Staff Spotlight - Julia Blake

I've worked for Nursing Services - Division of Children's and Women's Services since April of 2016. Previously I worked for 20 years in a University of Iowa research department at Oakdale Campus.

I'm the oldest of four siblings. My brother, Rich, is a full time Sergeant First Class with the Iowa Army National Guard Reserves. He has two kids. His son Mitch is married to a wonderful woman named Kendra, and they have two beautiful daughters, Hazel and Violet. Mitch is an Electrician Apprentice and a Corporal in the Iowa Army National Guard Reserves. Rich's daughter Kennedy is a former UI student and also lives in Mount Vernon, IA. My sister Sarah is eight years younger than I. Her children, Tristan and Kaylia, grew up in Mount Vernon. Kaylia is a freshman at Wartburg College. Tristan attended University of Iowa and played right tackle for the Hawkeye football team 2016-2020. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was their starting right tackle this season, and just played in the Super Bowl! My sister Jessica is 12 years younger than I. She is a proposal coordinator for a company in Cedar Rapids, where she lives. My mother, Sylvia, is retired and lives in Lisbon, IA.

I was not emotionally invested in any team until this past NFL season when I became a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, since they drafted my nephew, Tristan Wirfs. Now I could probably name every starting player on offense and defense, plus the coaches and some administrative leaders!

Until COVID safety practices curtailed our social activities, my husband, Tim, and I enjoyed going to baseball games, live music shows, and operas, as well as spending time with family and friends. I spend six weeks every fall helping my friends with their apple orchard on weekends. I love to pet-sit for friends and family. I also love to read and study about my Catholic faith. I volunteer with our church, St. Mary's in Iowa City. I've just begun a 50-hour training in Stephen Ministry, which is a Christian peer support ministry. I also enjoy cooking, which I've been doing more of since we stay home so much!

Ultimately, I want to be of service to others. No matter my job, I always want to support and encourage others. I value relationships, connection, and harmony. I can try to enact those values and facilitate that goal no matter where I work. I've had very good experiences working for the university and the hospital.

In 2012, my husband and I went on a group trip to Italy. He has Italian heritage, so it was special for him for that reason. It was also magnificent to see all the beautiful sights of landscape, architecture and art. In addition, we appreciated getting to attend an audience with the Pope. Last, but certainly not least, the food was amazing! We met many wonderful people as well, from those we were traveling with on the bus tour, to those we met in each city. We traveled through Venice, Padua, Verona, Assisi, Florence, and Rome.

My favorite restaurant, ever since moving to Iowa City in 1996, was always Devotay. The owners and staff were wonderful, and the tapas, entrees, and wine were the most delicious meals in a relaxed, comfortable setting.

I've been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy ever since I read The Hobbit, and the trilogy in junior high school. I continue to watch the movies over and over to this day. My other favorite movie of all time is Princess Bride.

If you were granted three wishes, what would they be? Endless patience, infinite trust, and reuniting with all my loved ones who have passed away.

I marched in the Emerald Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1983 - 1988. I played the French horn bugle, and then mallet keyboards. I participated in the Ladies' Football Academy here at the University of Iowa in 2018 and 2019.

I've been married to my amazing husband, Tim Blake, for five years this July. We were married during Jazz Fest, our favorite summer activity in Iowa City. Tim and I are both University of Iowa graduates and have both worked for the U of I for over 25 years.

Monday, March 1, 2021