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Meet Mattie T. Gaddy-Parks

Mattie T. Gaddy-ParksMattie T. Gaddy-Parks
Associate Director of Admissions
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NC)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I always wanted to work in a field that would make an impact on other’s lives, but I always thought it would be in journalism or as a teacher. Working in admission (college and high school) is very rewarding. I have the opportunity to foster young scholars and direct them as they pursue and achieve their academic endeavors. Admission is transformative profession and oftentimes can change a student’s life.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
It is definitely the students! Working in this profession gives me the opportunity to meet students from across the state. Each student is different and has a story to share. Our students are amazing! When they graduate, they go on to make indelible marks in society, our state, and nation. Knowing that I help influence individuals that become doctors, researchers, Broadway performers, educators, and even astronauts, makes my job fulfilling professionally and personally.

How has NACAC played a role in your career? 
NACAC is instrumental in introducing and connecting me to colleagues from around the country. I have been afforded opportunities to learn new processes and best practices to share with students and staff, not just on campus, but throughout my interactions with other educators and advocates. NACAC provides information about higher education and its mission, principles, and trends that impact admission. The conference sessions, newsletters, and emails influence my decision-making process and ultimately help me improve my work.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, all institutions are facing a challenge that we never anticipated. Ensuring that students, faculty, and staff are safe and have the necessary resources and tools for success is challenging. Unfortunately, many students in underserved communities have greater challenges like access to the internet and other resources. Another challenge in our profession is ensuring our student population is diverse, inclusive, and has equitable support to ensure their academic achievement.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I enjoy traveling, sporting events, seeking out decorating pieces that are different/unique, and relaxing with my family.

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Advocate, resilient, changemaker, spiritual, and fair.

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