Mount Mercy University (Cedar Rapids, IA)
How did you become the dean of admissions at Mount Mercy? What made you decide to get into this field?
Like most, my career path has been fairly nonlinear. After graduating from college, I moved to New York to make my big mark on Broadway. I quickly learned a theatre career was not in the cards. Fortunately, I had the great opportunity to start my first “real” job as an administrative assistant at The Juilliard School. The beautiful state of Iowa soon called me back and I started graduate school, earning my master's and doctorate in music, and a 10-year run of adjunct teaching, performing, and working in research at the University of Iowa. An opportunity at my alma mater, Central College, opened up and my love of admission began. I was promoted through the ranks at Central, then headed to the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and from there, Mount Mercy University. I truly enjoy the chance to wear many hats and to help students start their new exciting chapter of life. I’ve been especially fortunate to have great mentors and supportive colleagues in my various roles throughout the years.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I joined the admission field because I loved working with students and parents (and still do). But, as my role has expanded, I enjoy mentoring and training younger admission professionals and helping them grow in their careers.
You are the president of IACAC. What made you get involved at the regional level and how does it play a role in your career?
I was lucky to have a very supportive boss when I first started in admission that encouraged participation in the Iowa ACAC. I got involved in small ways early in my career but, when I returned to Iowa several years ago, I knew I wanted to reconnect with my colleagues in the state. I first served as an Assembly delegate and then was asked to consider the presidential role. While I thought being ACAC president would be a good way to “give back,” I have found that I’m gaining so much more from the role that what I imagined. I love the connections and expanded knowledge base Iowa ACAC has given me. I hope I can continue to support and be of service to my colleagues throughout the state.
How has NACAC helped you as an admission professional?
I’ve always been interested in the broader field of admission and NACAC is a great repository of information and, importantly, connects me to many colleagues all over the country. I look to the organization and my NACAC peers when I’m in need of advice or guidance on various issues. We can all get tunnel vision in our day-to-day work, so It’s very helpful to take a step back and get the “big picture.” NACAC helps me do that.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing counselors today?
Well, certainly the rising costs of education and the public perception of the value of higher education are high on the list. Additionally, I think we can all become complacent about our own institutional policies and practices. We need to ask ourselves if our policies are truly in the best interest of students and, if not, change them. If we are genuinely committed to diversity, access, and inclusion, we need to look first at ourselves and be part of the solution.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Sleep! Did I tell you I’m mom to two teenagers? Life is pretty busy supporting all their activities. I also enjoy reading and listening to music when I can fit it in.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Indiana Jones. I think it would be really cool to explore the world looking for ancient relics and treasure.
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