Kirsten Leigh Stopher

Kirsten Leigh Stopher '12

Social work, Sociology minor

Sexual assault and human trafficking victim advocate, Crime Victim Services, Lima, Ohio

What is your favorite Bluffton memory?
My favorite Bluffton is hard to single out because I have many memories full of laughter and mischief. One of my favorites is when some of my friends and I gathered as much snow as we could collect in our coolers. We then took the coolers up to our third floor, corner room and initiated snowball fights from our dorm room windows. It was fun to hit our unsuspecting friends with snowballs but was also fun when we were caught off guard by snowballs coming back through our windows and coming in through our doorway!

What do you love about your job?
I love many things about my job, but what I love most is that I have the chance to walk from crisis to healing with people. I have the unique opportunity to see strength and resiliency in people as they deal with crisis even when they are helpless and broken. I can honestly say people often leave me in awe with their varied skills to make it through extremely difficult situations. I feel extremely blessed to be trusted by people to walk with these survivors during some of their most vulnerable times and see them overcome what has happened to them.

What is your one piece of advice to an incoming Bluffton student?
My advice to an incoming Bluffton student is to take your studies seriously enough to succeed but to refrain from taking yourself so seriously that there is no room to grow and experience new things.

How did Bluffton prepare you for what you are doing?
Bluffton provided a space for me to begin the journey of learning who the best me is. At Bluffton I learned to be a better social worker and I use those skills everyday as a sexual assault and human trafficking victim advocate. My time at Bluffton also taught me more about what it means to care for people and I used those attributes everyday while living and volunteering in a homeless shelter during my time of voluntary service in France directly after graduating from Bluffton.

What faculty member was particularly influential and how?
Jim Satterwhite. (emeritus professor of history) He took me on as part of an independent study, let me bring my class time to his home, and he told great jokes! Jim's amazingly sharp mind, plethora of knowledge and world experiences kept me intimidated enough to do my homework each week, but also left me yearning to learn and experience more!

How do you see your Bluffton experience helping you to reach your career goals, and what are they?
My current career goals include being passionate about what I do and knowing that I am making a difference in the work I am doing. The connections I made while I was at Bluffton have allowed me to obtain a job where I am able to positively affect people's lives in ways I never imagined to be possible.

June 2014