Kristen Barker AC'03 :: Memories Still In the Making
Hello, my name is Kristen Barker Mackey. I graduated from the University of Florida with a 2008 Master of Science in Health Education & Behavior and a 2007 Bachelor of Science in Health Education & Behavior. In addition, I am a proud member of AC ’03 and during my time in Gamma Iota I served as the New Member Coordinator.
Many of my favorite memories of ADPi revolve around living in the house. So many girls from AC ‘03 lived in the house senior year and it was so much fun being able to pop into each other’s rooms, get ready together, and have meals together. We loved making our outfits for socials and walking to game days together. Almost every fun memory of college revolves around ADPi. I miss being able to see all of my friends in one place at the same time. AC ‘03 has been a tight knit group of women from the beginning. It was so easy to get a bunch of us together to go out, or just hang out. I think we all miss these days when we had less responsibilities and could just focus on having fun together!
After graduation I stayed in Gainesville for an extra year to complete my Masters degree in corporate wellness, and I of course lived with ADPi’s! After grad school I worked from JM Family Enterprises (the largest distributor of Toyota/Lexus in the Southeast) and ran their corporate wellness program. I then did the same for a private insurance company in Dallas, Texas. Ultimately, I landed back in Florida as an on-air guest for the Home Shopping Network selling various products. I also work for my family’s business-FlipFold.com. My mom, Debbee Barker (AC ‘74) invented a clothes folding board, the FlipFold (it’s been on The Big Bang Theory, The Home Shopping Network, and lots of other places!)
I currently still work for HSN & the family business, in addition to teaching hot yoga (at YogaPod in Gainesville) oh and the best part-I’m a MOM! My husband Rob and I have been married (almost) 6 years, and of course all of my bridesmaids were ADPi’s! We lived in Augusta, Georgia & Charleston, South Carolina before finally settling in Gainesville. Our son Bradd is 14 months and we have the cutest Boston Terrier, Baci. I’ve stayed involved in the Gamma Iota Chapter by becoming the Recruitment & Marketing Advisor for the past 3 years.
Every year about 16 of us from AC ‘03 have an annual reunion. Two girls plan it, and we go all out with a fairly detailed itinerary & some sort of swag like matching t-shirts, hats, coozies, etc. We’ve been to Boston/Cape Cod, San Diego, Chicago, North Carolina, Palm Springs, and all over Florida. This will be our 10th year! We also keep in close communication throughout the year. We all look forward to it every year-can’t recommend this enough to all pledge classes! We’ve stay connected by using an email listserv that is super helpful, especially when planning the annual trip, and lots of group texts.
My Mom and Aunt were both Gamma Iotas, so my younger sister & I grew up hearing all of their wonderful (& crazy!) stories about ADPi. I always hoped I would be lucky enough to have the same experience, and my expectations were surpassed. My younger sister Brooke is also a Gamma Iota, AC ‘08. My very closest, best friends are ADPis. Over the years, they are always who I call first with good (and bad) news, share milestones with and everything else in between. I cannot imagine my life without these women.
There is no doubt in my mind that my life would be very different if not for becoming an ADPi. Not only does ADPi provide the foundation for amazing lifelong friendships, it also teaches you how to be a part of something greater than yourself. You learn how to truly be a friend and to enjoy all the special little moments in life. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s so comforting to know that you’ll always have this group of women who knew you since you were 18, and will continue to be by your side and make everything a bit sweeter.