Life is not a destination, but a journey led by emotions and a pursuit of happiness. Alumna Joelle Pedue ’16 designed her post-secondary journey to be an opportunity for exploration into the many possible areas of study for future employment.
“I was a psychology major with three minors, including gerontology, sociology, and global perspectives. It was a tough decision on what field I wanted to do. I loved all of them. I started my journey after college by volunteering at Catholic Charities with their camps for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities. I thought I wanted to work in gerontology, but when I met the kids with autism, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I worked with Autism Spectrum Consultants (ASC) for 6 years as a Registered Behavior Technician. I went to Pepperdine University and received my masters in Behavior Psychology in December 2020,” said Pedue.
Life can sometimes throw curve balls and Pedue found God has a bigger plan for her future.
“I was preparing to get my Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification to become a supervisor, however I was missing the community aspect of my job. I kept thinking of what I had at Holy Cross College and how I enjoyed putting on events and bringing people together,” notes Pedue. “ASC gave me the opportunity to run their social media and events. When I started this, I knew this was my next journey. I still help ASC with social media and events, but now I am the Marketing and Events Manager at the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.”
“As you can tell, I didn’t decide to get involved in this area. It was just time for another journey. I loved all the educational programs I was in at Holy Cross, but I think what I truly learned was bringing the community together,” continued Pedue. “At Holy Cross I was an orientation CREW leader, Entertainment Committee President, junior representative for the Student Government Association, led the Dancing with Our Stars College Edition, helped plan the sophomore retreat with Mr. Polaniecki, and created a club called SAGE (Student Ambassadors Globally Engaged), inspired by Catholic Relief Services. I thrived by putting on events and finding new creative ways to bring my peers together for the common good. I love my new job and I find the same excitement in helping bring the community together and support small businesses.”
Pedue is thankful for the many opportunities Holy Cross College gave her to be a part of so many programs and how they offered constant support along the way.
“I felt like I had a huge support system during my Holy Cross College journey. A special shoutout to Dr. Griffin (people used to say I was “Griffed” because I really enjoyed everything he taught and started to sound like him), Dr. Barlas, who supported me and helped me create my SAGE club, and big supporter Dr. Van Auken,” recalls Pedue. “Dr. Van Auken was the first person to shut down my idea of transferring when I was thinking about it during my freshman year. Thank God for her guidance. Honestly, there were many more professors and staff who impacted me at Holy Cross. I worked in the dining hall and the staff definitely encouraged me along the way. Lastly, I don’t know how I’d survive coming across the country to Indiana without my peers. My college roommate/maid of honor Kelly and my boyfriend/husband Austin were and are my biggest cheerleaders.”
The Holy Cross College experience created many memorable moments for Pedue during her time on campus. Her experience with global perspectives was an experience that changed her outlook on life.
“There are so many challenges you might have as a college student, but there are a lot bigger issues happening in the world. It helped me stay humble and think of little things I can do to help in my everyday life. Like educating my peers on recycling or Syrian refugees who were becoming our neighbors, DACA students who were our peers, and over all, loving your neighbor,” noted Pedue.
The future is bright for Pedue, and she will continue to keep her mind and heart open to new opportunities.
“I try to organize my life and make plans for my future, but in all honesty, I would’ve never guessed I would be where I am today. God has a plan for me, and I just need to trust him and his journey he has for me,” said Pedue.
Photo provided by Joelle Pedue.
Pictured is alumna Joelle Pedue ’16.