Five Questions with Angie Korchnak
Angie Korchnak likes being part of a team, whether she’s in the office or making a quilt.
Name: Angela (Angie) Korchnak
Position: Stewardship and donor relations manager, Advancement Office
Time at the Gillings School: One year
What I do at UNC Gillings (and why I love it): I take in donations, credit them to the correct funds and ensure that all donors are given appropriate thanks. In addition, I provide monthly reports to department chairs, share scholarship award announcements – that part is especially fun! – and support our annual campaigns.
I like working as part of a team. I hope I provide information that makes work easier for the other people in my unit. I also enjoy interacting with our scholarship recipients. I am always so impressed by their resumes and I think, “If this is what they’ve achieved at 20 years old, think how much more they will accomplish!”
I’m originally from: a very small town in northern Alabama. I am the youngest of six children – three brother and two sisters – all of us born within a window of six years and eight months. (That means my mother had six teenagers in the house at the same time!) I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to grow up in a big, close-knit family. I went through high school with all my teachers teasing that they’d have to close the school now that the last of six siblings was about to graduate.
I went to college at Auburn University, where I met the man who – more than thirty years later! – would become my husband. His name is Jon and he builds jet engines at the GE Aviation facility in Durham. How we ended up together is a story for another time, but we’ve had a very long friendship and a very special romance. I moved to Durham in 2015 and we got married soon after.
If someone wants to start a conversation with me: they should ask about my family. My mother’s side, the Cochrans, holds a big reunion every year. I still think about my grandmother quite a lot, even though she’s passed. She was born in 1902 and always liked to say that she went to eighth grade three times. I was so impressed when I finally understood what she meant by that. When she was growing up in rural Alabama, the best option for education was a one-room schoolhouse that only taught classes through the eighth grade. My grandmother loved to learn, though, so she worked around her farm chores and managed to ‘attend eighth grade three times.’ What that really meant is that the teacher kept giving her special advanced assignments. My grandmother went on to have six children, one of whom became the town doctor.
I also love to talk about quilting, which comes from my grandmother, too. She was orphaned at the age of nine and, from that point, she sewed all the clothes worn by herself and her sister. She was a dedicated quilter, as well. These days, I quilt with my mother, my oldest sister and my niece. We’ll find a long weekend and plan our patterns far in advance. We each choose our own fabrics and then we get together and quilt all weekend, trying to complete the blocks by Sunday afternoon. It’s lovely because anyone who gets ahead in their work will pitch in to help someone else catch up. As we say, “A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt.”
A fictional character I identify with: is Howard Roark, the architect in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead. Rand was more intense than I am, but I believe strongly in her message that you shouldn’t compromise your own vision to conform to others’ standards. Roark is a character with deep values and incredible integrity.
The best advice I’ve ever received: is to take care of yourself. Take care of yourself financially, mentally, physically and emotionally. You’ll notice that I put finances first – that’s because this advice comes from my mother, who was born near the end of the Great Depression. She and my father managed to save enough through savings bonds that none of their six children had to take out a single loan to pay for college. The reality is that we never know what the future is going to hold. So, take care of yourself in all ways, but definitely make sure you have enough savings to see you through!
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