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Meet a Colleague: Ronda Bryant Ronda Bryant serves as associate dean of students.

Ronda-Bryant-scaled-600x400 Meet a Colleague: Ronda BryantRonda Bryant, associate dean of students

Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
I came to W&L in September 2021.

Q. What do you like most about working at W&L?
The students are amazing! I have enjoyed engaging with them and watching them excel in and out of the classroom. My colleagues are great to work with as well.

Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
I LOVE going to the lawn area for commencement and convocation. I like to stand outside Washington Hall to watch the ceremonies. (A close second would be the fitness center.)

Q. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kinston, in eastern North Carolina. My parents, grandmother, siblings and their families are still there, and I visit often. We are a small town not known for much outside of high school sports like basketball. If I can brag on my younger siblings for a second, they are high school track coaches and doing some great things for the kids there.

Q. What advice do you have for students?
A few things: 1) I am always reminding students to not be too proud to access resources and ask for help. 2) As parents/guardians/supporters we sometimes are prompted to take away difficult situations when it may be better in the long run to support our loved ones in navigating those tough times. We can learn and grow from what we go through, even if it’s unpleasant. Let’s equip students to do the hard things.

Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I competed in bodybuilding shows a few years ago. I’d say that’s pretty bold for someone who does not necessarily enjoy the spotlight. And, it required discipline I never knew I had in me! Competing in those shows, I felt vulnerable and free at the same time.

Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Exercise! I like to do my own personal exercise, but I am also a dance fitness instructor. I have been teaching Zumba fitness since 2011 and I teach during evenings and on weekends. I even teach a virtual class! It’s literally the best side hustle ever, and I enjoy helping people from all backgrounds move together in a judgment-free environment. Since coming to W&L, I have done classes for student organizations, a sorority, an athletic team and a couple of pop-up classes through Campus Recreation.

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
Pretty much anywhere warm, with a pretty view and proximity to a beach.

Q. What book are you reading now?
I just finished the “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler and am about to start “Dysfunction Junction” by Robin Pearson. Lately, reading fiction is a change for me because normally I am drawn to biographies.

Q. What music are you listening to these days?
I listen to lots of music because the fitness classes I teach are music based. I use a lot of Latin, African and Caribbean music in my Zumba classes in addition to more popular genres. When I am not listening for that purpose, I enjoy really good vocalists. Samara Joy (McLendon) is a younger jazz artist I have been listening to lately. Her voice is like a salve. I am hoping to hear her live soon.

Q. What is your favorite film (movie) of all time?
This is a tough one! I would say “Cooley High.” It’s an oldie but goodie. Movies about friendships are my favorite.

Q. What is the website you visit most often and why?
It MUST be OKTA. All my work apps are there!

Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
I think Danai Gurira. The fierceness and vulnerability she displayed in the “Black Panther” movies is admirable, and in those movies she was beautifully bald, which I certainly connect with!

Q. Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?
Ruby Bridges. As a young girl, I can’t imagine she realized she was making history (and risking her safety) by doing something as normal as going to school.

Q. If you could have coffee with one person, who would it be and why?
I have so many questions for Tina Turner. She had an interesting life and amazing career. And she was tough. So I would want to have tea with her.

Q. What is your desert island food?
Probably some kind of fruit – mango, pineapple or banana. Or maybe sweet potato – I could eat that every day!

Q. What is your secret talent?
I can sleep with my eyes open.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
I am hoping to learn how to knit or crochet, or do something with fibers. It’s been on my to-do list for about a year, and I want to start this summer. I admire people who can do that, and my friends and colleagues who do it say it’s soothing.