M.A. in History, 2006; Student Affairs Counselor
School of Education
June 1, 2009
Admissions Counselor’s Wide-ranging Interests and Talents Benefit Department
Growing up as a farmer in Nebraska, I quickly learned the value of education. I read voraciously everything put anywhere near me. I have always been interested in literature, society, and culture, so when I attended the University of Nebraska, I majored in English. After a study-abroad program at Oxford University (Mansfield College), I gained an avid interest in the world as well, and added an international relations major. From there, I continued my education and acquired two masters degrees: in English from the University of Nebraska and in History from UC Irvine. My research interests were the cultural influences of North Africa on early-modern (15th – 18th Century) England. Specifically, I studied the English representation of Africans and the interpretation of the Geographical Historie of Africa by Al Hassan Ibn Muhammad Al Wazzan Al Fasi (known in the European world as John Leo Africanus), an educated Moroccan Arab given to the Pope as a slave in 1518. My research interests and the history degree program brought me to Irvine, but my desire to help others on a personal level is what brought me to become the Admissions Counselor for the Department of Education. In my position, I advise students about educational opportunities available to them, participate in recruitment activities for the department, track applications, and update program materials for distribution.
Reflecting back on my life in Nebraska, I am aware of the sacrifices many make to get an education. This awareness has developed into an interest in social justice and my participation in such activities as Habitat for Humanity and working with students with disabilities. My interest in the international community has evolved in my participation in the Communications Club at UCI as a conversation partner. I also spent my evenings for two years acquiring a certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, CA). I use these skills to tutor ESL. I also have a goal of teaching ESL to adults and English at the Community College level.
In addition to my commitment to education, I sought out training in grant writing and grant management, which I used at the University of Nebraska as Program Coordinator for the McNair Program, which taught first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented undergraduates how to obtain their Ph.D. In this program, I gave seminars on time management, poster and PowerPoint presentations, writing personal statements, locating graduate funding, and the application process. I also saw a need for our students to have a specialized Graduate Records Exam (GRE) class that catered to their experience levels, so I co-developed a GRE class and materials and managed a staff of three GRE teachers. McNair showed me that there is a need for accessible information. I taught myself to use a variety of computer programs so that I could provide information at the touch of a button. I’ve incorporated those skills here at UC Irvine by utilizing web technologies and innovations (webinars, Facebook, interactive websites) to bring the message of education to a broader audience.
Access to information is key to success, and I have been encouraged by this Department’s willingness to update. I’ve incorporated my talents in recruiting by organizing and streamlining the application tracking and response processes, and have been led by Judi Conroy, Peter Jones, and Hyuk Kang, who have developed an online interface for students to check the status of their application materials. Their efforts have cut down our costs by reducing the number of phone calls and drop-ins of students checking their file status and components, but has also reduced the cost of our admit packets because it contains all of our publications, announcements, and requirement PDFs.
Additionally, I’ve developed a comprehensive Credential and MAT PDF which includes information as detailed as how much a starting teacher is paid and how to obtain childcare at UC Irvine. This document can easily be emailed to any prospective student to provide basic information in an appealing way, which enhances what we currently offer on our website. In accordance with this desire to provide information, I firmly believe that, at any given time, we should be able to locate all pieces of a file, both electronically and in paper format. The same information should be available about our recruitment events. With Judi Conroy, Marie Nubia-Feliciano, and Jose Ramirez, I’m strategizing our recruitment events and materials so that we are more competitive, our events are publicized, and the best use is made of department funds. In fact, I’m working to establish a set of contacts so that many departments attending the same recruitment event can carpool to increase our savings. My future plans include increasing the department visibility on campus by attending classrooms and events, and off-campus by utilizing inexpensive publicity options like Craigslist and the OC Register’s public event calendar.
Since arriving here in August of 2008, I’ve been impressed with the Department’s commitment to helping individual students succeed, and I strive to contribute to that atmosphere.