Kristen is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies at San José State University. She received her PhD in Communication from the University of New Mexico and her MA in Communication Studies from Colorado State University. Her primary area of research is critical health communication. She teaches courses in health communication, disability studies, and social justice.


We asked—Kristen Cole answered:


🐢  What is your spirit animal?


The animal I most closely identify with is a tortoise. I like to take life at a slow pace. I prefer warmer temperatures so in the winter you can definitely find me hibernating at home, in my protective shell. I’m also vegetarian and I prefer land habitats to water habitats. 


Unlike tortoises, however,  I’m not a loner, but I certainly take my time getting to know people and prefer quality connections over quantity.


⛰  Where is the best destination you’ve ever been?


One of the most beautiful places I’ve been is Telluride, Colorado. Probably because I was there during spring, when the weather was perfect and the flowers were blooming. It’s a beautiful valley in the Colorado Rockies surrounded by incredible mountain peaks. I also traveled there with one of my favorite people in the world. 


In general, I think the best destinations emerge alongside who I’m traveling with rather than where we end up.


🟰  If you had chosen another path in life, what might you be doing now?


From a very young age, I’ve always known that I was destined to be a writer in some capacity. Someday, I would like to dabble in fiction writing. 


However, I’ve also wondered what life might be like if I had decided to pursue mathematics instead of writing. I excelled in algebra in college and was even an algebra tutor for a semester. What I love about math is that there’s always an answer to be found. Mathematics seems like a more linear life path than writing, which is intriguing.


❤️  Name three self-care practices you have adopted to treat yourself well


My self-care practices are mostly centered around mental health and include letting go of control, setting realistic goals, and not taking work too seriously. I try to be reflective about who I am, what I am capable of, and what is most important in life rather than being driven by external expectations. I think it’s important that we empower each other to work within our limits and circumstances rather than pressuring each other to do more with less. 


🧞‍♂️  If you had one wish to improve the world, what would you change?


I have many wishes to improve the world but I think all of them boil down to ensuring that people have their basic needs met. I would love to live in a world where resources are distributed to ensure everyone has access to food, water, housing, and healthcare. 


Unlike in my personal relationships, I would eagerly sacrifice quality of resources for quantity if it meant making the world a more livable place for everyone.

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