Graduate Student Spotlight – Sean Ballard

Meet Sean Ballard!


Where are you working right now?

                I am currently working at New England College in Henniker, NH, as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Student Engagement.


 What do you love about working there?

                I love the atmosphere of the office and working together with fellow staff members to develop and implement programs for students. I enjoy making the personal connections with students here as well, along with building connections with the staff and faculty.


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

                When I am not working at my Assistantship, I spend a lot of time doing homework. I also spend time on the weekends going out with the Higher Ed. Cohort by exploring some of the attractions in the area and attending some of the New England College Hockey games.


What is your favorite grad school class and why?

                My favorite grad school class thus far, would be Contemporary Issues in Higher Education. I took this class last term and really enjoyed it. The discussions that we had around different institutions and the many things related to our impact on higher education were informative and empowering. My Professor Beckie Elkins, really encouraged us to think, and speak freely on our thoughts of some of the issues facing institutions today. The dialogue was great and I believe it was because of the great facilitation that was part of that class.


Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?

                My mentor, Jennifer Ferrell, was really the individual who inspired me to go into a career within Higher Education. Her dedication and passion to work with students, is something that I hope I can achieve in my future work. She has no idea how much of an influence she has had on my life and in my career thus far. The amount of support and opportunities she has granted me will forever be remembered and I will be forever grateful to her.


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

                I have learned the value of actively listening to students to really seeking to understand as to be understood. The amount of support that we provide to students is rewarding on so many levels and everyday within higher education is different. I think that’s what I love the most, going into work every day and knowing something different and exciting may happen.


What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?

                I would say, my Higher Ed bucket list consists of becoming an Assistant Director of Student Involvement, and become a Director of Student Involvement after that. I also aspire to be a Dean of Students or a Vice President of Student Affairs, after I receive my doctorate degree, which I hope to obtain during my higher education profession.


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

                Some advice that I would give to undergraduate students finding their grad school search is to make sure they are picking an institution that is the right fit for them. I think in order for grad students to truly thrive at their institution they need to be passionate about the institution and it’s goals and values. I would also recommend and encourage students to look into a 1 year accelerated program. They are very fast paced and can be tiring at times, but they are definitely worth it.