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Jeanine Revillo-Farmer Shares Experiences that Led to Passion for Student Affairs

 _745_ Revillo-Farmer is the Student Affairs Manager at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP). Revillo-Farmer, who was born in the Philippines and has experienced living in various countries around the world, moved to the US when she was 15. Her experience and insights have impacted her view on her role and student affairs as a whole.

Revillo-Farmer was originally born in the Philippines, but moved to Japan when she turned 10. She lived in Japan for five more years where she attended an international school. When she was a sophomore in high school, her family decided to move to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she went through what she described as an “alienating” experience.

“This move (to the US) was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I felt as if I was living in a real life American movie like Mean Girls. I never thought that scenes and events in that movie were something that occurred daily in American high schools. I had never felt so foreign and isolated. At this point, I had learned to speak English without an accent; however, it still took me two years to finally feel like some part of me belonged,” said Revillo-Farmer. 

“Everything was different, the food, the people and, of course, the culture,” said Revillo-Farmer. It took until her senior year of high school to make friends and feel a sense of belonging.

“I remember this experience to be really difficult,” said Revillo-Farmer, “but also coming out the other side of it, I would not replace the life lessons I learned.” 

It has since been one of her lifetime goals to uplift, advocate, and create space for anyone that might feel marginalized, different, or misunderstood. “This experience shaped the person I am today–someone who feels equipped to hear and support others that may be going through a difficult time in their life,” Revillo-Farmer said.

“I have learned to be more compassionate, loving, and accepting of all people from all walks of life. I learned to be open-minded and to seek understanding before making any judgments. This experience changed me for the better and I am grateful for that.”

Revillo-Farmer has developed a more nuanced understanding and view of the world since she has lived in so many diverse locations. “I have come to realize and understand that no matter where you are from, each and every person is unique and should be given the opportunity to celebrate who they are,” said Revillo-Farmer. “There really is no ‘one size fits all’ country or place.” 

Revillo-Farmer’s own experiences have helped her see the benefit of living in a culturally-diverse place. “Because of the diverse nature of the US, there is such an amazing opportunity to learn and embrace so many different cultures that choose to immigrate here.”

Revillo-Farmer explained how her time living in the US, Japan, and the Philippines have helped her in her professional responsibilities. “Having grown up in a diverse, constantly changing environment, I had to learn to be very approachable and friendly and to adapt to my environment quickly. I seek to have authentic connections with students so that when they are under stress, they will feel comfortable to reach out for assistance. Being trustworthy and sincere are critical skills in becoming a true student advocate,” said Revillo-Farmer.  “I have treasured the genuine connections I have made with students and am always in awe of their strength, resilience, and grit conquering roadblocks that may be in their way.” 

While working with students, Revillo-Farmer strives to assist students in achieving their goals, especially those who may struggle with the culture shock of moving to the US or across the country. “My experiences led me straight to this career path, especially involving support for International students,” said Revillo-Farmer. “Supporting and assisting students from all walks of life is my passion–this is my ‘why’ and the main reason why I am where I am today.”

Looking to the future, Revillo-Farmer expressed her hope that universities will continue striving to incorporate diverse faculty and staff which will attract students from diverse backgrounds. “I believe that a diverse faculty, staff, and administration would be the first step to creating an open and enriching environment where students from all backgrounds can feel supported and seen,” said Revillo-Farmer. 

She added, “I believe that providing avenues for students and celebrating cultural diversity is a must in a university as it will make it a place where all students are welcome to learn and work together.”