Meet Jamiere Abney

Jamiere Abney
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission & Director of Multicultural Recruitment
Colgate University (NY)

How did you become the senior assistant dean of admission and director of multicultural recruitment at Colgate?
Like many people in the field, I kind of stumbled into the world of admission. Previously, I worked as a caseworker for child services. The work was literally life or death at times and the experience left me emotionally, mentally, and physically drained after one year. I really wanted to support young people, but knew this might not be the best avenue for me. So I sought out the energy and sense of home at my alma mater, Willamette University (OR).

After 2 ½ years with Willamette I became very interested in ways to have a broader impact and a deeper understanding of higher education. After earning my Master’s in Education, I looked for opportunities that would challenge me and stretch my capabilities. This role has allowed me to flex a lot of different intellectual and social skills. Colgate is such a unique place – picturesque rural scenery, small community, rigorous academics, and NCAA Division I athletics.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I got into this work because I love working with young people. I’m particularly interested in opportunities to advocate for, empower, and educate traditionally underserved student populations. From my previous professional experiences, I felt emboldened that I could bring a unique human element to this work. Further, as someone who comes from a similar background, I know that representation is powerful. Just showing up and being authentic can make a huge difference for some students. I enjoy the opportunity to provide insights and strategies that were foreign to me when I went through my own college search.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC has allowed me to engage broadly across the field with my peers from other institutions and gain knowledge about the overall landscape of higher education. Through NACAC I’ve been able to learn from industry leaders, keep touch with peers across the country, and continue to personally challenge myself as a professional. I attended my first NACAC conference in 2017 in Boston and followed that up with GWI this summer. Both left me with takeaways of how I’d like to improve my own practice and strategies to add to the overall work of the admissions team at Colgate.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing new counselors?
One of the hardest parts as a new admission counselor is the “trial by fire” nature of our work. While NACAC and regional affiliates provide useful professional resources, not all admission offices are able to take advantage. This places young counselors, who may be in their very first job out of college, in a tough dynamic trying to manage travel and build relationships without useful pro-tips to remain healthy and organized on the road. Further, even if you’re an alumna/us of the school you recruit for, you may quickly realize the singular nature of the experience you had with that campus. This lack of overall institutional knowledge, paired with a crazy travel schedule, can lead to a quick loss of confidence and burnout in a really amazing field.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I spend quite a bit of time with my fiancé and our dog Mowgli. We recently bought our first house. We’ve been enjoying exploring our new neighborhood and getting to know the community a bit more.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I read all of the books and saw each movie on opening night growing up. However, when I do those online sorting tests I’m always placed in Slytherin House. So I might not be Harry, but maybe more of his rival Draco Malfoy (hmm…?).

Describe yourself in five words.
An idealistic realist exploring life.

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