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McMullan shows passion for others

Emerald Ridge Career Specialist serves not only in the high school, but around her community

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Emerald Ridge Career Specialist Patti McMullan smiles in front of a sunset at the beach, one of her favorite traveling destinations.

Emerald Ridge Career Specialist Patti McMullan smiles in front of a sunset at the beach, one of her favorite traveling destinations.

Courtesy of Cynthia Russell

Courtesy of Cynthia Russell

Emerald Ridge Career Specialist Patti McMullan smiles in front of a sunset at the beach, one of her favorite traveling destinations.

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“Destiny is not a matter of chance,” William Jennings Bryan wrote. “It is a matter of choice.”

Career Specialist Patti McMullan has this quote hanging on the wall of her office in the Career and Counseling Center. With all she does for the school, students and community, it’s no wonder.

McMullan didn’t become the ER Career Specialist via the traditional route, a teaching degree combined with business hours. She started off as Director of Human Resources in a corporate government company based in Tacoma, and is in the process of finishing her master’s degree online with Western Governors University.

“I was in corporate for 20 years. I was working for the government [and] was flying to DC at least once a month,” McMullan said. “I was working with a company that makes Human Resource software for the government. It was an amazing job.”

McMullan, however, had children, so the constant traveling wasn’t working with her family life. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, she knew her life was changed.

“I was actually supposed to meet with the Forest section of the Pentagon, which is in the area that was hit. And everything changed 24 hours in advance,” she said. “We had some HR issues, and – as director of HR and assistant to the CEOs – I stayed in Tacoma.”

She lost many coworkers in the destruction of 9/11, and decided that she really needed to stay home with her children. So she took a position with Good Samaritan Hospital, designing their first junior volunteer program and began work on becoming a doula.

By definition, a doula is similar to a midwife in the sense that they are with the mother during labor; however, a doula can not deliver the baby, they are only there for the mother and family as emotional support. McMullan is assisting in the delivery of a 2006 graduate’s child in the near future.

In the process of becoming a certified doula, a position opened up at ER. She became the McMullan we all know, who helps students in all matters – be it with their Culminating Project, with finding a job, or if clubs in our school or community need
the help.

“I want to help [students] plan their path, plan what they want to do after high school,” McMullan said.

There is a reason students call her McMommy; she wants each and every student to succeed, to advocate for themselves and for them to know she will be beside them. She guides students through their Post
High Plan.

Other than helping with portfolios, She and her husband own a pest control business. She and Interact and Key Club feed the homeless November through March once a month and organize clothing drives for the homeless, and she organizes College on the Hill, the weekly visitation by colleges around the country that covering every subject major. She is also an advisor in the various meanings of the word; she has an advisory, she advises Interact and Key Club, and is the Daffodil Advisor.

The beauty of my job is that I get to work with high school students, and help them plan their future”

— Career Specialist Patti McMullan

“The beauty of my job is that I get to work with high school students, and help them plan their future. [I] love that, it’s my passion. I love being able to be that liaison to our business community and bringing these opportunities to students,” McMullan said. “I’m passionate about the medical field, and I wasn’t willing to go back to school to become a nurse or doctor, but I was able to get my feelers in it by being a doula. Also, being the advisor for Interact and Key Club, I’m passionate about community service. I have the perfect scenario.”

Even with such a full plate, McMullan has made some amazing impacts on students at ER. Junior Alex Wicks was recently selected as the Lieutenant Governor of District 30 for Interact and Key Club. Senior Jaskirat Kaur is one of the many girls in the Daffodil Court guided by McMommy, and even had the opportunity to become ER’s Daffodil Princess.

The best way to describe her is like a mom.”

— Senior Jaskirat Kaur

“The best way to describe her is like a mom,” Kaur said. “She was there with chocolate when we were stressed, she was there lacing up our dresses when we couldn’t, but she was also a really great mentor. She helped us develop professional skills we may not have had, and she was really understanding. She made sure that each girl was able to put the best ‘her’ out there.”
An unknown author once wrote that “when God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go. Only one of two things will happen: either He’ll catch you when you fall, or He’ll teach you how to fly.” McMullan is there to catch students when they fall. Even if she’s not there, she’s teaching them how to spread their wings and fly.

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The student news site of Emerald Ridge High School | Puyallup, Washington
McMullan shows passion for others