Huntington grad becomes assistant to Dr. James Dobson
Since childhood, Joy (Patterson) Thompson, a 1999 Huntington graduate, has wanted to be a part of the radio world — specifically Christian radio. "I grew up in Durand, Ill., listening to one of the best Christian radio stations nationally, WQFL out of Rockford," Joy said. "By junior high, I knew I wanted to work there."
So when it came time for college, Joy looked for a Christian school with plenty of hands-on opportunities in broadcasting.
"Huntington is a Christ-centered college that gives you the experience to go out in the world to be a leader," she said.
Right out of college, she did exactly that. She landed the job of her dreams as an announcer on WGSL, the sister station of WQFL. She also got the chance to assume a role she had learned to love at Huntington — filling in as news editor, writing and announcing the weekly news. Little did she know that only a year later she would add working closely with Dr. James Dobson, president and founder of Focus on the Family, to her résumé, as well.
As a broadcasting major, Joy took full advantage of the many opportunities to learn her trade. Starting with her freshman year, she was a disc jockey on the campus radio station. Her involvement with the television weekly news broadcast began with a stint as the weather person, then news anchor and eventually as assignment editor, as well.
"I loved being involved with not only writing and delivering the news, but making assignments," said Joy.
She also found that her classes at Huntington provided endless opportunities to grow. "My classes allowed me to actually write, produce and post-edit a movie," said Joy, who also relished the challenge of writing and editing radio news and dramas.
Still, it was the entire Huntington experience that readied Joy for life after college. She speaks of the exciting opportunities for performance and travel she enjoyed during her two years as a member of the Huntington music group, One Voice.
"A lot of my spiritual growth occurred with One Voice," she said. "We held weekly devotion and prayer and held each other accountable." And, it was also the singing group that brought her together with her future husband.
"The broad education and close relationships I experienced at Huntington were just as important as the specific skills I gained," Joy said. "When you go out in the world, your skills in your major aren’t all that are important. You’ll be involved in the world as a voter, as a member of the local, national, and worldwide communities. Huntington helped me learn how to convey and defend my beliefs."
It was during her senior year at Huntington that Joy found her way to the Focus on the Family Institute, whose sole purpose is to develop Christian leaders. She took four classes and a practicum. "The best part of it was my practicum in the broadcasting production department," Joy said. "Because I had done editing at Huntington, I just had to adapt to a new software system. By the end of the class, I had edited portions of Dr. Dobson’s daily broadcast that later aired."
It was her husband’s entry into the seminary that propelled Joy’s move to Castle Rock, Colo., and her position with Focus on the Family. In her role as executive assistant to Dobson, she and two other assistants are responsible for summarizing the information that flows from the leaders of the Focus on the Family ministry to Dobson. She also attends all meetings in which Dobson is involved.
"Each day my eyes are opened to new issues of importance," said Joy. "I feel privileged to work with Dr. Dobson this closely."
joy had planned to stay at Focus on the Family until her husband graduates from seminary, learning all she can about a ministry that’s addressing important family issues with Christian truth. She’s sure that her time there will at some point lead her back, more prepared, to her dream of being a radio news director or morning show co-host.
"My mother always said that every job has been a building block to what she’s doing now," Joy said. "I’m excited about discovering what’s next."
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