The Official Newsletter of the Massachusetts College Personnel Association
Walking the Walk: Running for Office While in Student Affairs by Ben Lamb
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Danielle Remigio Roger Williams University
Spring Dinner - April Admin Professionals Conference - June
GRAD STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Katie Mello Northeastern University
MCPA Executive Board President Dawn Eades MCPHS University @DawnEades
Marketing Coordinator Cecilia Hughes Boston University @ ceciliah
Newsletter Editor John Mayo Newbury College @jmayojr
President-Elect Jenn Forry Newbury College
Website Coordinator Rhian Waterberg MassBay Community College @rwaterberg
Graduate Student Liaison Kris Polk MCPHS University @Kris_Grace89
Member at Large Shannon Pittman Northeastern University @ShannonJPittman
Graduate Student Liaison Sarah Santiago Roger Williams University @S_A_Santiago
Membership Coordinator Hilary Caron Boston University @hilcaron
Member at Large Ben Lamb Williams College @BenjaminLamb
New Professional Liaison Vaishakhi Desai Boston University
Treasurer Ryan Greelish Bridgewater State University @RyanGreelish
Member at Large Megan Wyett UMass Amherst @MWyett
Secretary Jessi Robinson UMass - Boston @jrobin19
Social Media Coordinator Dan Newman Endicott College @Dan_Bubbles
Past President Jen Casavant Wentworth Institute of Technology @jen_casavant
Dawn Eades, MCPHS University, MCPA President, @DawnEades On February 8, the All of Above Conference, hosted by UMass Lowell, was successful once again in showing the incoming new professionals how to be successful in the field of Student Affairs. A huge thank you to all of the presenters, mock interviewers, and resume reviewers for being committed to our profession and sharing your knowledge and expertise with this incoming wave of new professionals. It is one of the best ways we can give back to our profession. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my own tips for being successful in Student Affairs. This list is by no means a comprehensive list but what I would consider a good start for new professionals entering the field. To my fellow mid-level professionals and to even the more seasoned, I hope these tips resonate with you and maybe give you a chuckle when you think back to when you were first beginning. 1. Work your longest and hardest hours your first year and don’t whine about it. You are still proving yourself and you will work A LOT. There is no 9-5 in Student Affairs. This time is important to learn the job. 2. Take an active role in your own professional development. Seek out what’s out there, get involved, and learn. Regional workshops are happening all the time and there are tons of articles to read. Take advantage of all of it! 3. Learn how to talk to people (network)! Stop lingering alone in the corner of the room. Learn how to go to events ALONE and meet new people (even if you only speak to a few people, that’s OK). You never know who you’ll meet and if it may be your future colleague or better yet, your future boss! 4. Dress professionally. Take time to groom yourself everyday and look presentable. You can buy nice clothes cheap (Target, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Old Navy, consignment shops, etc.). But don’t be afraid to spend money on a nice suit. 5. Be expected to learn on the job. You may not be trained in many areas and will learn as you go. You WILL fall on your face and you will get frustrated. This is the work place not daycare. Vent with a close friend over a beer, get over it, [and] then learn from it. 6. You will not make a lot of $$. Remember we work in education not on Wall Street. It will feel unfair at times. The $$ may come later if you acquire skills and competency at what you do and/ or get a doctorate degree. No matter what put 10% into retirement. Even if you’re struggling, put $$ toward retirement immediately so you won’t miss it. The Nexus
7. Set boundaries with students. You are not their friend nor should you be. You are a professional/role model, please behave like one. Know what your definition of professionalism is and live up to it. 8. Campus politics. It’s inevitable. The best way to navigate politics is to, “Accept defeat with grace, win with humility, and learn to forgive.” 9. Be a problem solver who suggests solutions. If you’ve got a problem with the way things are done, suggest a new way of doing it and be able to explain why you think your way is better. 10. Embrace the positive moments. Find ways to keep loving your job! You are making a difference, retaining students, and changing lives. Please don’t ever stop forgetting that! You are about to enter one of the most challenging yet rewarding careers in higher education. Please be sure to find a mentor along the way (this should happen naturally as it will be more effective). I look forward to seeing all that you will accomplish and all the student lives you will touch as a Student Affairs professional. I wish you well on this tremendous journey. My best, Dawn A. Eades MCPA President
Upcoming Events ACPA Annual Convention
Indianapolis, Indiana For more information visit: http://convention.myacpa.org
The Chateau, 404 Providence Highway, Norwood, MA 6:00 p.m.
Administrative Professionals Workshop Location TBD Time TBD
*** For complete event information visit us at http://www.facebook.com/mymcpa *** The Nexus
Join a Committee Do you want to get more involved? MCPA has the perfect opportunity for you. ANNOUNCING TWO NEW MCPA COMMITTEES
Brand Standards Committee - Help MCPA develop a professional identity! The Brand Standards Committee will be responsible for developing and implementing a branding standard to be used across all MCPA media and communications. For more information or to sign-up please contact Cecilia Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
40th Anniversary Committee - The 40th Anniversary of the founding of MCPA is
approaching. This committee will be responsible for organizing and planning the 40th anniversary celebration, including events throughout our 40th year! For more information or to sign-up please contact John Mayo at email@example.com or @jmayojr on Twitter.
MCPA CLASSIFIED HELP WANTED - Newsletter Contributor
“SPOTLIGHT” NOMINATIONS NEEDED
Are you interested in writing for the newsletter? Read a good book lately and want to write a review? Are you working on a project in your office that you want the association to know about? Is there a hot topic in higher education that you want to write about?
Searching for creative and amazing individuals to be highlighted as “Spotlight of the Month.” We are accepting nominations for the following: undergraduate student, graduate student, MCPA member. All nominations should be submitted to NEWSLETTER@MYMCPA.NET
We are seeking submissions of all types to be featured in The Nexus. For information or to submit an article please contact NEWSLETTER@MYMCPA.NET The Nexus
The Science of Happiness by Danielle Remigio, Roger Williams University, @missdaniellelyn
When working in Student Affairs, we take on a lot. We take on work, we take on projects, and we take on the lives of others. We are the sounding board for it all. From family issues, roommate conflicts, stressors with an internship search or an existential crisis, we are the ones students turn to. You know what that sounds like to me? Stressful. However, with the right mindset the stress can seem manageable and we can have a perspective to not only get through the rough days but see them in a new light. Psychologists have studied happiness, not necessarily a hard science by any means, for years. Environment, location, IQ or education, or even wealth isn’t among the top factors of happiness levels according to Time Magazine. Those are all external factors that we focus on. Elements that we believe are tangible throughout our day. Excuses for our “lack” of happiness because we believe we don’t have them. However, perspective can truly make the grass greener on your side of the fence. Being grateful in the moment and being mindful and present can be a game changer during a long workweek or even in our personal lives outside of the office. Gratefulness can be expressed in three main ways according to Harvard Medical School: Apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), Apply it to the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), Apply it to the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Persistence in life is something we all need to succeed. When we’re about to open for a semester and the clock is ticking to get last minute prep work done, we need persistence and drive to push us to succeed. The same goes with being grateful and happy. It takes work. You need to focus on your happiness and being grateful. Idealistic, right? Easier said than done. Start with the simple things. How does your coffee smell when you first take a sip in the morning? Did your desk stay clean throughout the day? Was a student smiling when they left your office? All small but tangible things that you can build upon. You don’t need to be the new president elect of an organization, the chair of a committee, or the director to feel fulfilled or happy. You just need to see the happiness in what you do already. “Regardless of the nature of your work, identify some aspect of it that is personally fulfilling. If your job is scrubbing floors, stand back and admire how shiny and clean they look (Brody, 2012)”. So when you’re charting the course of your life, how are The Nexus
you going to see it? Are the seas rough and stormy? Or are you pushing through a beautiful, exciting, uncharted territory? Itâ€™s all in how you want to see it. We all look through the same looking glass. How clear is your view? Resources: For Happiness, Spend Money On Experiences http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121908647 A Richer Life by Seeing the Glass Half Full http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/a-richer-life-by-seeing-the-glass-half-full/?_ php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1 Giving thanks can make you happier http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier The New Science of Happiness http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1015902-1,00.html The Science Behind Happier https://www.happier.com/science
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@MCPATweets March 2014
Walking the Walk: Running for Office While in Student Affairs by Ben Lamb, Williams College, MCPA Member at Large, @BenjaminLamb Something interesting about our field is the intensity of our work, and how much many of us continue to love it. Whether we are dealing with campus crises, budgets, advising, counseling, administrative tasks or otherwise, there is always something new right around the corner. Not only does this keep our day-to-day activity interesting, but it imbues upon us a breadth of experience that many don’t have the opportunity to engage in. As I pondered this idea for the last couple years, it began to awaken a desire in me to translate what I do everyday into some sort of new and exciting arena. At the same time, with all of the talk I do about skill development, and modeling effective leadership, I started to think, like any crazy person…maybe now is the time to become a local politician? At the onset of the thought I was quickly questioned by supervisors, my partner, and others that know how much time I put into my day-to-day job, but quite quickly their words of caution morphed into words of support, inquiries to help run the campaign, and in some cases, even monetary contributions to make it possible. So the course was drawn…I was about to run for City Councilor of North Adams Massachusetts. The Build Up Running an election is nothing short of a fully-scale 3-ring circus of the best kind. To start off, you need to find your key stakeholders. These are normally the long-time knowledge holders, local archivists, small business owners, coffee houses, and those looking to find those new and The Nexus Page 9 March 2014
spirited individuals who will drive the city into the future. Fortunately, many of these folks found me, and in all cases, supported my venture for office. You don’t really realize how difficult it is to rally 50 signatures to get yourself on the ballot until it’s time to get, 50 signatures…to get on the ballot. Between heckling folks at Friendly’s, recruiting friends who work in advancement offices to do my bidding, and making friends with local businesses willing to keep one of my signature sheets on the shop counter, I managed to irk out 83 signatures in 5 days (I may have been a little late in taking out my election paperwork…) There it was. I was now officially going to be on the ballot, now what?!? Interestingly enough, I used a resource that I think we tend to overlook…students. Many of them have run for elected positions at the institution more regularly in recent times than I have. So I asked…how do you run an effective election? To my surprise, not only did they give me great insight into things I would have easily overlooked, many of them also wanted to be involved in my campaign. Students signed on to run social media efforts, hold signs for shifts during Election Day, and some even made contributions to my online fundraising campaign. I was touched by their help, and inspired by their desire to learn more from me as I went through this process. Regular coffee dates with students discussing what it was like became a more normal part of my days. It became a transfer of knowledge merely through the process of running. Going to the same events I would have attended anyway now all became part of a larger whole. Friends and supporters would introduce me to everyone they could. I met senators, former councilors, local celebrities and most importantly, the people who really matter…general residents of the city. Their input, feedback, support and proposed challenges all slowly found their way into my campaign platform. My motto quickly became “If I lose, at least I met an incredible group of new friends.” As the election drew closer, more of my spare time started to be spent doing media events. Debates on television, radio, in person, all of which were new experiences for myself as a political novice. Additionally, lets not forget that I was still in the thralls of Fall Semester, arguable the busiest time of year in my role in student involvement. While challenging, it all melded together nicely. Between student intrigue in my “extra curricular activity,” discussions it led to during leadership programming, and the overall sense of talking the talk and walking the walk…it was really quite energizing. Election Day Everything piled up as we got close to Election Day. Within the last 2 weeks before the polls opened I went to 15 different events, including radio debates, televised activities and community events. While exciting, it was The Nexus
definitely time consuming. The big day arrived FINALLY on November 5th. By 8am I was out the door, having taken the day off work to stand at the polls. I was set to hold signs, shake hands, and smile my day away…except for the 4-hour youth leadership program I had to run from noon to 4. In any case, it was pure energy at the polling location! Good energy, excited energy, and in some cases, negative and explosive energy. Most folks came up to me excited I was running and positive I was going to win. I on the other hand, was not as sure of a win. Never the less, in a matter of hours I had met more people in the community than I had in probably the last 10 years…it was great! Beyond enjoying the energy of a true election day myself, I was also blessed to have several students and friends of mine take to the streets and hold signs for me. It was an incredible feeling of support on one of the most nerve racking, exciting, and fun days in recent memory. It all culminated at 7pm. My partner, colleague who doubled as my campaign manager, and close friend of ours marched over to City Hall. In our minds, it made the most sense that the election results would be announced there first. We were wrong. Standing around anxiously cycling our phones through to get the postings from the local online news source as we waited. First ward came in…Ben Lamb…2nd most votes? The next wards came through, 4,3,5…in all cases. Ben Lamb…2nd most votes?! What was happening?!? I wasn’t born here (normally seen as a detriment to a candidate), I was the youngest one running, and I was completely new to the entire local political scene. Yet somehow, people were voting for me, and the adrenaline was kicking into overdrive. As the final ward numbers came through we rushed over to a local restaurant where all the other candidates were waiting for the final results. Never in my life have I experienced such energy and excitement as that moment. Pure excitement and fanfare the moment I went through the door. Not only had I won with the second most votes (all local betting pools had me going off at 5th or 7th …woops), but the entire elected council was composed of an incredible group of people. People I know I won’t always agree with, but that I whole-heartedly look forward to working with, much like my job every day. This felt right. Now We’ve Gone and Done It! So here we are. I’m officially an elected official in the City of North Adams. I am absolutely in love with it. Being sworn in on the first of the year was reminiscent of my wedding day or graduation. Those closest to me were there to see it, and it felt like one of those “big life events” people talk about. Each week so far I’ve learned more and more about the place I love. I’ve been able to start putting a critical eye to the things I know most about; budgets, crisis, advocacy, public safety; and have been able to get thoroughly educated on both projects being advanced by the city, and the public. I’ve met the great minds that lead from the back, and the amazing followers that help to make the dreams come to fruition. It’s a challenging position; most recently, due to the initial budget proposed by the state. But as we do in higher education, we work with what we have, and we look to improve the world for our communities. I’m constantly excited for meetings and workshops, project research and being able to advocate for the needs of the citizens of the city. So here we go. A month in, hitting the ground running, and charging forward. Wish me luck. The Nexus
Many thanks to our Drive-in Conference Sponsors!
Graduate Student Spotlight Katie Mello Northeastern University Graduate Assistant for Living Learning Communities What is your position at Northeastern University? I am the Graduate Assistant for Living Learning Communities primarily focusing on the development of the Second Year Experience Program. Also, I am an Interim Residence Director for West Village B, West Village C, and West Village E. Alongside a full-time Residence Director I co-supervise a staff of 12 Resident Assistants and manage the daily functioning of the buildings.
What do you love about working at Northeastern University? I LOVE working with the students at Northeastern! The Northeastern culture heavily emphasizes co-op opportunities and career development. Co-op is when students work fulltime during the semester, instead of attending classes. Students can complete as many co-op as they desire and it is an incredible opportunity for them to gain experience within their field and discover what kind of occupation they are best suited for. I really enjoy hearing about the studentâ€™s co-op experience and seeing how passionate they are about the work in their desired fields. In general, I believe that Northeastern students are incredibly driven and motivated individuals. Also, this is an amazing time to be a member of Northeastern â€™s Department of Residential Life. This is our first year having a Director of Residential Life and our new Director, Rachel Alldis, is refining our departmentâ€™s mission. This is an exciting time full of change and proposals. As a graduate student, this is a great opportunity for me to learn how to create change as a professional in a Department. I also have to give a shout out to my RAs. They are funny, dynamic, self-motivated, passionate, and inspirational. I really love being a part of their development and seeing them grow as student leaders. It is such a humbling, inspiring, and reaffirming experience to coach them through their development- it reminds me every day why I wanted to go into this field. The Nexus
What do you do to relax outside of the office? I like to sleep when I can! But, when it comes to de-stressing I like to explore Boston with my cohort and colleagues. I’m in love with the city and all the opportunities it has to offer. I like to explore Newbury Street, go to the museums, go to Trivia Night, eat at every food truck I can find, and hang out at the Commons. But, sometimes the best moments are just when I’m hanging out with my colleagues and hearing all about their experiences. I’m very thankful for the support system I am building.
Why did you get involved in student affairs? In undergrad I had a lot of really amazing mentors who really challenged me to get involved in student affairs knowing very well that I would fall in love with the field. I loved being an RA in undergrad and I fell in love with ResLife. My experiences within ResLife helped me grow and evolve both as a person and a leader.
Who inspired you to pursue this career? SO MANY PEOPLE! Throughout my journey into this field I have had so many individuals guide me along the way. I still remember the first time that someone told me that I could go into this field. I was a junior in college and I was talking to Becky Budynkiewicz trying to figure out the rest of my life and I just couldn’t see myself doing any career. She just looked at me when I said that to her and told me I could be an RD. Even at the time, I knew that making ResLife my career would make me happy, but all I could think about was being able to provide for my parents. Becky was the first person to get through to me: I can do what I love, be happy, and still take care of the people I love. When it comes to being INSPIRED to pursue this career, I have to give three people credit: Tom Wozniak, Becky Budynkiewicz, and Kymberely Hendricks. These three individuals helped me develop as a student and a leader during an extremely challenging point in my life. I went into this field because I wanted to be able to make a positive impact in a students life the way these three people did for me.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned (so far) in your career? Never forget to take time for yourself. We spend so much time focusing on the development of the students that sometimes it's easy to forget about yourself and to get burned out. I learned that it is extremely important that I take time to relax and form new friendships outside of work in order to prevent burnout.
What advice would you give to undergraduate students looking to pursue a position in Student Affairs? Don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone! Go to a graduate school that makes you feel excited and passionate about the field. Make sure to build a support system of friends and professionals. The Nexus Page 14 March 2014
Event Recap: All the Above Conference
by Kris Polk, MCPHS University, MCPA Grad Student Liaison @Kris_Grace89
fter months of planning and collaboration between six New England professional organizations and the host site, the annual All of the Above (AOTA) Conference was successfully carried out. This year, the University of Massachusetts—Lowell (UML) offered and was selected as the host institution to over 80 attendees and 15 unique presentations during the day long conference. AOTA is unique in that it targets a specific population within higher education: undergraduates interested in the profession, graduates studying higher ed, and new professionals beginning full time work in the field. The day began with keynote speaker Sherrod Williams, the Director of the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Sherrod started with getting the audience moving and talking to each other about their past, present, and future within the field of higher education. He could pose a specific question, then allow everyone to talk with someone different each time. Sherrod then focused on several values of the profession and concluded with asking everyone to write on a note card what they valued in their work. Attendees were encouraged to keep in mind throughout the day what they had individually written down, setting the tone for an intentional learning and developmental experience. Following the keynote were the first session presentations around two neighboring buildings on UMass Lowell’s campus. Despite the bitter cold, UML had a large team of student and staff volunteers in bright blue shirts outside and indoors directing AOTA attendees and answering any questions. There was a 90-minute break between Sessions 1 and 2 in order for participants to grab lunch and attend the Networking Fair, both parts occurring concurrently in a spacious conference hall on UML’s campus. The Networking Fair consisted of various professional organizations and higher education graduate programs. Conference attendees could speak with representatives to gather information and learn how to find out more about the programs of interest to them. Following the lunch break, Sessions 2 & 3 ran smoothly, as UML volunteers continued to assist presenters and participants. Following Session 3, all attendees returned to the conference space to hear results of the raffle and receive some additional giveaways from the host site. After the conference formally wrapped up, attendees were encouraged to attend the post conference social at Lowell Beer Works next to campus. The University of Massachusetts Lowell was extremely generous in their time, staff, and resources in making All of the Above a reality in 2014. The Host Site Coordinator, Kohya Lu, did an amazing job coordinating with the AOTA planning committee in the weeks leading up to the event and the day ran smoothly. AOTA co-chairs Laura Flynn and Sara Hicks did a great job being available and guiding the planning committee before and during the conference. The Nexus
Overall, All of the Above could not have been possible without the support of all the attendees and anyone else who helped to promote and encourage others to attend. Thank you to all who participated and wishes to everyone for a wonderful 2014 as they either look to grad school, begin job searching, or continue with a new job. “I did not know what to expect going into AOTA, however, the networking I was able to do and the sessions I attended, enabled me to see further into my aspiring career in student affairs and gave me more excitement and drive to enter such a wonderful and welcoming field! I gained crucial knowledge and enjoyed conversing with aspiring undergraduates, graduates and new professionals from different colleges and universities.” -Evan Walsh, Eastern Connecticut State University ’15, University Residential Outreach Council President & NASPA Undergraduate Fellow Presentations 10 Tips for Leading a Student Staff Presented by Janine Bradley, Graduate Student, Bridgewater State University Do You: Personal Values vs. Institutional Fit Presented by Rachel Collier, Community Director, Curry College Presented by Michael F. Lynch, Community Director, Curry College Battle of Dual Positions Presented by Sarah Chafe, Student Activities/ResLife Graduate Assistant, MCPHS University Presented by Kristen Dvorsky, Associate Director Campus Life & Leadership, MCPHS University Do’s & Don’ts: Job Searching at a National Conference Presented by Elizabeth Teurly, Program Advisor, Brandeis University Presented by Michael R. Lorenz, Asst. Director for Training & Selection, Boston University Non-Traditional Paths to Student Affairs: Making Your Degree and Experience Work for You Presented by Tiffany Hill, Residence Director, UMass Lowell Other Duties As Assigned Presented by Kristin Staine, Asst. Director of Student Activities, Bay State College True Life: I Want to be a Student Affairs Professional? Presented by Michael Bliss, Resident Director, UMass Lowell The Nexus
Presented by Andrea Lafleche, Resident Director, UMass Lowell Starfish Early Alert as a Retention & Advising Tool Presented by Douglas Cooper, Coordinator of Retention Initiatives, UMass Lowell
2014 Sponsors: BACHA, MA-NASPA, MCPA, NODA, ACUI, NACA Northeast, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Conference Committee Co-Chairs Laura Flynn, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, MA-NASPA Sara Hicks, Merrimack College, BACHA
Mapping Your Career in Student Affairs Presented by Alexandra Ressing, AmeriCorpsVISTA, NHTI Presented by Charles Lloyd, Interim VP of Student Host Site Coordinator Affairs, NHTI Kohya Lu, University of Massachusetts Lowell Managing Your Career as an Introvert Presented by Jessica Petriello, Academic Counselor, MCPHS University Presented by Erin Schnepp, Academic Counselor, MCPHS University Taking the Next Step: Highlighting Student Leadership Experiences on Your Resume Presented by Katy Maher, Residence Director, UMass Lowell Considering a Career in Student Affairs? Presented by Lee Brossiot, Asst. Dean of Graduate Admissions, Salem State University Thatâ€™s Not in My Job Description Presented by Laura Flynn, Director of Transition & Leadership Programs, MassArt Presented by Jamie Glanton Costello, PhD. Dean of Students & Multicultural Programs, MassArt
Committee Kristin Staine, Bay State College Becca Ryan, Suffolk University Ben Weiner, Northeastern University Brittany Vytal, Northeastern University/ MassArt Cammi Valdez, Harvard University Danielle Remigio, Roger Williams University Joel Pettigrew, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ACUI Kris Polk, Northeastern University, MCPA Madhu Narayan, Bentley University Patrick Hale, Boston University Tara Bartley, Boston College Scott Hoffman, Northeastern University Sarah Santiago, Roger Williams University, MCPA Brett Wellman, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, BACHA
Just Keep Swimming: Navigating the Political Waters in Higher Ed Presented by Kohya Lu, Associate Director, UMass Lowell Professionalism in Student Affairs: Navigating the New Presented by Anne-Marie Kenney, Dean of Student Affairs, Newbury College The Nexus
Member Spotlight Danielle Remigio Roger Williams University Coordinator of Residence Education What is your position at Roger Williams University? I am the Coordinator of Residence Education (CORE) for a 450 underclassmen complex and I have a 15 student RA staff. I also am the advisor to our campus chapter of National Residence Hall Honorary, which focuses on our pillars of Leadership, Service, Scholastics, and Recognition
What do you love about working at Roger Williams University?
I love the office environment. My coworkers are extended family at this point and we help each other explore new areas of Rhode Island. It’s a big office with a lot of people with a homey family feel. Also, we get to have our hands in just about everything. I like that I am able to expand professionally, work on high level conduct cases, start initiatives, and work on assessment for things. It’s a great jumpstart to my career in the field.
What do you do to relax outside of the office?
I’m an avid reader. Articles, non-fiction, classics, you name it. I love listening to music, going to concerts and finding new artists to listen to. Lately I’ve also been trying to get out more and see more of where I live; especially with my camera to go document my adventures. I want Rhode Island to feel like home and that’s the way to do it. Always fun to go on a road trip with friends.
Who inspired you to pursue this career?
My first supervisor when I was an RA. I was very nervous coming into the job and she saw potential in me. She pushed me way out of my comfort zone because she knew I could handle it. Tough love. But she forced me to see what I was capable of. That made me want to do that for someone else. It was inspiring.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned (so far) in your career?
Don’t try too much too soon. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you need to see how the clock ticks before assuming it’s broken. Now I try to watch how staff members work or groups work before inputting advice. I need to know what they need before jumping in headfirst.
What advice would you give to undergraduate students looking to pursue a position in Student Affairs?
Take your time during the application process. Call the programs and ask questions. Really look at whom you’ve interacted with on campus to see who would write a recommendation letter for you. Chances are they also have amazing insight into the grad school process. It starts your professional networking. That is key. Especially in the Northeast.
What advice would you give to graduate students looking for a position in Student Affairs?
Make mistakes. And try something you’ve never done. If your job is in Residence Life and that’s what you want to do for a career, do an internship with Academic Advising. Give yourself a chance. It’ll make you more marketable in the job search and you’ll just have a better view of different offices and how you can collaborate later. Also, something that helped me was making a spreadsheet to track my job search. It kept things organized and helped to keep my stress of the search down.
Event Recap: Cornwall’s Social by Vaishakhi Desai, Boston University, MCPA New Professionals Liaison The social at Cornwalls was very successful! About 35 student affairs professionals from institutions all around the Boston area met up to mix and mingle. The pub had great food, and even better drinks! Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was great meeting everyone and we hope to see you at our next event!
Event Recap: Coffee Talk by Megan Wyett, UMass Amherst, MCPA Member at Large, @MWyett
n February 7th MCPA hosted our February Coffee-Talk at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst with over forty professionals in attendance from thirteen different colleges and universities. With the opening of the Commonwealth Honors Residential Community in the fall of 2013 the theme chosen for the talk was “Laying the Foundation to Academic Partnerships.” The panel was comprised of Eddie Hull, Executive Director of Residential Life; Dan Gordon, History Professor and interim Dean of Commonwealth Honors College, Engineering Professor Bernd Schliemann, and Jessica Ortiz, Director of New Student Programs at Hampshire College. The focus of the questions included the role of the faculty in the out of classroom experience, how to speak the same language when looking to build partnerships, how to combat “defeatist” comments and how to overcome the challenges of collaborating between academic and student affairs. Thank you @BenjaminLamb and our @MCPATweets for these words of wisdoms from our panelists, as you continue to build the foundation for academic partnerships: 1. Invite yourself to departmental meetings for some quick facetime to make a pitch. Networking faculty is akin to any other kind of networking. Reach out. Excite them. Ask for their connections. Form Relationships. 2. There are faculty who demonstrate their outside interest already. Making inroads to departments will recruit even more. Regardless of rank or department, find the faculty who “get it” that the college experience transcends the classroom 3. When speaking to faculty, meet them at their comfort level and find out what motivates them. 4. Defeatist comments are often stemmed from logistical challenges. If you get a “no” hear it has “maybe another time.” Consider doing some more homework about how to get that faculty member involved and come back. 5. Context when talking to any professional to collaborate is incredibly important. Fill the gaps before to make the sell easier. 6. Let the focus of any collaboration start and end with students. No matter who sits at the table, higher ed is about education. We look forward to seeing you at future coffee talks. If you are unable to attend, you can always follow along with the #MCPACoffee hashtag and look for the live-stream link.
All of the Above: An Inside Look by Kohya Lu, UMass LowellOn February 8th, 2014 the All of the Above Conference (sponsored by MCPA, BACHA, ACUI, NODA, NACA Northeast, and MA-NASPA) was hosted at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I had the distinct pleasure of serving as the Host Site Coordinator and am honored to write an insider perspective for this monthâ€™s NEXUS Newsletter! This experience was significant to our institution for a number of reasons. Firstly, this was our Office of Residence Lifeâ€™s hosting debut for a state-wide Student Affairs conference. Secondly, this has been part of a banner year for our institution; we opened two new residence halls in the Fall, have begun renovation projects with some of our older facilities, brought home a Best Networking Award at the annual BACHA RA Conference, won a Best of Drive-In Conference Award at the Fall NEACUHO Drive-In, and have hired new central office staff positions as part of our on-going growth. With this in mind we have actively begun to increase our visibility and involvement within the state of Massachusetts and were extremely grateful when UMass Lowell won the bid to host after two of our Resident Directors, Elizabeth Braxton and Andrea Lafleche first identified this as a potential opportunity for our department. From the moment we received the notification that we were selected we immediately began preparing to put on our first conference in just 6 short weeks. As a new staff member at the University this was a great way for me to learn the nuts and bolts of large-scale event planning on campus as well as collaborating with key offices and staff members that would help in contributing to our team. We also put together a Host Site Committee that consisted mainly of staff from our office but also other campus partners such as Multicultural Affairs and Student Activities. In order to organize everything I came up with the following structure to put together the different pieces of the conference: room reservations, technology/AV needs, food, logistics, volunteers, and most important of all the UMass Lowell touch. Thanks to colleagues on our committee that had previous experience hosting on campus the group was able to come up with different touches that would be unique to our institution so that we could show off our campus with pride. Among some of the things we were able to do were creating our own conference logo (later adopted as the official logo for AOTA), t-shirt and video, providing extra touches throughout the conference day in terms of food/logistics, and assisting the Conference Planning Committee by offering to sponsor various aspects of the event including the post-conference social and printing needs. The Nexus
In reflecting on the planning and execution of the conference I would say that the two most important things necessary to ensure a smooth event are communication and organization. In addition to being present on regular conference calls I made sure to provide minutes and updates to the Host Site Committee during our own meetings as well as communicating regularly with Logistics (Danielle and Sarah Santiago) and the Conference Co-Chairs (Sara Hicks and Laura Flynn). As the point person filtering information and being involved in all aspects of the planning it was helpful in effectively delegating and organizing our team in preparing for the big day.
giving us this tremendous opportunity to host; we had a great time welcoming everyone to our campus and cannot wait to host future events in the years ahead! Special Thanks to the Following: UML Athletics UML Student Activities UML Career Services and Cooperative Learning Center Joel McCarthy Joy Schmelzer Matt Austin Connie Cabello Amy Liss April Blinn Mike Bliss Kelly Bowes Andrea Lafleche Elizabeth Braxton Alanna Gaffny Mary Connelly Dr. James Kohl Rowdy the Riverhawk
Overall the conference couldn’t have gone better! We welcomed around 130 people on a snow-free Saturday and while the day was not without a few hiccups behind-the-scenes, those who attended left very impressed by the hospitality and energy of our volunteers, the on-pointedness of the Host Site Committee, and the energetic antics of our very own Rowdy the Riverhawk. North Campus was on full display and we were able to house the majority of the program sessions in the new state-ofthe-art Emerging Technologies and Innovations Center while also spanning through Cumnock Hall, Alumni Hall, and Southwick Hall to serve as additional locations. I will leave the main content of the conference to the counterpart article in this month’s newsletter but I would be remiss if I left out one of the highlights of the day: the raffle and newly minted UMass Lowell “fire sale” to throw t-shirts into the audience, cannon-style. A good number of attendees had stayed until the end of the day to see if they had won one of the various packages that we had put together but with the added bonus of also getting a t-shirt (a strategy that proved effective in tying in with the networking piece that had historically received low attendance). On behalf of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Office of Residence Life I would like to thank BACHA for The Nexus Page 22