When students walk past the Tech seal on a spring evening, they may hear the sound of a toy tractor roaring past them.
Four-year-old Callen Stenberg is often seen riding his green battery-powered toy tractor, and following him close behind is his two-year-old brother, Jack Stenberg, on his bike.
Mandy Stenberg, the mother of Jack and Callen, said she is always nearby keeping a watchful eye on them.
“People are really friendly toward the kids,” Mandy said.
Mandy and the children spend their evenings taking walks around campus and catching fresh air.
Jack and Callen also have another baby brother, Bennett Stenberg, who was born on Jan. 28.
Mandy said she is originally from Tallulah, and is a psychology graduate from Tech.
Mandy’s husband, Mark Stenberg, originally from Iowa, works as a graduate assistant in the Residential Life Office and is an accounting graduate student at Tech.
His job comes with the three-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment his family currently lives in, which is located inside Harper Hall on campus.
“I go to school only a 5-minute walk away,” Mark said.
Coincidentally, Mandy said she worked as an RA and hall director in Harper before graduating from Tech in 1994, when the apartment they reside in now belonged to the director of housing.
“It is very surreal because I was a student here,” Mandy said. “At the same time, it is very fun and I feel safe.”
Mark said he met Mandy in 2005 and married her in 2006.
Mark said he worked for his family’s construction company and moved into his dream home with Mandy, but later decided to make another drastic change in his life and pursue a full-time degree, which is why he moved to Ruston with his family.
“From the perspective of someone looking from the outside, it would probably appear to be not dramatic,” Mark said. “But from my perspective, the entire world changed.”
Mandy said she is proud of the example Mark is setting for the kids by doing what the family needs.
“I was ready for the challenge,” Mandy said.
Since August 2012, Mandy said the family has been living in Harper because it is closer to Tallulah, where Mandy’s father lives.
The apartment is located on the northeast corner of Harper with a courtyard behind it.
Mark said he built a play set for Callen and Jack in the fenced courtyard in front of the apartment entrance, which Callen calls his tree house.
When Callen and Jack are not attending school twice a week, they can be found playing with their toys in the courtyard near their tree house.
Mandy said her kids are very social, and there is never a shortage of people for them to chat with.
While the family spends its time on Tech’s campus playing and learning, Mark said he is financing his education with the help of student loans and the stipend he earns at the Residential Life Office.
“Typically, I work and go to school during the day and eat lunch with the family at home, or in the cafeteria,” Mark said. “When I get home, my kids are excited to have some daddy time. We do an activity, eat dinner, and I help put them to bed.”
Mark said he does not start studying until 8 p.m., so it means many late nights for him.
Although it is a tremendous challenge, Mark said he loves being at Tech and is having the time of his life.
Mandy said she hopes all of her sons will go to Tech and be Bulldogs.
“I wouldn’t have picked a better place for the kids to spend time in Ruston and on Tech’s campus,” Mandy said. “They get to see the value of higher education, and they have plenty of opportunity to run around and play.”
Email comments to dmu...@latech.edu.