Laura Munkres is the director of Minerva Programs. She has been at Union since 2012 and has served in a variety of roles including residence director of West College, Title IX investigator, and project manager for the Middle States Reaccreditation. A Capital Region native, Laura lives in Ballston Lake with her husband, Chad, and two young children, Gavin and Kate. In her free time, she loves being active and outside, especially cycling, mountain biking, hiking and in watersports.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: I use a feed reader, so that is usually the first thing I open in the morning to see the headlines for what has happened overnight. Email, social media and the weather also get a glance before I get ready for the day.
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: Honestly, the first book that comes to mind is Richard Scarry's “Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.” I think I've read that book at least a hundred times over the last couple years. I love to read but it's rare that I re-read books, although “The Things They Carried” by Tim O'Brien is one that I've read multiple times.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: A former coach always shared that, given the choice, they would take hard work over talent because they could always teach the skills but couldn't always instill the work ethic. I'm not sure if it's necessarily advice but this idea of working hard to get ahead has stuck with me many years later.
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS: The Gabeldome (the strength and conditioning area under the rink). I have trained with our strength and conditioning coach for years, and pre-pandemic, I worked out there regularly with a small group of faculty and staff. I can't wait to get back!
GO-TO BREAKFAST: With few exceptions, I have eaten eggs and toast almost every single day since I was in high school. For ease and speed, I usually eat them over easy, but I love them cooked all ways.
NETFLIX OR AMAZON: The only time you can count on our TV being on is on Sunday nights when we watch a movie in an attempt to divert our kids’ attention from the fact that we are cutting their nails. I'm not against TV, but we just don't watch a lot of it. Given the choices, I'd say Netflix but Disney+ might actually get more screen time in our house.
FAVORITE PODCAST: I don't listen to podcasts regularly, but I have enjoyed a few specific series. "Serial" was the first one I ever listened to that I really liked. At the beginning of the pandemic, I listened to two produced by the New York Times that I thought were interesting and really well done – “Together Apart” with Priya Parker and “1619” with Nikole Hannah-Jones. I've also listened to a few about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail that were fun.
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: I wish I were more quick-witted.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PANDEMIC DIVERSION/ACCOMPLISHMENT: I've done a lot of projects around our house. YouTube has given me a confidence in my ability to fix or do things that is probably a bit unwarranted. That being said, it helped me to build an outdoor mud kitchen out of pallets for our kids and to diagnose, disassemble and replace the clutch in our washing machine. When it gets warmer out, I hope to find a small gear that broke off into the engine of an old jet-ski we own so that I can get it running again. I've also done A LOT of painting.
BEST PART OF YOUR DAY: My partner picks up our kids from daycare, and my favorite part of the day is the mayhem that ensues when they walk in the door. They are young enough that they are still really excited to see me. They come in running and screaming for me, and it makes my day every time!
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: For six summers growing up (including part-way through college), I worked at the local golf course near my house cutting the fairways (and sometimes the rough and the greens). My co-workers were all retired men and I usually started work as the sun was coming up in the morning so I could be finished in time to play summer league basketball. It is easily one of my favorite jobs that I've ever had. So peaceful and satisfying to see those lines! Surprisingly, I didn't take up golf until after I graduated from college and left organized team sports.