great foundation for my graduate studies, academic work and research. When I worked as a policy advisor for Sen. John Cornyn, those basic statistical skills were really useful in helping me understand policy recommendations and claims.”
Beyond the classroom, Chin states that her work experiences at SWAU really helped her grow professionally and equipped her to work in the public relations office at Andrews University when she transferred in 1987.
Chin is quick to recognize that education goes well beyond the classroom. “Growing up in Keene, I can point to so many people at SWAU who had a positive influence on me.” She points out professors Barbara Jones and Karl Konrad who “were always so nice to me when I would run around in Scales Hall.”
One of her first jobs was working in the Adult Degree Program office with Dr. Marie Redwine, who inspired her with her calm, organized working style. In addition, Chin also worked in the Advancement office with Keith Dobbs, Bev Mendenhall and Sharon Leach, where she learned how to answer the phones in a professional manner (“How may I help you” instead of “How can I help you”), write news releases and short articles, and come up with creative ideas for telling the public about SWAU.
“These are all skills that have helped me grow professionally,” she says today. Dr. Mugur Doroftei was her violin teacher and Chin states that she enjoyed playing in the Keene Camerata. That experience and training also helped her earn an orchestra scholarship for the three years that she studied at Andrews University.
Michelle Chin was only on the Southwestern campus for one year, and studied many places after that, but she still has a place in her heart for this campus and the people who study here. She says this to students today:
“God didn’t bring you this far to leave you! If you are willing, He is able to make your life overflow with meaning, purpose and delight.”