Stephanie was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, the daughter of a bush pilot. She received her BA in Psychology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and her MS in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. During her time as a mental health professional Stephanie worked with incarcerated youth and with adults and youth on inpatient psychiatric wards and with outpatients. She also worked with Veterans suffering from psychiatric issues, including PTSD and addictions. Ten years ago Stephanie went to work at the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System in Reno. During that time she worked in leadership and managerial roles in Mental Health, Eligibility and Enrollment, Rural Health and Education. She came to VA Puget Sound Healthcare System in January of 2013 where she was in the Education Department until her selection as Fisher House Manager.
Stephanie first learned about the Fisher House program when a friend stayed at the Landstuhl Fisher House in Germany. Her friend raved about the House, the support she received and the gift it was to be able to stay at her loved one's side. When Stephanie transferred from the Reno VA to Seattle she was excited to learn that there was a Fisher House here and when the position opened she knew she had to apply. "i have loved all my VA jobs," she says. "But I found myself missing being on the front lines as I was earlier in my career. Fisher House is a place where I can use my background and education in direct service of the Veterans and their families and that is thrilling to me."
Stephanie's off duty passions will benefit Fisher House as well, particularly our gardens. Last summer she created a Community P Patch from scratch with a small group of neighbors. "I can roll some sod, I'll tell ya!" she says.
Service is a foundation of Stephanie's life. She has always found time to volunteer with organizations like Junior League, Big Brothers and Big Sisters. And Stephanie's heart for Veterans is not just based in her professional experience as her grandfathers, brother and husband all served. "My paternal grandfather was in the Army, my maternal grandfather was in the Navy. My brother was Army and my husband is a Navy Vet. The Army-Navy game is ALWAYS an opportunity for spirited family debate!"
In her spare time Stephanie likes to entertain (she claims to make a mean spinach dip), garden "in our sod-free P Patch", write and search restaurants in quest of the quintessential Tuna Melt.
Stephanie sums up her personal philosophy with this quote from author Kevin Kruse: "Life isn't about getting and having; it's about giving and being". Sounds like something Mary Poppins might have said. It certainly is a fitting motto for a Fisher House Manager. Welcome aboard, Stephanie!