60 Years of Stories! Nina Thompson
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
“I think the biggest benefit of teaching at St. Louis Community College was finding out that my primary purpose was actually to work with young adults. I knew I had a propensity for that, but I didn't know it was a calling and a purpose. I can credit STLCC with helping me tread those waters, to get in there and say, ‘This is something I think is important and is something I need to do.’”
~Nina Thompson, writing instructor, St. Louis Community College-Wildwood and St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, campus president’s office at STLCC-Wildwood, 2016-2019
Nina Thompson didn’t apply to become an instructor at St. Louis Community College. As a favor to a young person she was mentoring, Thompson placed a call to STLCC to make a professional connection. While on the phone, she shared her extensive and varied career in public relations and communications. Before the call ended, she was offered a position as a tutor in the writing lab at STLCC-Wildwood.
Soon, she was brought on to the staff of the campus president at Wildwood, working in public relations. Given her passion for working with and mentoring young adults, one of her first responsibilities in the campus president’s office was to launch the student council at the new campus.
While she enjoyed her time in public relations at STLCC, Thompson longed to get back to working more directly with students. She applied for a position at STLCC-Forest Park and was hired to work in the writing lab and as an English instructor.
“I wanted to go back into the lab and do the writing again,” Thompson said. “I wanted the student interaction. With students, there is just so much going on. They're learning, they're putting what they've learned into practice, they're planning for the future, and they’re in the midst of a lot of growth. To be influential in their lives was the most amazing thing in the world. I never said, ‘I want to be a teacher at a college or university.’ But they have been some of the most gratifying moments of my life.”
STLCC is just part of her story. Thompson has more than 30 years of experience in strategic community engagement and public relations, policy development, writing and editing. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a master’s degree in public relations, and a doctoral degree in divinity, and has worked extensively in young adult ministry.
Thompson’s writings have been featured in local, state, and national publications, and she’s written four books to help young adults manage their lives to gain the greatest impact on their futures. Now she works as the communications coordinator for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s I-270 North Project.
According to Thompson, one of the best aspects about teaching at STLCC was the autonomy, which allowed her to be creative with how she taught classes. “I was able to chart my own course, as long as my outcomes were where they needed to be. And they were. I've had students say things like, ‘What a great environment at this community college, because the place I came from, we were not taught to have emotions, and to be open.’”
“When I taught English, I would not only have students write essays but also present them,” she said. “So, I snuck in public speaking at the same time. We had some really heavy topics, so everybody was able to share their emotions and connect on a deep level. That was what I loved about STLCC. You could set your own atmosphere. The students were great to work with.”