By Naidelly Coelho
Asst. News Editor
What is your educational and professional background?
I went to undergrad, where I got a degree in psychology. From there, I went to a master's program at the University of Maine. I'm originally from Maine and I went out of state for undergrad - love that state tuition. But, I started out in a counselor education program to become a clinical counselor, and then decided that I didn't really love that. I was an RA in college and I was doing an assistantship in grad school in Residence Life - I really liked that. So I ended up switching my major - by the way, that's a bad idea. But, I ended up getting a master's degree in higher education administration. And then, from there, I worked as a hall director. I worked as a hall director for three years at Brandeis University. I then went to Becker College in Worcester before they closed - they don't exist anymore. And I worked there for about five years as the Associate Director, doing mostly housing operations stuff, like the housing application, the housing selection process, all of those background things. And then in February of 2019, I started here at Framingham State as the Associate Director of Residence Life, doing most day-to-day stuff. From supervising the hall directors [to] I just got out of a meeting about RA selection because I oversee all of our major processes as far as RA selection, training, and that kind of thing.
What do you want the FSU community to know about your role?
The biggest thing to know about myself and anyone in Residence Life is that we're kind of like on-the-ground generalists. So if you live in the residence halls, or not, or if you know who we are, you can always feel free to ask questions or seek advice because I do a lot of different things within Residence Life, but I also have connections to a lot of different departments on campus, especially in the student affairs and the student services world. We can really help a lot. And if we personally can't help you or someone on my staff can't help you, 99% of the time, we can make a connection for you between the person who can actually help so, whether it's, “I don't know how to fill out my FAFSA,” - I got you. We’ll get you to someone in Financial Aid. We really can help with a lot of things. It doesn't just have to pertain to living in the residence halls.
How did you get involved in this line of work?
So, when I was in my sophomore year of college, I became an RA and I just really had a great time. I think it's like this weird little community family thing within Residence Life, especially when I was an RA. That's where I made most of my best friends in college. … You make these connections and it's just such a cool way to make connections with people you wouldn't make connections with before. And then also from a professional standpoint, my day is never the same. So there's always some standing stuff, but each day, there's usually something different whether it's a new challenge or an issue or something's going on. So it keeps you on your toes and keeps you engaged in what you're doing. And I just have the most fun getting to know students.
Do you have any hobbies outside of your role at FSU?
I like to read and I like to cook. I like to experiment in the kitchen and sometimes, it goes really badly. And then I spent a lot of time, especially over the pandemic, I started baking a lot when we were all shut down. But I have a very needy five-year-old labradoodle named Murphy, who keeps going for walks - doing that kind of thing. I also bought a house three years ago. So I'm trying to learn how to be a homeowner - from doing yard work to how to fix the leaky sink. So those things are not super-exciting hobbies, but they sort of take over a little bit of my time.
Do you have any advice for students?
I think my biggest advice for students and I think was really echoed in the Op/Ed from The Gatepost from last week, is don't be afraid to say something or to bring up an issue. And if you're having an issue or if there's something that you see that you don't love or like, have a conversation with someone because I know, for me, getting feedback and understanding what the student perspective is - it’s super important. And we're always willing to listen and do what we can to help correct the problem. … I can help guide you through it. So, I think that my biggest advice for anybody is always just to never be afraid to speak up. And to ask a question, or to get a better understanding of what's going on. My office door is always open. If there's an issue you want to talk about, or you want to understand something more, I'm always willing to have those conversations. So never be afraid to ask.