SUU to Everywhere

Brian Sperry ('14)

Brian Sperry ('14)
SUU to Leadership Educator

Originally published on December 01, 2017.

As a transfer student, Brian Sperry knew exactly what he was looking for in his next institution of higher education. After extensively researching the English programs at several universities and finding that Southern Utah University offered not only a world-class English department, but small class sizes and affordable tuition, Brian realized he had hit the jackpot.

SUU was equally lucky to have Brian as he quickly became involved on campus and made a splash in everything he was involved in. Brian was an executive council member of the Presidential Ambassadors, a Governor’s Honors Academy counselor, and president of the reason and free thinking club.

No one ever knew, but Brian managed to balance all of these extracurriculars and maintain a high enough GPA to keep his scholarship all while living out of his car for his first semester at SUU. Brian learned throughout that semester that there are always people there to support you.

“SUU is an intentional community where it is built into the culture that we take care of each other,” said Brian. “It's not a school of 80,000 students. I could ask for help and I didn’t have to feel less because I did, and more importantly, when people asked for help from me, I could give it.”

Brian also greatly benefitted from mentors like Kirk Blake, the ambassador advisor, and James Aton, a professor in the English department.

“When professors and advisors are that close to you, they actually understand who you are, and they can look into your personality and they know specifically what you need to reach your full potential and help you be the very best that you can be,” said Brian. “They consistently challenged me to be better.”

Brian came to understand at SUU that he could have this type of impact on others as well. As a GHA counselor and during a school project which involved leadership training for kids at local schools, he found great joy in the opportunities to teach kids how to be better people, how to be kind, and how to develop character.

Putting many of those skills and experiences into practice, Brian now works in Maine, on Damariscotta Lake, as a leadership school educator at Kieve-Wavus Education Incorporated, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering students to contribute positively to society by promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship through experiential education. Brian’s job involves working with middle school-aged kids and teaching them to regulate their behavior, develop healthy relationships, and connect with their environment. He is also involved in the training of seasonal educators at Kieve-Wavus.

Day-to-day, Brian finds himself canoeing to work, rock climbing, hiking and engaging in many other activities that allow him and his students to learn through memorable experiences how to be better people and better understand the world around them. Brian’s experiences at SUU and throughout his life help him connect with the kids he works within a meaningful way.

“My favorite part of my job is when I get to meet needy kids in whom I see a lot of myself,” said Brian. “While working with those kids I get to see a change in them just as others helped foster changes in me.”

Brian is grateful for the experiences he had at SUU and every day incorporates his knowledge of, and love for, experiential education.

Learn more about the English Department.