Showing grace under pressure is business as usual for Scott Christopherson-Schorn, associate director of facility operations for the University Student Union. Grace under pressure was never more necessary than when Christopherson-Schorn found himself trapped between disasters in January.
Heavy rains caused a “water intrusion” on the Union’s first floor at the same time that a tornado warning struck the campus. “The areas I supervise were in the thick of things,” he recalls of the day when the city storm drain that runs under the USU filled to overflowing. “Our maintenance and custodial staff were on the job the minute the water started to come in. We were the first ones called and we were on the first floor just as the water was running down the hallway. We made the decision to close the building. Unfortunately, at the same time we were asking people to evacuate, a tornado warning had been announced and people were being pushed back into the building. I’m from the Midwest and I know the ideal place in this building for people to go in case of a tornado is room 100—which was just where the water was coming up out of the floor.”
It was a crisis that took money and muscle to fix. In the end, the crisis was met with the same diverse professional experience that brought Christopherson-Schorn to CSULB in 2007. Raised in River Falls, Wisconsin, the current Lakewood resident earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Superior in 1997 where his work experience began with a two-year stint in student activities. He earned his master’s in college student personnel from Ohio’s Bowling Green State University in 2001. Following completion of his master’s degree, Christopherson-Schorn held professional positions at Northern Arizona University, the University of South Dakota, the University of Wisconsin-Eau and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. When he learned of an opening at CSULB, “I thought I would give it a shot. Here I am three years later,” he said.
It was that wealth of hands-on experience that Christopherson-Schorn believes helped to bring him to CSULB. “I have always worked to better myself and I try to take advantage of opportunities to learn about other people and experiences different from my own,” he said. “I enjoy working with the students and staff in ASI and believe I would have never had these opportunities to grow personally or professionally if I had remained in Wisconsin. In fact, after making the move from UNLV to CSULB, I found I had more interaction with students in my first week on campus than I had in my entire experience at UNLV. The fit for me with the Associated Students family is just incredible.”
His skill set is as much about people as it is about pipes. “This job is about a lot more than knowing how to fix a toilet,” he explained. “It means communication and supervision and learning about personalities. I’ve learned it is important to know the people you work with. The staff and students here at CSULB are just awesome.”
Christopherson-Schorn is glad he made the choice to join CSULB. “Moving my wife and four children across the country was difficult, but coming to CSULB was the best move we’ve ever made,” he says.