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Cougar Query: "Approach old situations and challenges from new perspectives"

Name: Phillip Rash

BYU employee since: April of 2004

My job at BYU is… I am a clinical professor from Counseling and Psychological Services, so basically I’m a psychologist who has spent time providing counseling to BYU students, teaching student development classes and doing a little research. However, for the past seven years I’ve been the director of the Office of First-Year Experience. We are responsible for New Student Orientation, first-year peer mentoring and basically helping new students to make a successful transition to university life and expectations.

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Currently I’m working on… We are always working to improve the first-year experience for students and developing strategies to help all students thrive during their first year. Right now my main task is to complete a self-study of our organization in preparation for something called a unit review. Every seven years we take a look at what we are doing and how we are doing it. People from outside of our area and outside of BYU review what we are doing and make recommendations to make sure that we are doing our best to serve students.

I’m currently reading… On my nightstand right now is 1) The Gift of Imperfection by Brené Brown, 2) The Christ Who Heals by Fiona and Terryl Givens and 3) a cognitive-behavioral treatment manual for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

I get most excited about my work when… I can see the impact of what we are doing is having on students, our employees and others at the university. Work is also exciting when we can approach old situations and challenges from new perspectives. 

When I tell people I work for BYU, they often say…“Oh, what do you do with yourself all summer?” They just automatically assume that I get my summers off (which I don’t). It used to bug me. . . and if I am to be honest, it still does.

Students don’t think I notice… when they are texting or doing something besides taking notes on their laptop during class or during a meeting. I totally can – we all can!

When I have 30 minutes of free time, you can find me… I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but if I have 30 minutes of spare time I will usually spend a little of that time (not the full 30 minutes) looking at Instagram these days. Sometimes I look at pictures of food on Instagram. I am also probably thinking about food and looking up recipes.

My go-to BYU Creamery ice cream flavor is… Bishop’s Bash – it’s loaded with all kinds of chunky goodness!

My go-to comfort food is… chicken tikka masala.

My favorite quote is… “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” by Winston Churchill.

My favorite TV show growing up was… Gilligan's Island.

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