Montgomery High School (NJ)
What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
When I was in high school, I was not lucky enough to have the school counselor support I needed for college. My parents did not go to college, so I had to do my own research and sought out friends and teachers for advice. Once I was accepted to college, I decided that no one should ever have to go through what I did. I made a promise to myself to offer help wherever I could.
What is your favorite part of the job?
There are so many elements. One highlight occurs when alumni come back to the high school to visit and share freshman year experiences. The joy they have of feeling like they ‘fit’ in a college or university is a golden moment. I also value observing the transformation as college-bound students begin to realize and embrace their full potential—it is a special time.
Of course, the NACAC conferences help to make the fall exciting. Having the opportunity to connect with colleagues and representatives from so many institutions of higher education is invaluable. I have great respect for these friends and colleagues.
How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC provides me with a feeling of strength through unity. By understanding the scope of complexities in higher education and its impact on the world, I have become savvier in a global sense as I advise my students. My network of professional and personal contacts keeps me ethically aware and intellectually stimulated. As NACAC has addressed challenges and public scrutiny, it reminds me that we must stay true to strive for the overall good to help anyone attain a better quality of education and lifestyle. Some of the most consistent, trusted, and invaluable resources I have used time and again over the years include The Journal of College Admission and the NACAC Exchange. The wide range of topics from concerns about our DACA students, to the relevance of data mining in admission, to building ethical leadership skills can be found and expanded upon here. I have shared information with colleagues on many occasions after seeing a hot topic on the listserve.
I would also like to add that over the years, I have listened to many presentations by our beloved (former CEO) Joyce Smith. Her professionalism and demeanor as she mellifluously delivered information to the NACAC community at large were extraordinary. It is a quality I diligently try to model.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Perhaps the greatest challenge is that we are all trying to be forward thinking while being reactionary to a constant array of socioeconomic challenges. How can we work together to anticipate the needs of our communities, support equity, and endure the financial challenges which are yet to come for institutions and school communities? As a high school counselor, I think the greatest challenge is figuring out the most impactful ways to empower our students and peers. After this pandemic, what action steps do we need to take to build up the leaders of tomorrow?
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Typically, I like to complete a cardio workout about 4–5 times a week. During this journey through COVID, I’ve been expanding many interests. I discovered I can enjoy different recorded performances by The Metropolitan Opera every night for free. I’ve learned how to finger-knit, so when I need a break from the computer, I am making scarves and hats to donate to Goodwill. And then, there’s cooking. I’ve been expanding my vegetarian and Japanese menu options, thanks to some great online sites like Sweet Potato Soul and Just One Cookbook.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I really appreciate and am fascinated by all types of science and creative expression. The creativity demonstrated in the Marvel Comics movie, Black Panther, was fantastic. I think I would like to be Shuri, the sister of the Black Panther. She is a scientific genius and she is a fighter. The power of a strong mind can change the world.
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