Soka University of America (CA)
What got you interested in this field?
I went to a public high school and my counselor discouraged me from applying to the University of Redlands. He said it was a private school that I wasn’t likely to get into and, even if I did get in, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Ignoring him, I did apply and was admitted. During my first year at Redlands, I realized I wanted to encourage students at my high school to apply for Redlands. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there is an entire profession of people who can encourage students from all over the world to strive for seemingly insurmountable goals and to continue their education beyond high school.
How did you become the Assistant Director of Admission and Outreach at Soka University of America?
After about a year-and-a-half of working at Soka as an Admission Recruitment Counselor, I approached my supervisor, Andrew Woolsey, regarding my hope to incorporate a more nuanced outreach focus. Together, he and I designed the Admission Outreach Coordinator position. Following an additional two years of working in that capacity and building out the outreach program here, I was promoted to the Assistant Director of Admission and Outreach, another position I worked with my supervisor to design.
How does NACAC play a role in your career?
NACAC has been integral not only in connecting me with colleagues across the country, but also in the opportunities to find organizations, students, and friends. Through College Fairs, the spectacular professional development conferences, and the various opportunities I have had to find mentors, NACAC has been truly beneficial to not only the work that I do, but my growth on a personal level.
Do you have any advice for professionals who are new to the field?
Don’t get comfortable! Arrive early to college fairs and meet colleagues from different institutions; build relationships with high school counselors and organizations, not only for your institution but for yourself! Imagine admissions as a career. This does not have to be a 1-3-year job. There are many facets to what we do and how we do it. Be innovative, find your niche, explore, and try to present at as many conferences as possible!
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing counselors today?
I believe recruiting diverse students in the current political landscape can be challenging for our profession. Additionally, with the Department of Education potentially changing rules or opportunities with financial aid, we may have difficulty supporting students that need it most. Being on the frontlines of college admission and access, these will be the challenging to speak to and to advise students on going forward.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love to dance! You will catch me dancing at college fairs, at conferences and, oftentimes, after work. I also enjoy spending time with my twin brother, playing video games, and reading way too many articles.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would be Jerry from Tom & Jerry because he’s so smart, but also, he just wants to hang out and have his cheese (or some of Tom’s milk).
Is there anything else you would like to add?
July 26 will be my last day at Soka University of America as I am leaving to pursue my Ph.D. in History and African American Studies at Penn State University. NACAC and its members have been my family, friends, supporters, and mentors on this path, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity.
However, I do not intend to imply that this is my last year in the admission field. I plan to stay involved and will (hopefully) be at the National Conference in Boston this September.
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