Brooklynn Armesto-Larson is the new Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Walla Walla University as of late this summer. Having studied history and social welfare, she graduated from WWU in 2016 with the intention of going to law school.
She decided to take a gap year after earning her undergrad degree while she applied to law school. During this year, she worked as a barista at Starbucks, ran CommUnity at WWU, coached the JV volleyball team, and mentored freshmen. Armesto-Larson reflected, “I put my nose to the grindstone that year as I was applying to law schools.”
Her dreams were realized when she graduated from the University of Oregon Law School and began working as a defense attorney. She practiced as a family and criminal defense attorney, making sure people were given fair trials, zealous advocacy, and support. While she loved being a practicing lawyer, last spring she felt that she needed a change. Around the same time, WWU was in need of a new Vice President of Student Life and Dean of students, and one thing led to another.
A day in the life of this superstar lady begins with taking her sweet little girl to daycare. She then finds herself in lots of meetings, helping people on campus problem-solve, reviewing and updating policies, and preparing for committee meetings, all while operating from a broad view of wanting to see the students at WWU thrive.
While talking with Armesto-Larson, I immediately felt so welcomed and comfortable. She has this inviting warmth that is perfect for someone who is in charge of student life on campus. I could sense the wisdom in her that only comes from someone who has been in your shoes before. As a graduating senior soon to be tossed into the “real world”, I asked her for advice, and she dumped golden wisdom into my lap. Here it is, and trust me, you need to hear this:
“My advice is to look at the things you love to do right now–that tells you a lot. Develop your interests because you never know where they’ll lead you. Know that it’s okay not to know your next step. It’s okay to try things. You just had 16 years of learning about yourself as a student, now you have to learn about yourself in the workplace. The adjustment of no longer being a student is hard. Don’t be afraid of the fact that not being a student feels uncomfortable––that’s normal. I didn’t know what I wanted right out of undergrad, but trying a whole bunch of different things helped me figure it out. Practice trying things–some will work, and some won’t, but you will learn what it feels like to trust yourself.”
“I’m still learning about myself; all adults are really. Don’t be afraid of the unknown––approach it with bravery and curiosity.”
Seriously, mic drop.
I and WWU as a whole are very excited to welcome Armesto-Larson to the position of Assistant Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students.