Carrilyn Stevens Long is the director of multicultural affairs and adviser to the Black Student Union, LatinX Student Club, Thea Bowman Scholars and MOSAIC Peer Mentors at Walsh University.
She graduated from Sandy Valley High School before receiving a bachelor’s degree in family and human ecology and education from The Ohio State University. She also earned a master’s degree in social service administration from Case Western Reserve University. She will be earning a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Walden University in the fall.
She grew up in Waynesburg with seven siblings. Her parents are Eddie and Madeline Stevens. She has two children, George A. Long Jr. and Elizabeth Sharee Long (d. 1986).
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“I began working at the age of 14 as a tutor/librarian in our community’s summer enrichment program. I was a volunteer in high school as a candy striper at Aultman Hospital, Sunday school teacher and 4-H adviser,” Stevens Long said. college, I volunteered at various community events as well as tutored individuals at Scioto Village (State Juvenile Rehabilitation Center) in Columbus.”
Her career path includes kindergarten teacher, social worker and supervisor of adoption at Stark County Job and Family Services. She was also the Head Start director with Stark County Community Action Agency. From there, she began teaching in the Human Services department at Stark State College and designed/developed the curriculum for the associate degree in early childhood education. She was with Stark State College for 20 years in various roles including department chair for education, interim provost, and retired as the dean of the education and human services division.
“I was contacted by Walsh University to teach in the education division and have been at Walsh for eight years in various roles — education faculty, community liaison, coordinator of clinical and field placements, and now the director of multicultural affairs,” Stevens Long said. .
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Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from God, my family as well as from my students. I believe that God has a plan for each of our lives and His plan for me is to serve others and be an encourager.
My parents modeled serving others through their community involvement such as the American Heart Association, 4-H, Helping Hands Food Pantry, and church ministries.
Although my mom was a nurse by profession, she also served in the role of counselor to so many people in our community of Waynesburg. My father was a bricklayer and used his gifts as an entrepreneur — Stevens Upholstery.
In my role at Walsh University, the students inspire me to be a better person by listening to their thoughts, ideas, and vision for making a difference. Their voices are powerful.
Since the launch of Walsh United Against Racism, a campus-wide initiative, students have been inspired to lead some crucial conversations on diversity and inclusion, Catholic beliefs, leadership and community engagement.
What are your thoughts on earning the Mentor of the Year at Walsh University?
I am so grateful to receive this award because the students selected me and that is priceless.
I am continuously thanking God for allowing me to do His work. Each year, I pray and ask God to direct me in establishing a theme that serves as a catalyst to the programming for multicultural affairs at Walsh.
For 2022, the theme is: The Power of One: Walking in Your Purpose. As I reflected on this theme, I thought about how God blesses each one of us with special gifts. My gift is service to others.
When I was selected as the director of multicultural affairs, my first goal was to focus on the retention of our students of color by establishing positive relationships with the students and helping the students obtain their goal of graduation. I firmly believe that relationships are everything.
Our mission and vision align with the university’s strategic goal of developing a culture where students feel they belong. I have a responsibility and embrace this goal because the majority of our students are not from this community, and they want to feel they belong.
Today I can say, “Yes, I am walking in God’s purpose and using the gifts He has given me.” This award solidifies that for me.
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Would you share your philosophy on education?
It is my responsibility as an educator to find out how the student learns best and to create an environment that provides an opportunity for the student to experience success. I believe that the more success a student has in the classroom and in life, the more self-confident the individual becomes.
I use Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligence Assessment” to help each individual identify their personal learning style, which in turn helps them to be successful academically. These assessments help me design my instruction to meet the learning style needs of the students in my class.
When we find the individual’s strength and nurture the individual through support and encouragement, we have a VIP: A Very Influential Person. I also play a role in developing leaders, and by operating from a strength-based perspective, we ensure the growth of our pool of competent leaders for our community.
What are some activities you enjoy when you take some time for yourself?
When I take time for myself, I like to go for a long drive in the country and see the beautiful landscape and visit small towns.
I also like to go to the Parade of Homes or any showcase of new homes. If I was anything but an educator, I am sure I would be a custom home builder.
My grandparents designed and built their home; My parents designed and built their home, and I have been blessed to design and build two homes.
Would you share your favorite books?
One of my favorite books is the Bible because it is a book filled with so many stories about overcoming adversity, words of wisdom and encouragement, poetry, grief and victorious living.
Another book that has impacted my life is “Instinct – The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive – Entrepreneurship,” by TD Jakes. Having a business, myself, I am always looking to read books that provide me with more insight in operating your own business. In his book, the author talks about what it takes to have a successful business — understand the time commitment, be an individual who is self-motivated and have the ability to manage your employees as well as your vision.
The last book would be “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” by Ruby Payne. In her book, she stresses the importance of listening to the stories of the families we work with and their “framework” of understanding life and how they best navigate through it. Everyone is important and we have to respect and value them, while protecting our most precious gift — children.
Editor’s note: Five questions with … is a Sunday feature that showcases a member of the Stark County community. If you would like to recommend someone to participate, send an email to [email protected]