TORRINGTON – Although she grew up in California, Eastern Wyoming College’s new residence life coordinator has always had a special place in her heart for Wyoming.
Rebekah Wells was born and raised in rural California, where her father manages a 6,000-acre cattle ranch.
“There’s a lot of open land – we are also beekeepers,” Wells explained. “I love to backpack, hunt, fish, shoot, ride ATVs. I grew up riding horses. (My hobbies are) a lot more prominent here (in Wyoming) – it’s been kind of nice.”
Although her hometown is more than 1,000 miles away, this isn’t Wells’ first rodeo in the Cowboy State. In addition to having family in Wyoming, she’s also attended a wilderness EMT course in Lander.
“I have family out here I visited a lot. Out of all my siblings, I visited most,” Wells said. “I really love it. I always felt like it was my second home. I love the open space – it’s nice to take a deep breath and relax. The air is clean. I just have a little hidden spot in my heart for this place.”
Wells is from Porterville, Calif., but she was attending college at California State University, Fresno, when she made the decision to relocate.
“Fresno is nearly the population of Wyoming,” Wells said. “I went to junior college in my town, then went away to Fresno State. It’s only about two hours from home, but my family – we’re very home and family-oriented. It was hard not seeing my nieces and nephews every day, (as well as) my parents. That experience is something that’s definitely going to help me in this position. I had no idea the transition was going to be so different.”
Wells’ role as EWC’s residence life coordinator will include handling student records, communicating with the business office, and perhaps most importantly, interacting with students.
“I will spend a lot of time with the students, getting to know them and just try to hear them out when they want to talk about something,” Wells said. “I live in Eastern Hall, which didn’t have a residence life coordinator for awhile. They can tell me about activities or changes they want to see in the future. Listen – I try to be there and listen.”
Wells’ path to EWC is steeped in faith and began with some uncertainty.
“I feel like this is truly a path that God has put in front of me,” she said. “I was struggling a little bit with how I was going to afford school (at Fresno State), right before this opportunity came up. I went in (the interview) with a huge peace – I wasn’t super stressed.”
As fate would have it, Wells’ pastor, without knowing her plans, called her father around the time she was scheduled to be interviewed for the position at EWC. The pastor and her father ended up praying for Wells together.
“That’s what gave me the comfort,” she said. “I walked out knowing it’s God’s plan. I don’t know yet what He has in store for me here, but I’m excited to figure it out. I feel very blessed to be here.”
Wells has an associate’s degree in administration of justice from Porterville Community College and is in the process of obtaining her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Wyoming.
She officially began her duties as residence life coordinator last month.
“I hope to excel here,” she said. “I would love to get involved in the community, and I have full intentions of getting involved as I can, as well as maintaining this job.”