Occupation: Director of Volunteer Services at Maryville College.
Preston Fields is an alumni of Knoxville Catholic High School and graduated Maryville College in 2003. This is his fifth year working at the school.
“My main job is to get students volunteering in the community and in area non-profits, and I also run a few volunteer-based scholarships. The biggest one I coordinate is the Bonner Scholars program.”
Fields says the college sees students volunteering in the community as co-education. “We see this as them taking what they’ve learned in the classroom and applying it immediately in the world and making strong connections rather than hiding away four years and then applying what they learned.”
Fields says being a Maryville College alum helps him relate to the students. “I think I’m very aware of the mission, and because I’m a product of their educational philosophy, I connect well with students and help them on their academic journey.”
The college has students who are volunteering at all levels with various non-profit agencies. “We have students on boards of directors their senior year writing grants, doing marketing campaigns and really starting their careers early and doing quality work for free,” he says. “It’s a real benefit to non-profits in the area to have students who are so well-equipped and working for no pay.”
Fields said even the students that grow up in Maryville don’t always know what life in Maryville is like for those less fortunate. “I think there’s a real eye-opener when you start connecting people with the community they’ve been in all along. They see what the real world is like,” he says. “It helps them make connections.”
Fields is also an author. He recently published the book “Hiking for Jesus,” which is about growing up spiritually and how God speaks through everyday experiences.
Here are 25 Random Things about Prestion Fields:
1. I’m color blind. How am I so stylish, you ask? My sister Haley has categorized and cross referenced every piece of clothing I own into a note card system I keep on my dresser. Without these cards I would buy one prematched outfit off of a mannequin and wear it every day.
2. I am a nationally known Christian retreat leader, speaker and author. I co-founded a ministry called Hiking4Jesus with my best friend, singer/songwriter and Blount Memorial ER nurse, Tom Wiesner. We go to all different types retreats and youth groups all around the country I also just released a book called Hiking for Jesus, available on Amazon.com or on our website, www.hiking4jesus.com.
3. Apparently, I’m not afraid of shamefully promoting myself (See Random Fact # 2...about my book, Hiking for Jesus, on Amazon.com)
4. My father, W. Preston Fields, was a professional surfer. He also played soccer for the University of Alabama.
5. I tell people I’m allergic to cats, but I just think they are creepy.
6. When I order Coke at a restaurant and the waitress asks me if Pepsi is OK, I say yes ...but secretly I am angry.
7. I’ve been to 11 different countries: Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Caymans, Spain, England, Morocco, Italy, Ireland, Turkey, and Haiti. I studied abroad at the University of Worcester in England. Turkey is my favorite.
8. Early on in my student career at Maryville College I was the secretary of the Young Republicans and by my senior year I was vice-president of the College Democrats. Some people experiment with drugs during college, I experimented with trickle-down economics.
9. My sister Taylor is a 3rd grade teacher in Atlanta.
10. Every week during the school year Maryville College students volunteer over one thousand hours a week in Blount County. Their energy and commitment make me very proud.
11. My mother, Barbara Fields, works for the Electric Power Research Institute.
12. I used to work for Catholic Charities at the Columbus Home for Children.
13. In college, I taught GED classes for inmates at the Blount County Justice Center.
14. I think every restaurant should offer sweet tea as an option under penalty of law.
15. I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten to 12th grade. My first day of college was the first day I didn’t wear a uniform to a class.
16. I am 27 years old and still don’t like salad.
17. I love the mountains. I think everyone should recycle and mountain top removal should be outlawed.
18. Last Alternative Spring Break I took students down to Savannah, Ga, to work at Oatland Island Wildlife Refuge. While we were there, I helped remove a four foot alligator. In the pictures I am smiling, but internally I’m a screaming like a little girl.
19. I read, or at least scan, 3 - 5 newspapers a day.
20. My grandfather played football for the University of Alabama, my great-grandfather played football for Vanderbilt.
21. My biggest vices are French fries and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
22. I work in the Center for Campus Ministry at Maryville College where the stained glass window depicts an oddly muscular depiction of Chris. We call him “Buff Jesus.”
23. My favorite book is “My Name is Asher Lev,” by Chaim Potok.
24. I am the Coordinator for the Bonner Scholar Program at Maryville College. During any given year, approximately 60 Maryville College students are volunteering in the community as Bonner Scholars. Weekly, these students contribute at least 600 volunteer hours to more than 25 agencies in the community. In a school year, the combined impact is nearly 17,000 hours. Last year, the Bonner Foundation announced that it would award Maryville College $4.5 million to endow the program. The endowment process includes a requirement that the College match the Bonner Foundation’s grant with $2 million. If you want to help out with the fundraising, you should call and ask for Brandon Bruce at Maryville College. See, I am not afraid to shamelessly promote the Bonner Scholars, either.
25. I bleed plaid. Go Scots!