At the First Year Experience and Retention Initiatives office, we know what it’s like to transition to college life because we have been there too. Get to know the FYE staff and our unique college experiences. Hopefully our stories will help you feel connected and comfortable about sharing your journey with us.
Position: Assistant Director, First Year Experience and Retention Initiatives
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History and Theatre from Huntingdon College; Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama.
Campus Experience: When I decided to attend Huntingdon College, I knew that I was the only person from my high school that would be there. Therefore, I did not have a connection to anyone when I arrived on campus. I was also one of the first people in my family to attend college, which presented other issues and questions. I was not sure how I would fit in or make friends, but I knew from the moment that I walked on campus that I was in the right place. During orientation, my orientation leader stated that the best way to make friends was to get involved on campus. Therefore, I took that piece of advice to heart. I first got involved in the theater program and actively participated in all productions. From there I joined Freshman Forum and later began participating in the Student Government Association. My sophomore year, I joined a Panhellenic organization and eventually served as Chapter President. I was also selected as an Orientation Leader during my sophomore year, and I served in that role for two years. Additionally, I was selected into two honor societies: Omicron Delta Kappa and Alpha Psi Omega. My campus involvement helped me to develop deep ties to the college and provided me with a community of friends who supported me and challenged me throughout my college years and beyond. Furthermore, campus involvement provided an avenue for service to the institution and a way to give back. I am forever grateful to the students (especially that Orientation Leader) and staff members who invested in me, and I hope that I can give back to the campus in the same way.
Position: Coordinator, First Year Experience and Retention Initiatives
Education: Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from The University of Alabama; Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama.
Campus Experience: When I chose to attend The University of Alabama, I was excited for the chance to maximize my opportunities as a first generation college student while feeling anxious about the large (larger than my hometown!) population on campus. In my first year, I experienced a series of transitions including adapting to living with roommates, studying longer hours, and finding my place on campus. It wasn’t always easy being new to campus, but every success and failure helps to make you stronger. In order to overcome many of my adjustments, I looked to peers and mentors along with seeking out organizations that aligned with my passions. After facing some rejection and feeling uncertain about where I belonged, I received the opportunity to join Freshman Forum where I later took the role of co-chair for my small group. This small level of involvement my first year provided a wealth of opportunities for my future including being a member of Capstone Men & Women, the Honors College, and Residence Hall Association. No matter your passion, seek out ways to serve your university and involve yourself on campus. You will never know what you can achieve unless you try! Plus, you may get the added bonus of cheering on Crimson Tide football to 2 National Championships and making lifelong friends simply by discovering your place at UA.
Position: Graduate Assistant
Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University; Currently, pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama.
Campus Experience: I chose Georgia Southern University for the small feel and the large scale opportunities. Coming in as a first generation college student, I knew that my first year would be an important transition time that would determine if I could be successful in college. While attending orientation, I decided 2 things: 1) I want to be an orientation leader one day, and 2) I need to sign-up for this program called BUILD. BUILD was a leadership program focused on community service and helping students transition not only to Georgia Southern, but also to the city of Statesboro, GA. I was a BUILD participant in 2011, a BUILD leader in 2012, and a BUILD returner in 2013. Over the next two years, I became a member of our leadership program, president of Gamma Beta Phi honor society, a Student Government Association senator, a Peer Leader, captain of the women’s club soccer team, and an orientation leader and returner. I truly believe that each of these positions and opportunities helped me become a better student, leader, and professional. My advice to new students is open your mind to new opportunities because you never know where these opportunities will lead you later in your collegiate career and also later in life.
Interested in setting up a Transition Talk with one of these staff members? Complete the Transition Talk Form and we will be in contact soon!