NECPA Note

NECPA Graduate Spotlight April – Tierra Saunders

Woman smiling in graduation attire.

Name: Tierra Saunders

School: Post University

Program:   Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

Type: Master’s

Current employer:  Admissions Counselor at Post University

What do you love about working there?

The culture of Post University is amazing! When I first started working at Post I was immediately welcomed. Everyone on the team that I work with are absolutely amazing. We all help each other out no matter what office you are working in. This is also my first job after college and I got so lucky. It made me fall in love with higher education even more. Also, I love that everyday I am helping a student not only pursue a degree but also pursue their dream. Changing lives one day at a time!

How do you like to spend your free time?

Currently I have been doing a lot of cooking in my free time, I have a million recipes saved on Pintrest. Usually while I am cooking I listen to Podcasts, currently I am obsessed with My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. When I am not cooking, I like to shopping, workout, and read.

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

My favorite grad school course is Legal Practices and Ethics in Student Affairs. Professionals in student affairs face many ethical dilemmas every day and it’s super important that we are familiar with the legal foundations and laws that govern higher education.

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

In my undergraduate experiences I was a student worker in the Admissions Office and Career Development Center. Also, I interned with the Institutional Research and Planning office. Having the experience of seeing the inside workings of higher education and having the opportunity to work closely with student affairs professionals inspired me to want to get involved with higher education.

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

Success is not a straight line. I can be way too hard on myself at times because I want to make sure that I am successful in everything that I do. I realized that sometimes we are going to have obstacles that may lead you to fail and that is okay. You just have to pick yourself up and keep going as well as learn from those mistakes. That’s what really makes a person successful, accepting that it will not be a straight line and being able to get over those curves.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?

I definitely would like to work with a Career Development Center again, I enjoyed working there as a student and I also see the importance on helping students with finding work after they graduate and providing them the tools to be successful. I would also like to be a Dean or a Director of a program some day.

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

Take your time, graduate programs will always be there and you want to make sure you choose the perfect one for you. Reach out to graduate admissions and chat with them over the phone instead of just having information sent through the mail or e-mail. Make a list of questions that you may have so you do not forget to ask them. Also if you have friends currently in the same program that are you interested reach out to them as well and ask them about their experience.

Do you have someone you’d like to be featured as NECPA’s graduate student of the month? Nominate them here!
https://forms.gle/HzuFswPqRtFbfvcS8

NECPA Graduate Spotlight March – Briana Petrucelli

Smiling woman in professional atire.

Name: Briana Petrucelli

School: Springfield College

Program:  Student Affairs Administration

Type: Master’s

Current employer:  Student Affairs Graduate Assistant at Springfield College

What do you love about working there?

I love the community environment, close knit cohort, and network of support offered to students in our program. Springfield College is a wonderful community to be a part of and has enabled me to be apart of so many opportunities to grow as an aspiring professional.

How do you like to spend your free time?

In my free time I love to hang out with my dogs (Brady & Kona), hike, try out new spots to eat, and go shopping.

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

My favorite course thus far has been my Higher Education & Law course. I not only do I love the engaging material and topics but the case studies that supplement the course. I feel that this hands on approach coupled with the guest speakers that join our class sessions make it that much more fascinating to learn about.

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

During my undergraduate experience I was selected to be a Peer Advisor. It was through this program mentoring first-year students that I felt fulfilled, resourceful and inspired in my work helping students. When it came time to decide my future plans I looked to my interests and this opportunity verified that the field of Higher Education was what I was supposed to be pursuing!

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

There will always be challenges & roadblocks in our work but it is how your respond to them that matter most.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?

I would love to spend a term at an institution abroad to see how they do business and make me a more well rounded professional.

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

Don’t take any opportunity off the table- the right match is out there and you will find it!

ACPA 2020 Professional Spotlight – Matthew Gregory

Presentation Topic: So, You want to be a Senior SA Pro?

By Matthew Gregory

There are three reasons behind choosing this topic:

  1. As the Vice Chair for Membership for the Commission for Administrative Leadership – the goal is to continually encourage those who are beginning in the field or growing in the field to be comfortable about what the future will be for Student Affairs Leadership.
  1. The session hopes to meet with those who are working towards being senior staff members and finding out where they are in their journey and what sorts of goals they have and questions they have as they move up into these roles.
  1. The session will review a recent Senior Roundtable where questions and feedback was solicited from multiple senior SA pro’s and hopefully provide some suggestions on what to be prepared for and learn from those who have been in their senior roles for either a short or lengthy period of time.

NECPA Graduate Spotlight February – Kristina Perreli

Name: Kristina Perrelli

School: University of Rhode Island

Program: Education

Type: Doctoral

Current employer: Currently, I am the Director of New Student Programs and part-time faculty at my institution.

What do you love about working there?

I have most enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and students. I have had opportunities to partner with faculty on research and writing, which has helped me develop as a scholar. I have worked with colleagues on many projects, including a professional development course on social justice for administrators. Students at my institution have gifted me so many learning opportunities that have impacted my teaching and that ways I work and show up in spaces as a student affairs practitioner.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend most of my free time with my partner and three children. We like to explore our home state of Rhode Island and to travel. If I have a free hour, I will most likely do some kind of physical exercise or go for a walk. Time outside and exercise are important to my overall well-being. I love reading for fun and to continue learning about all the topics that are exciting to me.

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

I have had so many! My most favorite course experience was an independent study centered on teaching. I engaged in daily reflection while teaching a graduate course in my field. I reflected on my expectations for the experience, what happened in the classroom, and the strengths and challenges I experienced while preparing for and teaching the course. With support from a faculty mentor who is an excellent teacher, I had many learning moments. It helped shape the processes and lenses that continue to inform my teaching.

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

As a first-generation college student, I was the first in my family to navigate the structures and systems of higher education. The challenges and successes I experienced inside and outside the classroom during my undergraduate years led me to the field of student affairs. When making decisions about my career after college, I knew I wanted to help students navigate college.

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

So far, it is the value of cultivating community. I found the doctoral experience to be isolating at times. I have experienced similar isolation in work spaces. For me, community is built from feeling supported and working to support others. Identifying what supports feels like for me and then cultivating supportive relationships and spaces has proven essential to my ability to move forward in my scholarship and work.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?

I hope to someday support and mentor graduate students. So much of my experience has been shaped by others. I feel lucky to have mentoring relationships built on care and mutual respect. I want to continue that tradition.

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

I recommend doing what you can to learn about the culture of grad programs of interest to you. Think about the environment you want to learn in and ask questions that help you discern whether you will find that environment in a program. For me, those questions were: What are the mentoring philosophies of program faculty? How is social justice integrated into curriculum and teaching? Does the program create opportunities to engage in meaningful ways with students, faculty, and other scholars in my field? Am I able to take courses from other disciplines if this program does not offer content integral to my scholarship or interests? I also recommend talking with current and former students about their experiences. Ask what they like about the program and how the program can improve.