Updated: Oct 11
By Kaitlin Carman
What is your educational and professional background?
I was born and raised in Warwick, Rhode Island, and attended high school there. Then I went to Emmanuel College in Boston, where I received a bachelor of arts in communication and media studies in 2019. I started working professionally as a program coordinator - activities coordinator - at Salve Regina University. During a gap year, I worked there from 2019 to 2021 as a program coordinator and was later promoted to assistant director of programming. While I was there, I also started graduate school part time. An opportunity presented itself for a position that would pay for the rest of my education at the University of Rhode Island, where I worked in 2022, and where I got my master's degree in 2023. I found what I love doing, which is event planning and working with people in a big organizational setting. Then I was like, “I can make college a job.” So then I just started doing that full time, which I love. After graduating, I was still working at the University of Rhode Island in June, because I did their orientation program this past year. Then I got this job and started in July.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I was inspired after working as an intern for my student activities office during my undergrad and I loved planning events. I loved being able to impact the masses by just planning one event. So I planned a ton of events as an event coordinator for a couple of different groups and I loved doing that. I started looking into what I could do in this career and that's when I found the job at Salve Regina. I also met my first mentor. Her name is Chiquita Baylor. She actually works at UMass Boston now. She's phenomenal! I love her and I give her so much credit for getting me into the field. After my year in higher education as a full-time staff member, I knew this was for me. I just love connecting with the students. There's always somebody who you can impact and that is just incredible - it’s so fulfilling to see.
What are some goals you would like to accomplish at Framingham State?
So our orientation program just went through a new transition. When I joined in July, we were in the first year of a three-year pilot program with an orientation that takes place three days before classes start. With that being in its first year, I really want to see this through its first three years. For any new program you implement, you do a year of trial, assess, get feedback, and restructure. My goal is to see this through the three years and decide if this model is going to be the best fit for our students. The only way we know that is if we hear from the students. We’re huge advocates of “students first.” I've seen institutions that assume student needs, and most of the time, it’s not what they need. We can try to hear what they need, and then react rather than assume.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to read all genres of books. I recently just got back into reading after being in graduate school for three years. I just got free time back in my schedule, which is really great. I'm an extrovert, a huge people person. I love being around people and hanging out with my friends. I also really enjoy traveling. I studied abroad in London and I got to travel every weekend. I would say that my favorite destination is the Amalfi Coast. It was the first place I ever went abroad and I love Italy.
What advice would you offer to new students during their transition to Framingham State?
My advice is you need to lean into the discomfort for it to feel comfortable. Every new experience is uncomfortable. There's never something that you start up that you're like, ‘I'm gonna be so good at this at the jump.’ You have to lean into the discomfort so that it can become comfortable and once you get past that discomfort, it becomes a family, a home, a place to belong and you feel happy in it. But that only happens when you get involved or seek help when you need it or understand the resources available to you and put in the work to make sure that transition happens how you need it because it's specific for everybody. Although the program is not individualized for every one of our students who come in every year, how are you making it so that it's individualized for you?
What is your favorite fall activity?
My favorite thing is pumpkin carving. You get to be messy but make something fun and you also get to eat the pumpkin seeds. My friends and I, for the past three years, we've done it and we're doing it again this year. There are four of us and we all take our seeds and each of us seasons the seeds differently to try various flavors. We get to have fun with it and we make an entire day of it. We'll go to a pumpkin patch together and although we are all in our late 20s, it’s like we're children again and we really enjoy it.