Many know her as a colleague, others know her as a friend, but one student refers to her as “Mom”.
“Martha is the most compassionate, kind and friendly person I’ve ever met,” Riley Rasmussen said. “She has a heart for people, and it shows when you first meet her.”
Martha Draayer, a Northwestern alumni from the class of ’09, recently took on the role of Director of the Intercultural Department that was once filled by Rahn Franklin. Franklin, a respected and favored facility member, accepted the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota
“Rahn is fantastic and is one of my colleagues who taught me a lot last year,” Draayer said. “When he took a new position, there was an opening here. He encouraged me to apply because he saw characteristics of leadership skills that I would do well in this position.”
After taking a leap of faith, Draayer applied for the position after being drawn for many reasons, one of them being able to work with under voiced minority students and support them. Shortly after, an announcement was sent out to facility and Raiders from Julie Elliott, Vice President of Student Life.
“I am pleased to share the news that Martha Draayer ’09 will be transitioning from her current role in campus ministry as Hispanic Community Liaison into a new role in student life as Director of Intercultural Development,” Elliott said.
Elliott expressed how she feels Draayer will do in this position.
“Martha is an ideal person for this role,” Elliott said. “She cares deeply for students, is a wonderful listener and embodies integrity, faithfulness and leadership. Even before taking on this role, she had earned the trust of many students. That trust is now shared by many more. I also think there is great synergy between her community liaison work and her student development work.”
Draayer is incredibly excited to take on this title, although it is a different atmosphere than she was used to. She used to be a preschool teacher, and the transition from preschoolers to college students was very intimidating, but she now loves it. Most college students look to faculty for answers, and she believes she has some experience but there is always room to grow. “I can’t wait to continue to learn and grow alongside my students in my new position,” Draayer said.
Being the Director of the Intercultural Department, Draayer will lead the Bridge Scholars Program and provide student development support for domestic students of color. She will also partner with Dr. Val Stokes to provide campus-wide diversity leadership. Draayer hopes to incorporate her dreams with NW’s dreams to create a community of belonging for every individual. For Draayer, this means using how she interprets the gospel in her interactions with work, her students, colleagues and the community.
Draayer is looking forward to influencing all of NW’s leadership, staff and facility to expand their perspective in their world view.
“I want to influence the campus more as to how we can see God more through our differences,” Draayer said.
She anticipates expanding the department and bring in more individuals who can support the vision of diversity on campus. Currently, the department is an office of two as Draayer joins Kevin McMahan, and she would love to see it grow to support more students with more services.