Graduate Student Spotlight: Christina Mchugh

img_07891Christina Mchugh

Where are you working right now?

-I am currently a graduate assistant at New England College in the office of Diversity and Inclusion along with the staff advisor for Adventure bound which is a student run organization that facilitates school programs along with our educational ropes course. I collectively oversee approximately 60 students.

What do you love about working there?

-The close-knit family feel is extremely important because I came from a fairly small undergraduate program and high school. New England College is in a small secluded rural area, close enough to a larger city, and yet has a small-town feel. The staff, faculty, and students have made me feel included and welcomed from the first day I stepped foot on campus. I am encouraged daily by my peers, students, and mentors to strive for success.

When you aren’t working, how do you spend your free time?

-My free time is spent by seeing athletic games collegiate and professional. Growing up in a predominantly male household, I have become accustomed to enjoying athletic games. I also, enjoy cooking. A typical Sunday night involves football on the tv, and something in the oven.

What is your favorite grad school class and why?

-My favorite grad class thus far would have to be helping and advising college students. My dreams and goals are to inspire the younger generations to have goals and dreams, then achieve them. In this course I was encouraged to have the uncomfortable conversation with a student, then how to advise them to the best of my abilities.

Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?

-To be frank, it was myself. My undergraduate degree was something I knew when I was a senior I was no longer passionate about. I, then realized I should get more education. I started my Graduate degree pursuing a MBA, after taking 5 weeks of classes it was obvious that I was still in the wrong field. I, then, turned to my mentors from my undergrad and my current boss, asking if it made sense to purse a degree in HEA. The answer was unanimous and obvious to everyone but myself.

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

-The most valuable lesson I have learned thus far in my career would be, failure is okay. It is what you do after you fail that makes or breaks you.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?

-My ultimate end goal in life would be, to become a Dean of Students. I care deeply about the voice a student has. Both my undergraduate and graduate schools have a DOS who inspire students every day. I want students to be able to walk into my office and feel welcomed, and more importantly safe.

-Another notch on my higher ed bucket list would be to work somewhere outside of my geographic region (north east). I would like to experience cultural differences we have in this country. I grew up in an urban area, and have attended institutions in rural areas. I would love to work somewhere on the west coast or in the south.

What advice would you offer to undergraduate seniors who are staring to search for grad programs?
-Look for graduate assistantships. Do not depend your entire search on them however, they are a great deal of help financially and developmentally. Regardless if a student is looking into HEA, the process of finding an institution should be much different than when they were looking at undergraduate programs.

-It is okay to go into a graduate program that has NOTHING to do with your undergraduate degree.

-Go to grad school because you want to, not because it is the next logical step. Education is something no one can take away from you, use it in such a way that it transforms

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