Melissa shares about her career journey, how God gave her more than she could imagine, and how NCS impacted her.
A Class of 2005 graduate of Nanaimo Christian School, Melissa (Long) Brulotte now lives with her husband in North Richland Hills, Texas, and works as the Instructor Faculty Manager for General Education Health Sciences at Western Governors University. She serves in her church nursery and adult ministry, fosters kittens for a local shelter, and has a 24/7 live stream ("Bru Cats" on YouTube). She shares about her life and how God's strength helped her to persevere and achieve her greatest accomplishment, her PhD.
1. What is your fondest memory during your time at Nanaimo Christian School?
My fondest memories are the "off-campus" activities we got to do. In 4th and 7th grade, I had Miss Ferguson, and she would take us to the forest or to the ocean to learn science on the spot where it could be observed. In high school, I went on a YWAM Mission Exposure trip, on a series of hikes including a 3-day hike on the Juan de Fuca Trail, and on a mission trip to Belize. All of those are wonderful experiences I will never forget.
2. Tell us about your work.
I am an Instructor Faculty Manager for General Education Health Sciences at Western Governors University. This is a completely online school based out of Utah, and I teach remotely from my home office in North Richland Hills, Texas. My work mainly involves leading and coaching a group of instructors that teach courses like Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and other health science courses. I use my background in science education and my Master's degree in Management and Leadership to ensure my instructors are equipped to serve our students.
3. What drew you to that field?
NCS was where I fell in love with Chemistry and Biology thanks to Mr. de Greef and Mr. Berg. Without their influence, I would have not pursued the career I love today. While I was getting my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to do undergraduate research in the field of Biochemistry, specifically studying natural DNA repair mechanisms. I decided to pursue research in graduate school and studied mitosis at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. I received my PhD from there, and also taught Biochemistry and Cell Biology as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University.
I was originally hired at Western Governors University to teach Biochemistry. I taught nurses for four years throughout the pandemic and acquired coaching and leadership skills that allowed me to pursue my promotion to a management position. I love the work of management in sculpting a healthy team culture and working as an advocate for my instructors!
4. What's one thing you're proud of?
My proudest accomplishment is receiving my PhD. There were several times that I almost quit, but God told me to persevere, and because of my obedience and His faithfulness, I achieved my dream job of teaching Biochemistry. This position requires a PhD, so I would not have received it otherwise. God gave me more than I could ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) by allowing me to work from home, which has given me multiple other opportunities to pursue hobbies and volunteer work I otherwise would not have time to pursue with a commute. He has also called me into a management position to ensure instructors are equipped to teach our students.
5. In what ways did NCS shape your character or faith?
NCS provided me the foundation for my faith by teaching me about God's Word in a huge variety of different ways. Since I was able to attend from Kindergarten through grade 12 (with the exception of grade 5), I received discipleship from a great many different teachers, each with a different way of instilling God's Word in my heart.
I can remember clear lessons from Miss Ferguson in grade 7 that taught me how to explain my testimony; from Mr. Berg in high school, who helped me think about how my beliefs related to my interest in science; and from Mr. Henderson and Mr. DeSchiffart in high school who allowed us to explore the beliefs of different religions so we were prepared to move into the "real world."
NCS was where I started recognizing my limitations as a leader and teacher. I had the opportunity to lead as the president of the student council, but ended up leaving the position halfway through grade 12 because I could not handle the responsibilities and criticism while also trying to go through the transition of leaving high school for university. This was extremely important in my character development. There were also several other "failures" I experienced in high school that ultimately lead to my success as an individual because recognizing my limitations was a huge step in recognizing my talents and skills.