NECPA Award Winner Spotlight- Musbah Shaheen

Graduate Student of the Year Winner- Musbah Shaheen

What do you love most about working at University of Vermont?

My favorite part about UVM is the people who have supported me and helped me grow and develop. My mentors, advisors, and friends have all made the experience here at the University of Vermont so rich and fulfilling.

Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?

My undergraduate experience was very empowering in that my involvements on campus helped me become more authentic and to form meaningful relationships with people.

I also had a fantastic mentor who took me under her wing and helped me make sense of who I am and who I want to be. My mentor illuminated to me how a career in higher education could help me fulfill my goals in creating change and supporting others. Seeing how my mentor carried herself in her work and personal life continues to be an inspiration to me.

What advice would you offer to new professionals who are starting their first professional position?

Be true to your values and find ways to incorporate those values into your work. Find ways to support the institution without compromising your voice and narrative.

There is so much to learn out there so be open to new perspectives. The students I work with have taught me so much about myself and how I could be a better support system for others.

NECPA Award Winner Spotlight- Brian Mannion

Access and Inclusion Award Winner- Brian Mannion

What do you love most about working at Endicott College?

I love working at Endicott College because I love working with emerging adults on developing a greater understanding of who they are and how they fit into their world.  As a therapist I get the unique ability to work with students in the clinical setting as well as through student affairs programming. I have been so grateful to Endicott for all the opportunities to develop new programming to support our students of diverse backgrounds and identities.

Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?

My journey into Higher Education was a unique one as I am a Mental Health Therapist by training.  In college I wanted to be a school counselor until my mentor inspired me to look more broadly at what I could do in the field of Mental Health.  Ultimately, in my graduate program I interned at a college counseling center and fell in love with the emerging adult population. I am inspired by the unique opportunity that our students have to redefine themselves and how they understand the world around them.

What advice would you offer to new professionals who are starting their first professional position?

For those starting out in their first professional position I would encourage them to keep an open mind.  I started here with purely clinical pursuits in mind; it wasn’t until a colleague asked me to co-advise the LGBTQ club on our campus that I started looking outside my individual clinical work.  There are an infinite number of ways to accomplish your goals so make sure to remain open to all the possible opportunities, perspectives, and people that you will meet throughout your career. My other piece of advice is to remember that burnout is a real thing.  We do complex and hard work so it is important to take the time you need for yourself to recharge!

NECPA Summit 2019- Call for Programs

We need you!

This year’s Summit encompasses a focus on providing professional development around social justice education. Speakers will focus on topics¬†related to the need for equity and unity within all groups in higher education.

Prior to submitting, please be prepared with the following information for your proposal submission: presenter and co-presenter contact information; session title; 3-6 sentence presentation summary with learning outcomes; target audience (graduate students/new professional/mid-level/senior staff).

Ready to Submit??

Have an idea for a program? Interested in presenting at Summit? Fill out our Program Proposal form here:

Deadline: Friday, April 12, 2019


ACPA Award Winner Spotlight- John Mejia


John Mejia, University of Vermont, Staff at the Office of Student & Community Relations

ACPA Award You Received:

Voice of Inclusion Award

What and/or who inspired you to pursue higher education as a profession, and how did you get into your current functional area?

Like a lot of folks, I was inspired to pursue higher education as a profession because as a queer person of color from a working poor background with undocumented parents, it was culturally competent and engaged higher education professionals that made it possible for me to succeed in college. I just want to pay it forward.

How did you get involved with ACPA, and what keeps you involved?

I have participated in some way with all of the largest higher education associations but I fell in love with ACPA from the first conference I attended. It is an organization that lives its espoused values everyday. It is such a welcoming and generous organization with incredibly thoughtful and committed leadership.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?

The most important thing at the end of the day is maintaining strong, authentic relationships and those require one to make all decisions (regardless of how large or small) that are in line with your values, demonstrates impeachable integrity and the willingness to be vulnerable, empathetic and honest.

Outside of higher education, what makes you tick?

Raising my fur babies (Juniper the Pug and Justify the Mastiff Mix), reading voraciously, writing (and on occasion, publishing), visual arts, caring for plants, learning new languages, learning to use public transportation systems in different countries, coffee, running marathons, being in nature, fundraising for good causes, being certified to do things, and spending time with the people I love.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with NECPA members?

I am thrilled to be in community with you and share the responsibility of making the future a better place for everyone. If you think I could ever be helpful in some way don’t hesitate to reach out and I will do my best to help!