We are excited to welcome the newest member of our community impact team, Amy Wuest who is our newly created Community Resources Director. Amy brings a wealth of experience in connecting systems and services in the community and we are excited to have her join the team this month. We asked Amy a few questions to help our community get to know her:
What do you love most about the SE Idaho region?
Ever since arriving in southeast Idaho, I was impressed with this region’s strong sense of possibility. This is a region that is defined by striving, whether that be on the trails or in our urban centers. I love that this is a place where we can all come together to make our community better than we found it. On a more personal level, I love the mountains. Growing up in Florida, I was used to the flat expanse of the ocean, which will always have a place in my heart. However, I never cease to be awestruck by the towering peaks and soft, rolling hills that are characteristic of southeastern Idaho.
What you are most excited about and looking forward to in this role?
I am thrilled to be joining the team at the United Way of Southeastern Idaho (UWSEI)! In the short term, I am looking forward to learning more about all of the amazing work that my future colleagues are doing to make our community a better place, and how I can collaborate with them to continue to advance the mission of the UWSEI. Over the long term, I am so excited to help to grow community partnerships around the UWSEI’s four focus areas: housing stability, food insecurity, access to healthcare, and the cradle to career opportunity gap.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to get outside whenever possible, to spend time with my family, and to explore the trails throughout our region. In addition, I am a committed life-long learner! I love reading, listening to podcasts, and learning about local and global histories.
Give the community a sense of your prior experiences as you take on this role:
During graduate school, I was fortunate to participate in a highly-collaborative research group where we studied the relationships between homelessness, mental health, and social inclusion with the aim of identifying actionable, community-based solutions. After graduating with a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science, I continued to live and travel abroad. Eventually, I returned home and worked for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where I helped junior faculty members to develop research projects and grant applications. While I loved working in higher education, I came to realize that my true passion was always in working with and for communities. Following my move to Idaho, I was happy to join Bingham Memorial Hospital (BMH) as the Manager of Grants and Continuing Medical Education. While there, I worked with teams from across BMH’s healthcare system to access grant funding for programs that would help medical staff to provide even better healthcare to our community.