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GPI - Robin Kurkomelis, Administrative Assistant, Dean of Students Office 

A woman with blue eyes smiling.
Courtesy of Robin Kurkomelis

By Izabela Gage

Staff Writer 

What is your academic and professional background?

I have a B.A. in English from the University of Southern Maine (USM), and I am two classes shy of a B.A. in Music from USM. My instrument is the violoncello. I received my master’s degree in human resource management from FSU in 2019. I started as a biology major, but I took a Shakespeare course at USM and changed my major to English and I developed an interest in early women writers and composers. Professionally, while earning my degree, I worked as a university librarian and thought I would utilize my English degree by becoming a music librarian. I then worked at the L.L. Bean flagship store during the summer of my first year at USM. I was lucky that I had numerous opportunities to try out different outdoor activities such as kayaking and fly-fishing and was hand-picked to write the retail newsletter and coordinate the seasonal events. When I received my degree, I relocated to Boston and worked in administrative positions at an investment bank, the Boston Symphony, and as an agency recruiter. It was through these positions that I was introduced to human resources and changed my focus, and began to work in that industry. … After taking a break to be an at-home mom for our daughter, I returned to the workforce at FSU in an administrative position for The Gatepost. I left after a year and a half to work for CASA. In the spring of 2015, my family was ready for me to return to the workforce full-time, and since I liked FSU, I applied for the open full-time administrative assistant role in the Dean of Students Office and got the position. I have been here for almost nine years. 

What do you enjoy about working in the Dean of Students Office? 

My job title is administrative assistant to the dean of students, and part of that role is receptionist for the office. I always say that all of your jobs have transferable skills, so it is important to do the best job you can at whatever you are doing - you never know where it will lead you. Being a librarian and working in retail, you become used to greeting people and asking questions about how you can be helpful - that’s what I do now. I want to be helpful to students and a resource for people who have questions and don’t know where to go, or how to navigate work or school. I always wished I had a “Robin” when I went to school, so I am trying to be that person who students can go to, ask questions, etcetera.

How do you think your previous roles around campus help you better support students? 

All of those roles have been in student affairs and it has been helpful to understand our students and how all of the offices work together and the processes involved. As a result, the transition to the dean's office was very seamless.

What do you think are some of the largest issues students face?

Getting back into social interactions following the isolation many of us felt during the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel it has become easier to text or email instead of having a face-to-face conversation and it can be hard to make that transition and get used to people again. Many of our students are Gen One, and like me, juggle both academics and how to pay for school, so they are working one or more jobs, or have to put academics on the back burner. I was that student, and it took me almost nine years to complete my undergraduate degree, and I understand the challenges they face and I work hard to assist them to find the resources they need.

What is some advice you have for students? 

I always ask my student workers after they have worked for me for a few weeks, “What advice would you have given your first-year, first-day self when you arrived on campus?” Overwhelmingly, students have smiled and said things like, “It will be OK,” “Get engaged,” and “I didn’t know I would like [college] so much.” I echo that feedback and share that, yes, it is OK to feel nervous and have a learning curve. It is good to recognize those feelings and learn how to navigate them and realize it is a process. I also encourage students to take care of their well-being, meet lots of people, attend everything they can, study hard, get help when they need it, and realize that faculty and staff are here to help you succeed and celebrate you! Finally, don’t forget the support that brought you here.

What are your interests?

I love art, especially Gustav Klimt, Elliott Puckette, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and I enjoy learning more about local artists. One of the things I learned was that I love hiking and in 1991, I was one of two L.L. Bean women to summit Mt. Katahdin in the winter and then returned that summer to Baxter State Park to complete the last 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail. My genuine love, however, is biking. I have completed numerous trips up and down the coast of Maine and Massachusetts. Even with all of my outdoor interests, I love city living and on my bucket list is to bike and hike in the Netherlands, live in a boathouse, and learn to play the viola.



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