EU Alumni Perspective: Shelley (McNeil) Groves
Name: Shelley (McNeil) Groves
Graduation Year: 1993
Major: English Education/Social Sciences Education
Current Position: Vice President of Institutional Integrity and Strategic Projects at Southwestern Christian University
City and State: Oklahoma City, OK
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
Currently, I serve as Vice President of Integrity and Strategic Projects Southwestern Christian University. I have been with SCU since 2005 where I have been in a faculty role in language arts and teacher education. My new position allows me to work with a variety of projects across campus. At this time, I am working to develop new initiatives with student life and engagement. I’m really enjoying this new role because I am still able to work directly with students. I may not be in the classroom setting, but I still have many opportunities to engage and speak into this generation.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
Some of favorite memories are from classes that I had in the old Humanities hall in the barracks. The classrooms were old surgical suites with tile on the walls and a drain the floor to be able to sanitize the facility. It was a great conversation starter to say the least! But the most important memories that I made were in the relationships that I was able to form with both faculty and fellow students. Even though I graduated years ago, the friendships I have from that time in my life are still anchors that I cherish because they helped shaped me into the person I am today. Faculty members have remained mentors and people I can go to for wisdom, and that is a priceless gift.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
When I arrived on campus, I had never been to Evangel. Everything was completely new to me, but it didn’t take long to experience a peace and a place of “home.” Before coming to Evangel, I expected a calling on my life to mean full-time church ministry. When I was encouraged to follow God’s calling through education and serving in a classroom setting, it was one of the most defining moments in that stage of my life. I had sensed God calling me before this time but learning that God could use me without being a staff member at a church was empowering for me.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
I had so many opportunities to grow in and out of the classroom at Evangel. MECS (Ministry of Evangel College Students) was a big part of my life here. Through the ministry opportunities, there were a lot of ways to be involved. However, I worked behind the scenes to set up student trips and ministry appointments. Never did I think at the time that those skills would be important later on, but those learning opportunities prepared me to continue planning and sending students on ministry trips for years to come. It was even in the little details that didn’t seem important at the time that God began to show me how He can use all things to prepare us for the next step he has planned.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
My biggest challenge for students is to allow God to build your dreams. It is our job to be prepared and teachable, but don’t put God in a box. He had so much more for me than I ever would have imagined. When you put Him first, He truly will give you the desires of your heart. I believe that when we seek Him and desire His will for our lives, He plants the desires in our hearts that will lead us into the place he has designed specifically for us.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
When I look at new candidates for a position, I always hope to find a person with initiative for excellence, a teachable spirit, and a joy to serve. The willingness to keep learning is very important in the culture of our world because things are constantly changing. Having a teachable spirit and the work ethic to follow through is becoming a rare skill set. When that work ethic and teachable spirit are completed with a joyful servant’s heart, that person is priceless to any organization. Specific skills can be taught, but an attitude of joy and serving are factors that employers desire and hire.