Sawyer Moss… daughter, student, photographer, budding entrepreneur


My daughter is Sawyer Reed Moss. She is 19yo and a sophomore at Western Washington University studying business and entrepreneurship. Pre #COVID19 she was living in a house with five roommates, working, going to school, active, and enjoying the life of an independent emerging professional. In addition to being a full-time student, she was working on campus as a barista and keeping up with her own entrepreneurial endeavor as a photographer (sawyermossphotos). In January she was offered an internship with Sherwin Williams and their leadership training program. Then came mid-March, and like everyone else, her world imploded and she had no choice but to adjust.

Once Governor Inslee announced the stay-at-home order, Sawyer decided to come home to Pullman where she knew she would find more consistency in safety, food, shelter, and family support. She took her winter quarter finals online and prepared for a spring quarter that has been delivered 100% at a distance. In the early days of stay-at-home orders, she kept her job on campus just in case she was going to go back early. It quickly became apparent that we were in this for the long-haul so she resigned from that position and settled in to helping out at home. Right away, she helped to create a chore chart with the other kids, take inventory of existing non-perishables in the house, and prepare the house that went from four people living in it full-time to seven overnight. She helped rearrange furniture, set up bedrooms, establish new work-spaces, create recipe cards for bulk meals, and go grocery shopping so we could stock up on essentials. She helped clean, do yardwork, make meals, and just about anything else we needed as we transitioned our in-person classes online.

Three weeks ago she started back taking a full load of classes for spring quarter while sustaining support of her parents, her siblings, and her home. She was recently informed that her summer internship program has been canceled with Sherwin Williams. She is officially unemployed for the first time since she was 16 years old.

In addition to all I have listed above, Sawyer has also been our resident photographer – cataloging this experience through visuals as we managed it through audio, written word and video conference. With “Online Teaching Tips” I have written more than 30 posts over the past seven weeks. My husband Chris teaches four classes in The Carson College of Business so he, too, is teaching online and staying on top of his duties not only for his classes, but as a team-instructor for BA-100 and Adobe Education Leader. Both of us have led classes, attended meetings, served on panels, coached students, and led a series of virtual sessions. Behind the scenes has been Sawyer – taking photos, capturing video, sitting in on sessions to help with #dadjokes, and editing so we can share them in our communication. Words only tell part of the story. Her photos have given them life.

I created this post in honor of her and her commitment to her family and her future. She maintains a positive attitude, shows selflessness in her actions, and will be an amazing contributor to her future employers. I love you my sweet Sis. Thank you for all you do.

This post is part of Rebecca L. Cooney’s Online Teaching Tips series. Check out more tips in the “Online Teaching Tips” category.

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