Family, history helped bring Trisha Boyle back to Stevens County
MORRIS – Trisha Boyle’s path back to Morris at a job with the Stevens County Historical Society has been a series of circles, opportunities looping back on one another to lead her towards what many would consider a nontraditional career trajectory.
But these chances have been tied together by her interest in learning, storytelling and community.
Boyle grew up in the Morris area and graduated from Morris Area High School in 1995. While a student, she was an active member of the “Pep and Progress” 4-H club.
After graduation, Boyle attended the College of St. Benedict where she took a meandering path towards a degree, spending time traveling and exploring her academic interests across disciplines before pursuing a degree in liberal studies.
“It was fantastic because I was able to blend a lot of my interest areas,” said Boyle. “I am interested in nearly, not everything, but nearly everything. I was able to take my interest in child and youth development, in psychology, in pre-law and combine those in a liberal studies degree.”
“Some individuals would say I’ve had a very nontraditional path, but I’m okay with that because I still have traditions that are important to me even if my path may seem nontraditional,” she continued.
Before finishing her degree in 2006, Boyle spent time working for a number of youth development organizations in and around the St. Cloud area, beginning with an AmeriCorps position at the Southside Boys and Girls Club.
“It really opened my eyes and broadened my horizons,” said Boyle. “I really felt like through my experience through the Southside Boys and Girls Club I became a lot more connected and engaged in my community.”
During her time in St. Cloud, Boyle also worked as a special education para in the St. Cloud Area School District and as a counselor with Catholic Charities in St. Cloud before coming full-circle to an administrative position for the AmeriCorps program housed at St. Cloud State University.
“Although I certainly missed having direct, one-on-one contact with youth, I was raised that sometimes you have to take additional risks to be able to have an even greater impact,” Boyle said.
Boyle’s move back to Stevens County came at a time when she was feeling ready to take a step in a new direction, both personally and professionally.
“I wanted to be community-based – that’s always been very important to me – and I also wanted it to be something that would be challenging for me and where I could expect the unexpected because I like to be kept on my toes,” said Boyle.
Family was one of the biggest draws back to the Stevens County area. Over the last two years, Boyle learned how important the Stevens County Historical Society was to some of her late relatives, including her grandmother, Betty Stroman, uncle, Keith Stroman, and friend JoAnne Foley. All three spent time recording their own history and researching family genealogy. Her grandfather, Don Stroman of Morris, also inspired her interest in genealogy and the history of Stevens County.
“It really just blew me away,” said Boyle. “I was really amazed at how they were so selflessly getting this information not only for their own kids but to also record their story so that all of us could learn more from them.”
When the office technology specialist position opened up at the historical society, Boyle said she felt like it was another chance to come full circle, back to the community where she was raised and where she still has family.
“This was not what I expected or planned on, but it felt right,” said Boyle.
The role will bring together many of her past experiences, including systems management, coordinating volunteers, partnering with community organizations and providing educational opportunities for students and community members.
“It’s a blend of all the things I’m passionate about and have had experience with in one capacity or another,” she said. “I feel privileged to be able to work within an organization that set the standards high.”