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UVU: President Astrid Tuminez uses half marathon to mentor and teach lessons

By Alessia Love - Special to the Daily Herald | Jun 25, 2022

Kennedy Evans, UVU Marketing

UVU President Astrid Tuminez runs the Drop13 half marathon with her presidential intern, Isaac Smith, in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Holladay on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

OREM — Those who spend any time with Utah Valley University President Astrid S. Tuminez know that she always carves time out to run. Running grounds her when dealing with the stresses of being president of UVU, and she often uses it as a metaphor to teach students that it takes commitment, grit and determination to achieve anything worthwhile.

On June 11, at 6:10 a.m., Tuminez put her training into action by running the 2022 “Drop13 Big Cottonwood Canyon” half marathon — but she did not face the 13.1 miles alone. She was joined by her new presidential intern, UVU senior Isaac Smith, who considers running as one of his most cherished hobbies.

“This was my 9th or 10th half marathon,” Tuminez said. “I was somewhat intimidated by the thought of running with a fast, young intern, but one of the advantages of age is that you can tell someone younger to ‘run slow’ and ‘don’t chat too much while we’re running.’ My intern, Isaac Smith, proved to be a great running companion — he paced me, encouraged me and made me feel that I had a team!”

Since running is a time of reflection for both Tuminez and Smith, most of their chatting took place in the 3:30 a.m. car ride from Provo to Big Cottonwood Canyon, the 4:30 a.m. shuttle bus from the mouth of the canyon to Solitude Ski Resort and the 5 a.m. window to stretch and wait until the race started, Smith said, but through the whole experience the two had a unique opportunity to bond as mentor and mentee.

“I think having that bonding time with President Tuminez while running was a great experience,” Smith said. “I hope I can carry that on for the rest of my career with different mentors or managers, too.”

Kennedy Evans, UVU Marketing

UVU President Astrid Tuminez runs the Drop13 half marathon with her presidential intern, Isaac Smith, in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Holladay on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

Tuminez and Smith reached the finish line at 8:24 a.m. after 2 hours and 14 minutes of running, making their average mile time 10:14. Shortly thereafter, they greeted family and members from the UVU cheer and wrestling teams who showed up to cheer them on.

“It’s inspiring to see her do stuff like this,” Smith said of Tuminez, “and [to see] how she interacted with the wrestling team or the cheer team that came to cheer her on, and even her family. It’s cool to see how big of an impact she has on UVU, the students, and the community around her.”

Smith, having started his internship just last month, is grateful for the opportunity to be in his current position. Before coming to UVU to study information systems, he spent time at two different universities — including a research-heavy university in South Korea — but he was drawn to the hands-on, experiential learning aspect of UVU. He started at the university back in 2015.

He sees himself perhaps becoming a product manager in a tech company, pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees later, and teaching at the university level when he nears or reaches retirement. But after the first month of his internship with Tuminez? Smith’s eyes have been opened to many more opportunities.

UVU’s Presidential Internship Program is housed in the Office of the President and gives ambitious students the opportunity to collaborate with UVU’s executive leadership team. Each intern works directly with a member of UVU’s cabinet to assist them in creating and carrying out high-impact projects that benefit the university.

“The internship program is a terrific example of engaged learning — of helping students get their hands dirty, exposing them to the opportunities and challenges of leadership, and drawing them deeper into the culture and ambitions of UVU,” Tuminez said. “I have high expectations of our presidential interns, now and in the future.”

To learn more about the UVU Presidential Internship Program, visit their website. Follow President Tuminez on Instagram to receive her regular updates.

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