Christine (Moulton) Pedder ’11 leads an engaged life, focusing her love and passion on her family, youth sports, education, health, nutrition and community work. Her roots were planted in Olivet long before her freshman year of college with three uncles as alumni and family ties to the MIAA. Today, Christine’s relationship with OC continues to grow, now as an alumna, advocate and supporter of the College, and during the 2020 virtual Homecoming celebration, Christine was even honored with the Young Alumni Award.
“My uncle, Rich Hamann ‘85, previously served as president of the Alumni Council, and he is very close friends with former president Don Tuski,” Christine explained. “We would visit the campus for Homecoming and spend time at the president’s house, so I already felt comfortable with Olivet before choosing a college.
“As I progressed through high school in travel soccer, it became apparent that I had the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. I went on a visit to Olivet and talked to the soccer coach and track and field coach, and I also met Joanne Williams, associate professor of journalism and mass communication. I knew that I could be a big fish in a little pond and do great things.”
And for Christine, the rest is history. She graduated in the top five of her class and was deeply involved in campus life as a three-sport student-athlete, including soccer, track and field and cheerleading. In addition, Christine was a member of the Hosford Society of Scholars and Omicron Delta Kappa, and she worked in the library and as a writing tutor. She also was active in OC’s student media, serving as editor of The Echo newspaper during her junior year and occasionally contributing to the Garfield Lake Review literary and arts journal.
“I was a journalism and mass communication major and a sport recreation management minor,” Christine said. “I spent a lot of time with Professor Williams and Nany Van Hoozier, associate professor of health and human performance. They really shaped me to follow this dream of being involved in youth sport or youth activity to some degree, while continuing on in writing.”
After graduation, Christine worked in health education in Oakland County, even serving as a race administrator of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. She was inspired to learn more about program management and attended a master’s program at the University of Michigan. It was then a spark in Christine’s mind lit — one calling her to return to academia and earn her Ph.D. While that door didn’t open right away, it was a dream Christine couldn’t ignore. In December 2020, Christine completed her Ph.D. classes and is preparing to take her qualifying exams in the coming weeks. In February, she will take a brief hiatus to welcome her second child, before jumping into her dissertation.
“Since beginning my Ph.D. studies, I was immediately immersed in a grant called Dearborn SHINES for Healthy Kids (D-SHINES),” Christine said. “It is a school-based intervention program utilizing edible school gardens as means to promote healthy eating through ‘farm-to-table’ cultivation. So far, there are 16 elementary and middle schools participating, and the program includes nutrition curriculum, classroom physical activity breaks for children and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators to help the program flourish. Dearborn is predominantly Arab-American; health disparities surrounding proper nutrition and access to physical activity opportunities exist in the population simply due to cultural differences and norms. D-SHINES helps provide students and their families with efficient and effective tools to share, even if English is not their first language.”
Community service is ingrained in Christine’s family and lifestyle. She has fond memories of sorting donated food and packing lunches with her church in high school, as well as volunteering for the Oak Chest while at Olivet. Christine’s Ph.D. studies, research experiences and volunteer work only scratch the surface of her passions. And, she’s also a high school girls’ basketball coach.
“I love being a coach and sharing a passion for the first sport I ever played,” Christine said. “My dad was my first coach when I was in fifth grade, and later in life, I coached with him for roughly eight years. I am able to give back by teaching the girls the love of the game and that there’s life outside of sports, and I think that makes me a well-rounded coach. I love a win, but a loss can teach you so much. The ideals of teamwork, communication, dedication and preparation are all developed as an athlete and applicable in other aspects of life for students.”
Christine often reflects on the choices and experiences that have led her to this stage in life. She is especially grateful to have been granted the many opportunities to pursue her passions, and she hopes to use her education and interests to one day serve as a college professor.
“My resume might look like I’m flighty and can’t stay somewhere long, but I realized where I wanted to be and what was important to me,” Christine added. “In order for that to happen, I needed to gain the experience to go and work and come back. What I’ve learned in grad school has allowed me to make even more of an impact. I hope to inspire others to always work toward what makes them happy. It’s fine to realize that your end game might require you to do something else. You might not have the dream job right away, but if you work hard and use the OC Compact to guide you, you will succeed.”
Most notably, Christine also hopes to continue as a wonderful mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend in her journey. She credits her parents, David and Yvonne Moulton, and husband, David Pedder, as well as the The University of Olivet family for always supporting her and encouraging her to work hard.
“I hope students and alumni always remember The University of Olivet and all the good it is,” Christine said. “My favorite memories are the crunchy leaves and the sun bouncing off the windows, when the College really is glowing. I think about that and I miss it. If you can’t make Homecoming, be sure to go back for something else. Attend a basketball game, order pizza from Tim’s, do something out of your comfort zone, make a new friend and most importantly, don’t forget all the good Olivet stands for.”
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.