New RD Finds a Home Among the Cornfields

by Emma Waywood

Willets Dorm welcomed Charlotte Burcham into their hall family this year as the brand-new Resident Director (RD). She accepted the position in August 2018 and has much to offer the Cedarville community.

A former coffee barista and church planter in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Burcham heard about the job from Johnson RD Michelle Davis, who is her first cousin. Davis approached Burcham with the offer, despite the fact that Burcham was comfortable where she was in Chattanooga. After listening to her cousin and praying, Burcham realized she wanted to have opportunities to reach out to people beyond conversations in her coffee shop.

“God made it very clear that it was time to pick up and move on,” Burcham said.

Burcham graduated from Boyce College with a degree in Christian ministries and an emphasis in women’s ministries. At an early age, she had sought to relate to all different types of women, despite backgrounds and dispositions, and picked her major to match this desire. She planned her career decisions around this mindset and was convicted to seek out becoming a church planter.
Before taking the job at Cedarville, she was an active part of a brand-new church plant in Chattanooga, where she said she wore “many different hats” in the work environment; such as leading a community group, helping plan events, and acting as an assistant for the lead pastor. This, paired with her skills as both a barista and the director of operations at Plus Coffee, helped give her the skills she felt were necessary for working at Cedarville.

Despite this, after moving to Ohio, Burcham was nervous about adjusting to her new job as an RD. Willets employs 14 resident assistants (RAs), and with so many opinions at once, she wasn’t sure how well she’d get along with them. So far, however, it’s been smooth sailing for her as she learns the ins and outs of working with these women.

“It’s been really neat just to see how God has gone before me, especially with the RAs here,” Burcham said. “From day one, seeing how God prepared them for me and me for them beforehand in ways I couldn’t really imagine. … I know that Jesus is so in this, just seeing how we come together as a team.”

God’s grace and foresight has extended, not just to Burcham, but the RAs as well. They too agree that she has been a joy to work with.

“Charlotte has been such a blessing to have as an RD,” Willets RA Michaela Carpenter said. “She’s done a great job of jumping right into the Cedarville community to serve well here, and to help us serve well as RAs.”

Burcham said adjusting to life in Cedarville hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. It has been very different compared to life in Chattanooga, a more accessible, outdoorsy city in the footholds of the Tennessee mountains. Before moving, she’d spent much of her time hiking with friends, each of them picking a different trail every day and enjoying God’s creation together. She’d even walk to the store, which was right across the street from her house. The isolating cornfields of Ohio have offered a bit of a challenge for her as she soon realized her car would actually have to be put to use in order for her to get her groceries.

Despite this, she is easily figuring out her place here at this private college, so similar to her own alma mater, which is also a Christian school.

“I do miss [Chattanooga] a lot, but I also am adjusting to being here and realizing that it just looks different,” she said.

Though she continues to adapt to the college community, she enjoys every minute of it; meeting college women, she said, is an incredible joy for her. While she may have left one beautiful home behind, Burcham concluded that she has successfully found another in Cedarville.

Emma Waywood is a freshman journalism major and an arts and entertainment reporter for Cedars. She enjoys singing in Concert Chorale, watching reruns of Friends, and writing random novel ideas that never get anywhere.

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