NECPA Graduate Spotlight February 2021 – Amanda Higgins

Smiling young woman (Amanda Higgins) in sweater.

Name:  Amanda Higgins

School: University of Connecticut

Program:  Higher Education and Student Affairs

Type: Master’s

Current employer: UConn Center for Students with Disabilities – Assistantship

What do you love about working there?

I love the opportunity to communicate with a wide variety of individuals. I also love the challenge of managing complex processes.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I typically travel as much as possible. During this pandemic I have been spending a lot of time on YouTube watching cooking channels.

What is your favorite grad school course/experience and why?

My favorite courses and experiences were our Practicum courses. These experiential learning courses were awesome opportunities to work in other offices on campus while focusing on growing my skillset and professional network. I did two practicums in academic advising offices, which set me up for success in the job search.

Who/what inspired you to get involved in higher education?

As an undergrad I worked with some awesome individuals working in student affairs so when I was looking for a career change I had great mentors to help me make the switch to higher ed. I also knew I enjoyed working with college students and I felt supported in the switch from corporate life to higher ed.

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

No two students are the same! It’s important to meet students where they are and adjust my advising style to meet their needs.

What advice would you offer to those who are starting to search for grad programs?

Identify what your goal is for your role after grad school. If you would like a more advising or counseling based role, make sure the program you choose incorporates those components. Additionally, I would recommend speaking to current students in the program about what their typical days look like and any information they can provide about the program.

Do you have someone you’d like to be featured as NECPA’s graduate student of the month? Nominate them here!

Bylaws Revision Voting

The NECPA Executive Board has determined that the bylaws, originally prepared in Fall of 2015 and enacted January 1, 2016, need updating to most accurately reflect who we are as the New England Chapter of ACPA and to bring the bylaws into alignment with what we have learned from the past five years of existence as a Regional ACPA Chapter.

Now, it is time for our members to vote on the revisions the Executive Board have proposed. Thank you for participating in the NECPA governance process and helping the Board create an organization that you are proud to be a member of.

Support Presenters from New England at ACPA 2021

This year’s ACPA 2021 Convention features many student affairs professionals from the New England region. The virtual convention will be occurring during the course three weeks. There will be sessions on March 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, and 17th. We encourage you to attend and support the presenters from our region as well as the convention. You can learn more about the ACPA21 convention by visiting:

PresenterInstitutionSection NumberSession Name
Gavin HenningNew England College2010Pre-Convention Workshop: Implementing Socially Just Assessment: Methods for Practice
Luz Gurgos-LopezUniversity of Connecticut1021Research-in-Process: Anti-Blackness and the Monolith Construction of Higher Education Latinidad
Cherry LimBunker Hill Community College2060Convention Program: Exploring Multilingual Advising: Challenges and Best Practices
Janelle Raymundo Joel OntiverosUniversity of Vermont2187Convention Program: Revitalizing Our Digital Presence: Using Strategic Marketing for Graduate Programs
Milagros Castillo-Montoya Ashley RobinsonUniversity of Connecticut2170Convention Program: An Institutional Transformation Approach to Recruiting Racially Minoritized Faculty
Gavin HenningNew England College2011Convention Program: Assessment as a Tool for Equity and Inclusion
Ashley RobinsonUniversity of Connecticut1029Research-in-Process: The Personal is Professional” Exploring Emerging Student Affairs Professionals’ Intimacies
Carolina DavilaYale University2031Convention Program: Latinix Cultural Centers: Countering hegemonic notions of Latinidad through anti-colonialism
Sarah StewartUniversity of Connecticut1031Research-in-Process: Finding Our Voice: Combating Anti-Blackness and COVID-19 in Higher Education.
Michael GiacaloneRhode Island College2043Convention Program: Supporting the Greek-Letter Organization Experience for Commuter Students
Gavin HenningNew England College2026Research & Practice Poster: Assessment, Evaluation, and Research (AER); Student Learning and Development (SLD)
Kari WattSpringfield College2123  Research and Practice Poster: Assessing and Promoting Critical Consciousness Development Among Marginalized Students
Daniel Solworth Stacey Harris  Boston University2141Research and Practice Poster: A Queer Cocurricular Can Indeed Change the World
Kenny Nienhusser Omar RomandiaUniversity of Connecticut2202Research and Practice Poster: Support Undocumented Immigrants in the Current COVID-19 Era

NECPA Award Winner Spotlight – Tricia Dyer

Accomplished Leader of the Year Award Winner – Tricia Dyer

What do you love most about working at your institution, or higher education in general?

I love assisting a student through their academic career and watching them grow throughout their college experience.  That final moment when they walk across the stage and I know that I made a difference for that student.

Who inspired you to get involved in higher education?

My mother and father encouraged me to continue my education and attend college.  My mother was a high school teacher (turned stay-at-home mother of 5 children) and my father was a mechanic (GED and some trade school).  Both of them wanted me to expand my career opportunities via a college education.  My undergraduate degree was in Teacher Education.  Once completed, they supported my plan to attend graduate school.  I was the first in my family to attain my Master’s degree.  They were extremely supportive and encouraged me to continue working in higher education.

Additionally, two significant role models have shaped me into the higher education professional that I am today.  Both encouraged me and pushed me to get out of my comfort zone.  Although uncomfortable at times, these are the times that I grew most in my professional career.

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

*The process of learning and the process of change are never ending.  When you think you are done . . . you are really just starting.    

*Be humble enough to know you are not always right and there may be another way to get to the same solution.

*Do Your Best – No matter the task

*Balance work and life – Time and Health cannot be recouped.