Staff Spotlight: Chris Lemmons
International Student Life Administrator
Would you please tell us about your educational background and your work experiences before coming to the OIA?
I came to Tech in 2004 and changed my major four times because I just enjoy learning. I finally decided on History because I love to learn people's stories, and I minored in Education because I was drawn to teaching. After graduating from Tech in 2009, I taught World Geography at Lubbock High for three years. It was there that I really fell in love with learning about other cultures and the melding of histories. I had the opportunity to teach about every corner of the earth, and I enjoyed learning about all of it. While in college, I lived with six different international students, so I brought their stories into my teaching and quickly discovered that my students were fascinated by these stories from other cultures.
When given the opportunity, I came back to Texas Tech to teach world cultures in the K-12 Global Education Outreach Division within the Office of International Affairs. It was here that I was able to meet more international students and learn about their lives. We frequently invited international students to come teach our K-12 students, and I loved the ways in which these international students interacted with our West Texas students. So when I was asked to participate in an international student trip to Palo Duro during Spring Break, I jumped at the chance. During this amazing trip I witnessed "world peace" take place in the vast canyons of Texas, and I only wish that everyone could experience such profoundly open-hearted exchanges with people from around the world.
What made you want to switch from a teaching career to a career working with international students?
I am still a teacher at heart. I wanted to be the International Student Life Administrator because it would afford me the opportunity to be a part of expanding the international community. I have been blessed by numerous friendships with people from around the world, and they have taught me so much. We have the opportunity, at Tech, to share our southern hospitality with the world and to learn about the rest of the world from our amazing international students. What more could a teacher ask for?
What do you anticipate will be the most challenging part of your new job? The most rewarding part?
I foresee that I will find it difficult not being able to speak personally with all 2,400+ of our international students. I will wonder what story and life lesson I am missing out on!
I believe that the most rewarding parts of my job will be witnessing the relationships between the various international students from around the world--proof that people enjoy each other no matter the differences--and observing the ways that our international students adapt to and assimilate various aspects of Texas culture. Texas Tech is the catalyst for this unique amalgamation of international perspectives and West Texas cultural mores, and I am very excited to be a part of it.
Would you tell us a bit about your family and any hobbies that you might have?
I have an awesome wife, Jessica. We have been married for four years, and every day with her is a joy and an adventure. We love to travel and share life together. We have a nine-month old son, Gage. He is such a delight to watch. He is very energetic and is already a good listener, as long as he does not have to sit still while you talk.
I grew up playing sports, football, basketball, baseball, and track. I love any kind of sport. I enjoy walking through parks and climbing trees and being outside in general. I fell in love with backpacking in college, and search for any reason to get to go. I really enjoy talking to people, one-on-one or as a group over coffee. I am fascinated by people and their stories.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role as International Student Retention Administrator?
I believe that my new role is going to present the opportunity to experience life to the full. I cannot imagine a better way to spend my time than meeting people from around the world and having the privilege of introducing them (and their cultures) to other international and domestic students at Texas Tech. I really think that Tech is offering a glimpse of what our world needs as we become increasingly globalized. Everyone has something to share, and I am glad I get the opportunity to be a part of it.
Chris Lemmons on a Spring Break trip to Palo Duro Canyon with international students
(Chris is seated on the far right, second row from front)