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Meet a Colleague: Chrissy Van Assendelft Chrissy Van Assendelft serves as an ITS business analyst.

Chrissy-van-Assendelft-scaled-600x400 Meet a Colleague: Chrissy Van AssendelftChrissy van Assendelft, ITS business analyst

Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
I started part-time in 2015 and went full-time in 2017.

Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
I love running – back campus trails and Woods Creek Trail are pretty awesome year-round. I enjoy the gazebo and trails out towards the Outing Club barn. I love the changing leaves on the front lawn in the fall; all of the perennial beds around the academic buildings in the spring; the walk up the hill from the law school to the facilities building – just a dip into nature with all the squirrels and deer. More recently, I’ve enjoyed the climbing wall for the faculty-staff climb during lunch.

Q. Where did you grow up?
On a small, 40-acre farm in a tiny place called Keezletown, Virginia with my six siblings. It’s just outside of Harrisonburg – the undeveloped backside of the Massanutten. We didn’t have a TV, which probably helped develop my love of books and the outdoors.

Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I blindly joined the Army before just before college graduation in 2001 – on delayed entry (don’t leave for basic training immediately; I did drill once a month while working on the family farm through the summer). The day before I left for basic training was 9/11. Anything I thought my enlistment might be was wildly different than my Army band recruiter could have prepared me for. I realized most battles aren’t fought by the people on the ground for ideological reasons (I certainly wasn’t looking for weapons of mass destruction), it’s as simple as the life of the person to your right and left, and they do that in return. Outside of close family, I don’t know that I have ever found that kind of trust, love and “I’d-take-a-bullet-for-you” bond. This is all followed closely by marrying my husband, becoming his adventure racing partner and a step-parent. That adventure has had a lot more smiles.

Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I don’t have a single favorite. Outdoors and enjoying what that season offers is the common theme. Landscape stuff around our place and hikes in the spring to take in all the flowers. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding on the Maury in the summer – or early morning bikes on the parkway. I usually take the afternoons off work the week before fall time change and do a series of fall hikes. I also love it when the parkway is closed for snow/ice in the winter and we can go up and explore alone on foot.

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
I think I’m there! After the Army, the decision to come back to the Shenandoah Valley was an easy one. We live in a pretty amazing place. The doors opened on the plane after my deployment to Iraq and my first thought of the humid air entering the plane was … that it smells like life. The valley has abundantly growing vegetation and that’s an awesome place to start.

Q. Who most inspires you?
We host TransAmerican bicycle riders (they cross the 48-contiguous states starting in York, Virginia and ending in Astoria, Oregon). Cyclists geek out and tell us what they are passionate about or something about their journey. Everyone is riding for a different reason. Sometimes they are alone, other times they are with strangers or friends/family. It’s really a lesson in that big things are tackled in small chunks, one pedal stroke at a time. People really do have more in common with each other than social media would lead you to believe.

Q. Favorite book?
Hands down it is “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown. It is a re-telling of the 1936 U.S. Olympic men’s rowing team’s journey. For those who love movies, George Clooney is currently directing an adaptation of the book at present, but I don’t know when it will be out.

Q. What is the website you visit most often and why?
Weather Underground so I know what clothes to set out for running the night before.

Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Probably some just-starting-out actress on a no-budget indie film.

Q. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I like history, but it comes with the stains of the time-period. If I had to choose one group it would be the Quakers because of their tolerance and love of nature.

Q. If you could have coffee with one person, who would it be?
I’m not a coffee fan so maybe breakfast? My interests have changed over time, and there are quite a few people that I’d love to have a conversation with: mom, great-uncle John, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John McCain, Laura Ingles Wilder, Amelia Earhart, etc). I think it would just leave me with more questions afterwards. I think I’m pretty happy with my current breakfast companion, my husband, Dirk (also works in ITS at W&L). He’s a pretty rad human.

Q. What is your desert island food?
With all the insane food allergies I contracted two years ago, I would choose veggies and hummus. Without allergies it would be bacon.

Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I am a dairy science graduate from Virginia Tech. One of my professors is the father of my now boss, David Saacke. The world really is a small place.

Q. What is your secret talent?
Reading topographical maps … or at least the talent works some of the time when Dirk and I are racing.