By Jordan Haney
CLEVELAND, Ga. – Almost every Truett McConnell University (TMU) student is familiar with the email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, but just who is this A. Hayes? The mysterious email belongs to Mrs. Amy Hayes, TMU Coordinator of Online Learning, or as she jokingly stated, the “C.O.O.L.”
Growing up, Hayes did not live in a Christian household. “I started building a relationship with God and was saved as a junior in high school. I was baptized the week before I graduated from high school.”
Throughout the years after graduation, Hayes said, “I stepped away from my faith a few times and, while I couldn’t be ‘resaved’ since I was already saved, I definitely had an up and down relationship with Christ.” Hope was not lost, however, and Hayes made a choice to follow God. “I think a lot of my experiences [before my salvation] made me realize that I needed a relationship with Him.”
Choosing the right path
Hayes had big plans for her future, however, working for a Baptist university was not part of those plans. She laughed about her early career dreams saying, “I never envisioned myself having the job I do now. In high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and then I took AP biology and made my first C, so becoming a veterinarian was out.”
After deciding to forego a career in veterinary medicine, Hayes reached for the stars, quite literally. “In my senior year of high school, I took an astronomy class at Fernbank Science Center and decided to become an astronomy professor.”
Upon graduation, Hayes went to Stetson University in Florida, where her plans to pursue a degree in astronomy quickly changed. The school did not offer an astronomy degree, so she chose to earn a B.S. in Physics.
Four years later, Hayes decided to continue her education by pursuing her doctorate. “I started at Georgia State University in their Astronomy PhD program and realized, after about six months, I did not want to do that.” Hayes recognized the other students had something she didn’t – a passion for astronomy.
“I also realized that there were no jobs available for astronomy majors. Despite the speedbump, she refused to give up. “I really enjoyed teaching undergraduate astronomy labs so I transitioned to a Master of Education degree.”
Hayes did not spend her whole life in Georgia. In fact, God led her to Chicago during college, where she completed an internship at Argon National Labs and later became a high school teacher for five years.
She eventually returned to her home in Georgia. The separation from her family deemed too much for the young teacher. “Two weeks after I began my new teaching job in Georgia, I met my husband. We were both physics teachers in side by side classrooms.”
A “cool” but unexpected job
Her latest teaching job, prior to TMU, was over forty-five minutes from her home. “I also had a toddler and I wanted to get closer to home. I knew people who worked at TMU — they had an Online Technologist job that had been posted as part-time and then, all of a sudden, it was posted as full-time. I applied, got the job, and have been at Truett McConnell just over two years.”
The “C.O.O.L.”, as she calls herself, has many responsibilities at TMU, but her primary function is system administrator for the Brightspace Online Platform. She collaborates with faculty to create online classes and enters students and instructors into each class in Brightspace.
“I help the deans assign instructors and work with the online professors to help them with whatever they need,” she explains. Hayes also provides online technical support and materials for students and training for the online classroom. In addition to her administrative duties, she teaches Investigating Issues in Education, Physics l, and Physical Science for Education majors.
“Being able to serve people is honestly the best part about my job,” she shared. “I like to be able to provide timely solutions and show people how to do things on their own and teach them that, ‘Hey, you can do this!’ I love feeling like I am able to serve multiple types of people: students, instructors and parents.”
A testimony to remember
As a professor, Hayes emphasizes to her students that “if your faith is important to you, you need to be in a community where it is also important.”
Elaborating from her own life experiences, she said, “I know that if you move outside that community, you will reprioritize things and you will not reprioritize them the right way. You will find other things become more important than your relationship with God.”
Today, Hayes, her husband Alan, and their 6-year-old son Eli reside in Habersham County with their thirteen-year-old dog, Zoey, and a rescued four-month-old kitten named Ava.
“I think God brought me to TMU where there are people that can help me be accountable for my faith,” she says. “Being surrounded by people who are very comfortable talking about their faith is wonderful.”
Jordan is a senior Business Administration major and Intern for the TMU Communication Department.Return to News Archive