Student Life staffers husband serving in Iraq

February 4, 2005

The Office of Student Life created a new position this year for Orientation and First Year programs. Many people applied to the job, but luckily, according to everyone who interacts with her, Brandeis hired Michelle OMalley for the position. One may have seen Michelle around campus, already busily planning Orientation 2005 with the new Core Committee. She is a petite, blonde-haired, ever-smiling woman with a full schedule. Her husband, Tim, has been serving in Iraq since March and is scheduled to return at the end of this month.

After college, Tim joined the army for four years. Tim was sent to places like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for six months and South Korea for a year. While Michelle and his relationship started, Tim enlisted for three years of service in the New Hampshire National Guard. Tim was called to duty in Iraq soon after he and Michelle were married.

When Tim left for Iraq and before she heard back from Brandeis, Michelle withdrew her application from the Orientation and First-Year position.

Nevertheless, a month later she got a call from Brandeis asking if she wanted the position. Times were difficult for Michelle, but according to her Brandeis understood. Brandeis has been very supportive from the beginning, Michelle said. Dean of Students Rick Sawyer gave Michelle time off during the two weeks Tim visited New England during his leave.

In Iraq, Tim is stationed with convoy security, driving Humvees and escorting supply trucks throughout Iraq. Tim has been in Iraq since March and has been home once since then, but will be returning from Iraq again at the end of this month.

When I imagine war, I picture men sitting in tents, soaked from the rain, writing letters to loved ones. Michelle has been able to talk to Tim once a week on the phone and exchange emails during this time.

I respect him for it. [At the same time] Im very happy hes done, Michelle said.
Tims time in Iraq is almost over, but the time he has been gone has not been easy. I dont really watch the news, she said.

Soon, Tim will be home and Michelle and he will begin their life together. Im much better nowbecause I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When Tim gets home, things are looking good for Michelles schedule. Though the newlyweds did not get a honeymoon before he had to leave for Iraq, they have a timeshare ready for them in the Dominican Republic.

Before Tims return, Michelle has a lot to keep her busy at Brandeis. She has quite a busy schedule, already planning events for next years Orientation. What she likes about her job at Brandeis is that everyday is different.

Michelle seems to be here to stay for a while. At Brandeis, Michelle comments, all of the students are passionate about something.

When asked what she draws her to Brandeis, she notes that at NYU she met the president of the school, but was never invited to his home. President Reinharz invited her and the Orientation Core Committee to his house the summer she was hired.

With a few minutes left before her next meeting, Michelle left me with some pearls of wisdom: Backpack! Travel while you have a chance. A travel lover herself, Michelle advises everyone to use his or her vacations wisely before graduation. If you cant go far, you can go to the Cape.

Michelle, graduate of Springfield College in 94, has been working in administrative education for the past 10 years. Before coming to Brandeis, she worked at Washington and Lee University, Fordham University, and New York University.

During her time working at New York University, Michelle met her future husband, Tim, at a friends wedding. After time, Michelle and Tim OMalley were married. Michelle decided that she wanted to leave New York for the Boston area to be closer to her husband, so she applied to Brandeis University to fill the first Orientation and First-Year Programs position.

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