In an email to the Macalester community on March 25, Dean of Multicultural Life Marjorie Trueblood announced the departure of Assistant Director of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center Tegra Myanna after joining the college in December 2017.
“Amidst all of the changes, I wanted to let the Macalester community know that Tegra Myanna, Assistant Director of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center has decided to move on to the next phase in their professional journey,” the email read.
Myanna will go on to be Director of LGBTQIA Resource Center at Georgia Tech. Their last day at Macalester will be April 22.
This new position at Georgia Tech provided Myanna with an opportunity to both further their career in a director-level position and focus more specifically on supporting LGBTQIA students, This is something that is difficult to do in their current position at Macalester because of the variety of programs they are tasked with, including the Cultural House, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and the Identity Collectives.
“I enjoyed managing multiple communities and the aspects of programming I was doing at the [Department of Multicultural Life],” Myanna said. “I really wanted the opportunity to narrow in the focus and do collaborative work still with other departments, while being able to center my time and a lot of my energy on the LGBT community.”
Myanna, who majored in biochemistry as an undergrad, was drawn to Georgia Tech for its STEM focus. Georgia Tech also provided a bridge between the small, liberal arts environment of Macalester and a larger research university.
“It feels like a really good bridge between, the smaller liberal arts, critically-engaged, civically-engaged campuses, and an institution that primarily focuses on STEM and technology,” Myanna said. “A lot of the focus they are doing is how to use STEM and technology to better society so they are constantly thinking about how they can change and adapt and do better. I think that bridges a lot of my interests.”
While Myanna is excited to explore new opportunities, the decision to leave was difficult, mainly because of the personal connections they’ve formed over the past two years.
“I definitely have friends at Macalester, I have friends in the DML,” Myanna said. “I think that the things that I will miss the most are just the people that are at Mac.”
Because Macalester has closed much of campus due to COVID-19, Myanna faced both personal and professional challenges they wouldn’t otherwise encounter in their departure. For one, Myanna didn’t have the opportunity to say an in-person goodbye as most work has moved to working remotely.
“[COVID-19] is impacting it [my departure] professionally, obviously, in terms of leaving a community and not actually feeling like you get to have a goodbye,” Myanna said. “Personally, it has been a roller coaster… Being flexible has been the only thing I can do to prepare myself.”
COVID-19 also creates a challenge for the search to find Myanna’s replacement due to travel and stay-at-home restrictions.
In an email to The Mac Weekly, Trueblood explained the DML’s next steps in filling the position.
“The process for beginning the next search will look the same — updating the position description, assembling a search committee, ensuring that we are posting in areas that will reach a diverse audience so that we can have a diverse candidate pool,” Trueblood wrote. “Some of the differences or challenges arise when we actually do the interviews.”
According to Trueblood, candidates will likely be unable to visit Macalester’s campus, and so the search will rely on remote interviews and communication using Zoom.
While COVID-19 is complicating the process, Trueblood is optimistic.
“There is something special about having candidates see the place in which they will work and meeting them in person,” Trueblood wrote. “Although there may be some challenges, the covid-19 pandemic is requiring us to be more creative. How we move through the search process may be different, but it will not be impossible.”