Melina Bourdeau/THE GATEPOST
By James Sheridan
What are your thoughts on receiving the Dr. Robert Martin Outstanding First-Year Advocate
I am honored to receive the award because Dr. Martin was here when I was here, and he is a wonderful advocate for students, and he did a lot for First-year students, so to receive an award named after him was quite an honor. It was very exciting to be recognized for working with first-year students.
Can you give a small summary of your educational background?
I received my bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in psychology and sociology, and then I received my Masters Degree from Boston College in higher Ed administration. I have worked primarily in student affairs. I was a residence hall director and I was a residence coordinator at a different school. I’ve done some academic advising, and I’ve actually been at Framingham State since October of 2000 in the role of director of student involvement.
What was your favorite course while you were in college?
I think as an undergrad it was Marriage and the Family. I had done some undergraduate research and assisted the professor, so it was a little bit smaller sized class – it was really good. Then, as a graduate student, it was probably a college student development course that focused on student development. I think they were my favorite because they were applicable to my life-they made sense to me.
What was your best undergraduate experience?
Probably being a resident assistant. It led me to a career path, but I learned a lot about myself in terms of working in a diverse community and working with others. That was not part of my experience as a high school student – I had grown up in a really small town, so to work at a large university as an RA was very eye opening and I had a wonderful mentor who was my supervisor. And I really enjoyed working with the other RAs. It was a lot of fun and that is where I really figured out what it is I like to do. I really like to do programing – like floor programming and socials.
What would students be surprised to know about you?
The students that I work with directly would probably be surprised to 9nd out that I do not like ice-breakers or team-builders – but I make everybody do them anyway. I just have never enjoyed them. They are necessary and they serve a purpose, but that was never something that I was the first to volunteer to do in terms of being silly in front of a group.
What is the best part of your job?
Every day is different. There is always something different that comes across my desk in terms of working with different clubs and the events they are planning. Obviously, the different personalities that come through the door are always unique and challenging. The second thing would be that you really get to see the growth and development from the time someone enters until they graduate. During the time someone is here and enrolled, there are so many dramatic changes – even though there are small little steps – you can really see a large difference from the time they enter to when they walk across the stage at commencement. It is very rewarding in that sense.
Are there any projects or initiatives you are working on currently?
I’m working on the co-curricular transcript and how we would implement that on campus. We just developed a new process for new clubs forming because we have had a huge increase in proposed clubs in the last two to three years, so we are trying to streamline the process. And then other than that, we are really trying to keep up because we have a lot of people going on family leave, so we are a little down on our staff, so we are trying to be efficient.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Know it’s OK to step out of your comfort zone, but also always remember why it is that you came to school. Keep that in your back pocket, that you came here to get an education, but do not be afraid to try new things or go to an event by yourself or go to a club meeting by yourself and seek out the resources you need.