Alumni Spotlight: Taryn Johnson

Taryn and her husband Michael

Taryn attended Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie. After graduating in 2010, she became a Sooner at the University of Oklahoma and studied Multidisciplinary Studies—Nonprofit Management. She is now back in Oregon, newly married and working for Oregon Health and Science University, Gather Event Planning and is a volunteer for Make-A-Wish Oregon and of course, OASC.

Taryn and her JC David at OASC Summer Leadership Camp

Taryn calls herself a ‘late bloomer’ in OASC. After attending her first Fall Conference during her junior year of high school, she went to every OASC event she could, including the 2009 National Conference. She has since returned as a counselor and volunteer at multiple events.

Taryn continues to return to OASC because in her own words, “there is no place like OASC.”

“Even as an adult, coming back and witnessing these events leaves me speechless. Nowhere else can you find a more diverse, loving, and selfless group. When I talk to others about the importance of OASC, I always find myself saying, “There’s a place for everyone; everyone belongs.”

Taryn and her husband Michael

It’s important to Taryn that Oregon students belong in their environment. If she could teach students anything, it would be acceptance.

“I would teach students to not only accept each other’s differences, but to embrace them. We are surrounded by so many beautiful and unique individuals; it’s always worth the time to get to know one another. A realization I’ve had on numerous occasions is that we often confuse misunderstanding with dislike – we’re quick to say we dislike someone before we’ve made an effort to understand them.”

Taryn with fellow OASCers at her wedding in March 2016

One way OASC teaches understanding is through Boundary Breaking—which is Taryn’s favorite part about OASC.

“[It’s] touching to see students quiet down and really listen to each other. Nothing [can] bring a group together faster. And the connections made during this time are indescribable.”

OASC Offers free resources like Boundary Breaking to students and advisers on the OASC website. You can find more here.