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New chief of staff and vice president of administration, Myrna Hernandez, appointed

New chief of staff and vice president of administration, Myrna Hernandez, appointed

On Jan. 27, 2022, Grinnell College announced the appointment of Myrna Hernández to the role of chief of staff and vice president of administration. Hernández will be replacing Angela Voos, who is currently finishing her 10th year for the college as chief of staff and vice president for strategic initiatives.  

Hernández is currently working at the College of Wooster as the vice president of student affairs and dean of students. She also worked in a multitude of roles at DePauw University, including as the dean of students. 

According to the email announcement, Hernández’s goals at Grinnell will include working on annual and long-term plans for the College, creating more intersections in each department, facilitating connections between the community and campus and supporting equity and working on special projects.  

Hernández plans to hit the ground running when she moves in Grinnell and hopes to base her work on the relationships she forms.  

“Once I have established relationships, gotten to know people, gotten to know the culture and rhythms there [the College] and being able to help build bridges … that’s kind of a long-term thing I can see myself doing.”  

Hernández worked on a COVID-19 task force at the College of Wooster. She focused on supporting students, especially those who did not have full financial needs met or lost their jobs during the pandemic. She plans to take lessons she learned during the campus’ shutdown to Grinnell. 

“Sometimes institutions can be slow to move,” she says. “We learned in the pandemic that we can actually move faster, if we have the will or good reason.” 

As many did during the pandemic, she became intimately familiar with cooperating with other institutions during a crisis and finding solutions.  

“We’re using the science, the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, the local county health department … the lesson learned there has been grounded in the rationale and being clear on it and being able to articulate it back out to folks when decisions are made.”  

Hernández has served 20 years in higher education so far. She graduated with a degree in secondary education in Spanish and reading from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She also earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. As a first-generation college student, she says she always understood the importance of higher education and knew she would end up in the field.  

Hernández previously worked at larger public universities, as well as in other departments such as Residence Life and Student Affairs. After taking a seminar in graduate school about small colleges, she wanted to work at one someday. 

“I always had an interest in how colleges work organizationally,” she said. “I’ve got a healthy curiosity about the how the university [Grinnell College] functions, what areas work together, how we can make those systems work better for all of the constituencies of the College.”   

She also worked with Harris at DePauw University and has closely paralleled Harris’ career path.  

“President Harris does background on the faculty, and my experience on the student side make for a good partnership on the administrative level, so we’re excited to put our heads together. I’m looking forward to moving things forward at Grinnell.” 

And do not fret — after growing up in Northeast Indiana and working in Ohio, she is more than prepared for the brutal Grinnell winters.  

Hernández will assume her new position on July 1, 2022. 

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