Student Shout-Out: Emma Wins SFPRRT Scholarship Award!

Now I know some of you may be thinking that this blog has been re-titled “Speaking of… Emma Gallagher” (given that this is the second post about Emma in the last few weeks)!  It has not (been renamed, that is), but Emma absolutely deserves today’s “Student Shout-Out” as she received a scholarship award this past Tuesday at the San Francisco Public Relations Round Table luncheon!


The San Francisco PR Round Table was founded in 1939 and is made up of public relations professionals who gather to network and learn from leaders in the field.  They also sponsor a scholarship award program for promising PR professionals.  Students from universities across the Bay Area were recognized at Tuesday’s luncheon (several of them were Master’s students!).  The chair scholarship committee of the San Francisco PR Round Table, Hatti Hamlin, told Emma “We had a very strong group of candidates, but our interviewers felt you were a standout. In fact, in the words of one of your interviewers, ‘She blew me away!'”

I was lucky enough to attend the luncheon as Emma’s guest.  Professor Pabst from the advertising program also attended as a guest of one of the board members.  We ate some yummy food, learned about the Presidio Parkway construction, and heard people say glowing things about Emma!

This is the second year in a row that a USF Communication Studies major has won the award!  Last year Kelly Sanders won!  Who will win next year?  Let’s keep the record going…

Congratulations, Emma!


Plan A: Natasha Bojkovic, BA!

Today we are profiling newly-minted graduate Natasha Bojkovic’s “Plan A”!  Many of you may know that Natasha was not only a Communication Studies major, but was also a Dance minor.  Natasha will be studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, specifically to pursue a Diploma in Dance Studies.

I asked Natasha to tell us about why she decided to go to Trinity Laban and study dance: “Part of the reason I decided to apply to a program in London is because my parents are from London and my extended family still lives there. It’s a place I am both familiar with and curious about.

As far as deciding to apply to a dance program instead of graduate school immediately, the decision was based on what I want to learn at this exact moment in my life.  I would very much have liked to double major in Dance and Communication Studies but did not find the time, so I majored in Communication Studies and minored in Dance. I would like to get my master’s degree but at this point in my life I do not feel ready to decide between applying for a master’s in a communication-related field or a master’s in performing arts… I’m hoping taking this year to devote myself to dance will help me decide.  There is a lot more I want to learn about performance, and I need a lot more physical technique training if I plan on pursuing a career in dance.  I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever I decide to pursue in graduate school it will involve of combination of the two (the possibilities of which USF has already helped me explore!).”


Natasha dancing a West African dance at USF last year

I also asked Natasha to tell us about how she found this program: “I found out about Trinity Laban from a prospectus that was sitting on a table outside the dance office in Koret. I kept it as an option in the back of my mind, did a little bit of research, but did not really consider it a serious option until I saw a poster for an audition they were holding in San Francisco in November.  I was nervous but the dance faculty at USF encouraged me to go for it, what was the worst that could happen? Along with auditioning and speaking with Laban faculty, the application process included two essays, two recommendation letters, all of my grades, and a video of me performing in the USF fall dance concert. I was accepted in January.  I am excited to spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week dancing! I will be taking modern and jazz technique classes, along with choreography and potentially even a teacher training course.”

Natasha is one of those few graduates whose Plan A is already in place, so I asked her what advice she has for other soon-to-be or recent grads: “I advise people to be curious and take chances, apply not only to programs you are sure about but long shots as well. What is the worst that could happen? And if you get stuck, the faculty at USF is more than willing to help you figure out where you are really going, and what the best way to get there is.”

Thanks, Natasha, for the advice and information!  We are so proud of you!  Good luck in your dance program!


Student Shout-Out: Spring 2011 Graduates!

There is, of course, only one “Student Shout-Out” appropriate for today…. and it goes to 61 people:


We are so happy for you and so very proud of you!  Here they are… (keep scrolling down, we graduated the largest number of students at our ceremony today!)…

Jonathan Abramson

Sharlene Alexander

Taylor Auyoung

Natalie Baryla

James Bautista

Alyssa Benavidez

Nick Benza

Haley Bettencourt

Natasha Bojkovic

Natalie Borges

Gena Brigham

Sean Burns

Isabel Campanelli

Liz Carey

Nick Carignani

Jay Chase

Kathryn Chomko

Victor Cortez

Allison Darko

Jenny Dinh

Ian Doss

Arianna Edwards

Michle Ewing

Tessa Fabre

Emma Gallagher

Emily Gann

Teresa Garcia

Sina Ghahreman

Alexandra Gnesin

Renee Gonzalez

Rashad Green

Kristina Hambali

Nichole Hathorn

Cole Hickok

Sarah Hirsch

Julie Hsieh

Lauren Jacobson

Jazzmin Johnson

Lauren Johnston

Jenna Jones

Milan Kim

Abbey Lee

Allison Lee

Katie MacDonald

Alicia Maldonado

Joy Marbello

Jackie McIntosh

Critina Nunez

Ashley Poyer

Izzy Rivero

Kelly Sanders

Nick Santeramo

Danny Sherman

Laurel Sherman

Katie Sullivan

Marissa Swiech

Krissy Synowicki

Kaivon Talai

Molly Torrence

Addysen Trumper

Ali Wasserman

Here are some pictures from the reception (wish I got more… a bit difficult to talk, hug, carry things, and snap pictures at the same time…!):

Professors Jacquemet, DeLaure, and Ho, ready to congratulate our grads!

Me with grads Jonathan Abramson and Sean Burns. Their time at USF is not finished... they still have some games left on the baseball team. Go Dons!

Crowds of happy families outside of St. Ignatius

More happy crowds!

Now alumni Lauren Jacobson and Emma Gallagher!

Me and grad Izzy Rivero

Graduates Natasha Bojkovic and Teresa Garcia

Lauren Johnston's blinged-out cap!

Professor Ho, grad Sarah Hirsch, and me

Graduate Danny Sherman (who did an amazing job singing the national anthem!) and me

Me with graduate Kelly Sanders

I found a few more pictures of our majors courtesy of the USF Athletics Department…

COMS grads Jenny Dinh and Arianna Edwards, with grad Joy Marbello in the pink lei

COMS major Victor Cortez

Graduate Rashad Green

Please excuse the numerous pictures containing me (wow, I am much shorter than I picture myself to be!). Anyway, those of you who know me even a little know that I absolutely LOVE graduation.  I love the ceremony of it, I love congratulating students, I love meeting happy families.  I think that it is sometimes easy to not fully appreciate what you just accomplished.  What you achieved is something that less than 6% of the world’s population ever achieves… a college education!  One of the many reasons why I love graduation is that in some ways, it is a great equalizer.  On graduation day, the parents of the C student are just as proud as the parents of the Dean’s Medalist.  You all achieved the same thing today and your family and friends are all equally proud and happy for you, as they should be.  Graduation is not about grades and assignments, it is about the completion of a journey and the start of a new one.  I know all of our faculty members join me in giving each of you a heartfelt congratulations and wishing you the very best of luck in the future.  I hope you will look back on your time here at USF in the Communication Studies Department fondly and proudly.

On a personal note, graduation is always bittersweet for me, as there are so many of you who are graduating that I feel as though I have gotten to know very well in many classes and advising appointments over the years, and I will miss having you as students.  Which brings me to my next topic (which you had to see coming…)!

Because I run this blog, I am going to end with a shameless plug.  Please keep in touch with me.  Let me know what you are up to (here’s the plug) because I want to continue to feature alums on the blog! You will each go on to do wonderful things, and I want to hear about them and help document them.  We have a great community here and you are still a part of it and always will be.

Another plug: Remember that you can also keep in touch with the department on twitter (@USFDONSCOMS) and on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/USFDONSCOMS)!

Congratulations, graduates!!!  Enjoy the results of all of your hard work and dedication and enjoy this moment.

Oh, and because I got so many questions about it today, I thought I would also post the link to an earlier blog post that explains why professors wear different colored robes at graduation! You can check it out here:



Drum roll please… the USF flashmob video is here!

Drum roll please!  Are you doing it?  Do you hear it?  I hope so because the announcement I am about to make absolutely deserves a drum roll.  THE UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO FLASHMOB VIDEO IS HERE!

In case you haven’t heard, a group of USF students, faculty, and staff, led by Professor Amie Dowling, Coordinator of the USF Dance Program, and Natalie Greene, instructor and choreographer, recently performed a flashmob, not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times, on campus and in downtown San Francisco!

For those of you in the dark who don’t know what a flashmob is, it is when a group of seemingly unrelated people come together to perform a previously arranged and choreographed dance (or other activity), and then quickly disperse.  The essence of a flashmob is that it seems to come out of nowhere and ends just as quickly.  It is, in a word, AWESOME!

Special thanks to Laura Waldron and everyone from USFtv who put together the video.  Check it out below:

Several Communication Studies students were involved: Natasha Bojkovic (who is also a dance minor and was in charge of teaching the routine to the women’s volleyball team), Tess Parsons, Jessy Mekpoh, and Megan Conner (who participated as a member of the women’s soccer team).  And of course you must have guessed that I was also in it (I had so much fun doing it you might have seen me doing the choreography as I walked down the hallway several days before and after)!  We performed on Lone Mountain, Harney Plaza, the Powell Street Cable Car Turnaround, and Union Square. Students, faculty, and staff from across the university were involved, including the intergenerational dance group, the Dance Generators, the volleyball team, women’s soccer team, members of pubic safety, and the star of the show, a uniformed public safety officer!  It was so much fun and a great way to showcase the USF community!

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to pull this off!  As Tess said to me after we completed the dance, “We can cross this off of our bucket list!”  Oh yes we can.


Internship Ideas: Emily at "Stanford Math Intervention Project"

As we head into summer, I know that many of you are hoping to find an internship.  Here to give you some inspiration is a new “Internship Ideas” post featuring senior Communication Studies major Emily Gann!  I am excited to feature Emily because she is also in the Dual Degree Teaching Program here at USF, and she was able to find an internship that nicely combined her two interests.  Here we go…

Q: Where do you intern and what do they do?

Emily: “I intern at the Stanford Math Intervention Project, which is a research project at Stanford which focuses its attention on second and third grade students who are having difficulties in math. The researchers are also interested in learning more about how math skill develop as well as identifying how math learning difficulties, such as dyscalculia, develop in the brain.”

Q: How did you find your internship?

Emily: “I found the posting for SMIP tutors on DonsCareers (which has a lot of great internship postings!)”

Q: Why did you choose to intern there?

Emily: “I’m in Professor Pabst’s internship class this semester and I wanted to work somewhere that allowed me to combine my two majors, Communication Studies and Education.”

Q: What do you do on a regular basis at your internship?

Emily: “I am a tutor for SMIP, so I execute the scripted lessons to third graders who have trouble with math. We also play math games, do flashcards, and play a math-based computer game, which tracks their accuracy and efficiency in solving math problems.  Each student is tutored three times per week and each session lasts about an hour. I tutor two students, so I work about 6-8 hours a week. Both the participants and the tutors (me) get paid for their time!”

Q: What have you learned from this internship?

Emily: “I’ve learned a lot about how to adapt my teaching style to fit the individual student’s needs. Working with two separate students gave me the opportunity to change and adapt my teaching methods to each student’s specific learning styles and needs.  I really enjoy working with the students, although it can be challenging to make math more fun for them. I think its great practice for my (hopefully) future career as a teacher to learn how to best meet individual needs in a one-onone setting. Plus, I get to catch up on what’s hot and what’s not with 9 year olds!  I think the knowledge and skills that I learned in nonverbal communication have been really helpful. I am more conscious of my nonverbal cues and what those express.”

Q: What advice do you have for other students looking for an internship?

Emily: “Use all of the resources available to you! I really like DonsCareers for searching for internships and jobs because all of the postings listed are really targeted towards students. Professor Pabst also read over everyone’s resume and gave each person feedback. Also, take advantage of the Career Services workshops and events, such as mock interviews. They’re extremely helpful!”

Soon to be COMS graduate, Emily!

Thanks, Emily, for the advice! It sounds like a great program!  Hmmm… what is hot with 9 year olds these days?

If you have an internship that you enjoy, contact me at edoohan@usfca.edu to be featured in an upcoming “Internship Ideas” post!


Plan A: Emma Gallagher

A conversation with a student last week, that reminded me of similar conversations with other students, has led to a new category on the blog… “Plan A.”  For those of you who are graduating who are not quite sure what your future holds, you are not alone.  In fact, most students are in your same position.  You are wondering if, how, when you are going to find a job, if you can afford to live on your own or if you are going to have to move back in with your parents, should you go to grad school, et cetera.  In short, most students aren’t quite sure how to answer the (often dreaded) question of: So what are you doing after you graduate?

Most of the time when students come into my office to talk about life after graduation, they don’t understand how a fellow student already has a job lined up or already has been accepted to a grad program.  How is that possible? What did they do to already have an after graduation plan in place?  So, a new category of blog post was born to help demystify the process.  We’ll be featuring students whose “Plan A” has worked out!  So although this isn’t the norm, I think it will be helpful to hear from these students.  I’ve asked them to share their story and advice.

First up, graduating senior Communication Studies major Emma Gallagher.  Emma is an Assistant Brand/PR Manager for R/West, an advertising and public relations firm with offices in Portland, OR and right here in San Francisco. An aside: how “San Francisco” is Emma?  She takes a cable car to work!  Emma is working part time until she graduates, when she will work full time.  She even has a business card already!

Emma, smiling and taking time to enjoy the scenery because she has a job lined up already!

I asked Emma to talk about the things she did as a student that she thinks led to her getting a job lined up before graduation.

  • “I had worked as a full time staffing coordinator for 5 years, managing over 100 people while attending USF and I think that experience set me apart in a unique way.
  • As a student I tried to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible so over the past four years I was involved in: Lambda Pi Eta as a board member, wrote and presented at three research conferences, worked as a research assistant, had two PR internships, and worked to get good grades which allowed me to be on the Dean’s list and graduate with honors.
  • I think that being able to summarize the above experience concisely in a resume is something that interviewers find very impressive.
  • Also make sure that you establish positive relationships with Professors in case you need a letter of recommendation later down the line.”

I also asked Emma to tell us the story of how she got this position… when she started the job search (a question a lot of you students out there have!), and why she decided to accept this position.

“I started the ‘job search’ in March, because my goal was to have a job lined up before graduating. I started reaching out to my previously established contacts (and Professors) to let them know I was looking, what my plans were and if they would recommend any specific company or contacts. I researched PR companies that I was interested in and reached out to them through their websites, either replying to job postings or emailing point blank to start a conversation. At the time I was working at my internship so also notified them (in a formal letter) that I was looking for a full time position so they would keep me in mind with any future openings. I started searching Craiglists a few times a week and applying to job postings where my experience fit the description (or was close).

As a result of this work I went on a few interviews (in person/ over the phone) and got alot of great advice and recommendations. In the end R/West, who I had applied to from a Craiglist posting called me for a phone interview, and a week later followed an in person interview with the owner. Three days after meeting with him I got a call from them offering me the position. (Part-time until graduation, then full time on salary with benefits). Through my research of the company and the interview process I knew that it was a company I would love to work for, therefore I jumped at the opportunity! That same week my internship spoke to me about possibly continuing with their company but I decided to sign on with R/West, which has been amazing! They flew my to Portland to meet the employees in there main office and I really like the people in the company (which is a big factor to consider). The best part is they are a dog friendly company and I get to bring my dog to work with me!”

Every day is "Take Your Dog to Work Day" for Emma at R/West!

Emma’s already passed along a lot of great advice, but here is a bit more: “My advice would be to start the process early on, do something every week to further the search, follow up with thank you’s and spread the word to professionals you know that you are looking and what your focus is.  Even if you are not planning to go to grad school take advantage of USF opportunities! They really add to your skill set and resume.”

Congratulations Emma!  We are so proud of you and all of your accomplishments!  Emma shared some excellent advice about things you can do to help make your “Plan A” a reality!


Student Shout-Out: Kaelie Sweet, USA Cheer Instructor and Judge

Give me a “K!”  Give me an “A!”  Give me an “E!”  Give me an “L!”  Give me an “I!”  Give me an “E!”  What does that spell?  KAELIE!  KAELIE!  KAELIE!  (You can’t see me, but I was totally jumping up and down and pounding my fists as I was typing.  Really.)  Why such an intro to today’s blog post?  Because we are featuring junior Communication Studies major Kaelie Sweet and her work as a USA Cheer instructor and judge!

Kaelie (left) at a USA cheer event

For those of you new to the blog, “Student Shout-Outs” are designed to showcase all of the interesting activities and work our students are involved in and their accomplishments, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Kaelie works throughout the year as a cheer judge and over the summer as a cheer instructor for United Spirit Association (USA) Cheer.  According to Kaelie, “USA is a spirit company that puts on numerous training camps throughout the summer for all ‘sideline’ programs, like cheerleading, songleading, dance, drill teams, drum majors, mascots, and pep flaggers. We not only teach the fundamentals of cheerleading (stunting and tumbling), but we also teach teams how to be unified and to become leaders in their schools and surrounding communities. We also teach coaches and advisors how to run a flourishing program and encourage team unity and success.”

That's Kaelie at the top, in a partner stunt!

Kaelie works as an instructor over the summer and as a judge during the school year.  I asked Judge Kaelie to tell us more: “During the year, I am a competition judge. There are panel judges who analyze and score the entire routine, but my job description is a little different. I am technically a ‘safety judge,’ which looks for completely different things in each routine. I am well versed in all of the rules and regulations of cheerleading, which comes from the big company called USASF who makes and updates the rules each year. I had to attend special trainings to be this type of judge and I actually think it’s the toughest out of all of them! Anyways, when a routine is going, I look for things like ‘illegal stunts,’ if anyone is wearing jewelry, division limitations, and improper use of signs or props, to name a few. There are many different divisions like novice, intermediate, or advanced, and within those divisions, there are categories based on your teams size. For example, my high school team was in the ‘Medium Advanced Show-Cheer Division,’ meaning that because we had 16 girls, we were medium. You can imagine how many divisions there are and how many different rules and regulations there are for each division.  Basically, I always have to be watching and aware of EVERYTHING that is going on on the mat.”

Judge Kaelie just finished giving a team a trophy

Some of you may have noticed that Kaelie missed a few Friday classes.  But Kaelie wasn’t recovering from a late Thursday night (of studying, of course!), she was busy during Nationals season.  Kaelie travelled to Anaheim to judge All-Star/Collegiate Nationals (“club” teams and college teams), Junior Nationals (younger than high school), and High School Nationals (her favorite!).  She also travelled around the country earlier in the year to judge regional competitions.

Kaelie has a long line of cheerleaders in her family, starting with her grandma. “She actually cheered with the infamous Larry Herkimer, the inventor of the ‘herkie’ jump, that looks like the position you would do to jump over a hurtle.”  (Ah, the herkie jump… that is how I get out of bed every morning!)  Her mom is a director for USA and is world-renowned cheer coach.  Kaelie hopes to continue her work with the company after graduation.

Kaelie and her mom... wow, too bad there is no family resemblance!

Congratulations to Kaelie on all of her work with USA Cheer!  She balances a full load of school work with her work and travel throughout the year as an instructor and judge.  I have always had a secret fascination with cheer (that I know a few of our students share) so it was fun learning more about it!  I also think profiling something fun like cheer is appropriate at this time of the year, as I have been clapping so much for students as they come in to see me about graduation, that I consider myself to be a bit of cheerleader these days (minus the athletic jumps).

Congratulations Kaelie!


A Day in the Life: Mike Hughes, Associate Dean and Director of Admission

For today’s “A Day in the Life” post, I thought we would take a trip down memory lane.  Why?  Well, many of you are graduating or heading into your junior or senior years.  Applying for admission and waiting for acceptances letters from colleges are a distant memory.  So I thought it would be fun to get the inside scoop on the process from the Associate Dean of Academic and Enrollment Services and Director of Admission, Mr. Michael Hughes.  If Mike’s name sounds familiar to you, it is because he likely signed your acceptance letter! Get ready to reminisce!  Here is “A Day in the Life” of Mike Hughes: January 28, 2011:

“Professor Doohan asked if I would write this blog, and as I have a great respect for her”  Thanks, Mike!  “and was a Communication major in college (Florida State – long ago), I’m happy to agree.”  Can you believe it?  Another Communication Studies major on campus!  I didn’t even know how many there are!  “Disclaimer:  I also have an MFA in Writing from USF – not that long ago – hence, perhaps, the wordiness of the following, which I encourage Professor Doohan to edit.”  Not a chance… the information is too good!  “This was a very busy day in January – and following days have been equally busy, which explains the time lag.

Mike Hughes, Director of Admission and former COMS major, busy working at his desk

8:37      Arrive to check time on phone.  Red light on phone means messages, stacks of vote sheets for new applications on desk next to open file with Embanet Compass documentation on on-line learning initiative, competing for my time.  Open Microsoft Word to find new version, with which I am not familiar, so cannot adjust font or type-size.  Pre-occupied with 9 am meeting on new vendor for on-line graduate application.

Message on phone from prospective student telling me that he was supposed to have called yesterday at 4 pm, but ‘the line was busy or something,’ which was not true as I was sitting here working waiting for his call.  Do not listen to remainder of message, will e-mail later asking him to re-arrange time and stick to his commitment.  Advice:  If you make an appointment, keep it.  If you can’t keep it, communicate.  If you mess up, apologize and move forward.

Sarah Genter, Director of Graduate Admission Operations, tells me she’ll meet me at 9 am meeting after she gets coffee.

Noise in hallway starts to heat up as counselors arrive.

Check application numbers – almost 13,000.  More than 11,000 for freshmen, rest transfer applications.  That’s up about 30% from last year, good news, except for the files that need to be read.   I’m lucky, I only have to read about 500, others more like 1,200.

Open e-mail.  Call from BJ Johnson, my boss, Dean of Academic  and Enrollment Services, asking if I know about an event on 4/13 and 4/14 that Bon Appetit is calling about.  I don’t – our events are scheduled for prior weekend.  No time for e-mail.  On to 9 am meeting.  I can be down the hill in 8 minutes.

9:01  Phone conference with George Washington U. to talk about their use of ApplyYourself on-line application for graduate applicants with Mark Landerghini in Arts and Sciences  Graduate Admission, Sarah Genter, and Way Leon with ITS.  Good information that will help us transition from current to new vendor for grad apps.  Need to bridge USF schools and colleges with one common application and software required to transfer data back and forth between application software and Banner  ERP.

9:59  Call Admission office to leave message will be 5 minutes late for next meeting, phone answered, ‘USF Admission hold please,’ followed by dead silence, so will need to address need to improve customer service/phone courtesy later this morning.

10:10 meeting with Mark Priolo, Transfer Admission manager.  Monthly one-on-one.  Talked about transfer initiatives in Sacramento , processes for evaluating international transfer applications, spring numbers, spring yield events, professional development.

Mike at another meeting... busy day!

11:21 11 am meeting cancelled.  Was to have met with Sheila Sullivan, Associate Dean, Graduate and Undergraduate Programs, to talk about anomalies to admission criteria for professional studies graduate students.  Gives me a chance to eat an apple, then go talk with James Miller, Director of Admission Operations.

Talked with Sarah Genter about grad application and planning for admission processes for on-line programs to be offered to graduate students.

11:46 Finally e-mail.  Except that B.J. stopped by to talk about my meeting with a coach to help with time and management skills, Professional Studies admission and recruiting.

12:17 meet with James, also talk about welcome packet to new admits, transfer admission application processing

12:30 Go to grab lunch – can of tuna (low cal, cheap) and meet Belinda Sandoval, Director of Freshman Admission on way, who tells me one of our counselors is sick with either strep throat or appendicitis (?!)   Concerned for counselor and for 13,000 applications that need to be read by March 7.  Take a minute at lunch to scan ‘Punahou Bulletin’ published by Punahou High School on Honolulu, which is one of our strongest feeder high schools.

12:47 Glance at e-mails (There are 130 in my inbox, and I’ve gotten to answer one so far today – not looking good.  I really try to be responsive to e-mails, so it’s a constant challenge, especially on a day like today when it’s almost back-to-back meetings.)  Now on to a ‘Stay On Track’ committee meeting where the university is pulling together means to help students graduate in four years.  Advice to students:  find an advisor, a mentor, someone who can help you plan your curriculum, to stay on top of the credits you’ve taken and those you’ll need to graduate in four years.  Plan your study abroad semester early.  Check in with the Graduation Center in One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services early to see if you’re on track to graduate.  Read all of your USF e-mail.  It may be important information that you’ll need to stay current with academic progress, with your student account – all of the things that will lead you to graduation on time.

1:00  Stay on Track meeting.  Good discussions trying to round up consensus with about 25 people from campuses across departments.  I’m glad I’m not chairing the committee.  First proposal for an approach to a theoretical blueprint thrown out due to  suggestions on better approach – less linear, more holistic.  Second try is to throw tasks and responsibilities on the table that would need to be covered by a single advising center.  Oddly, this works, and finally, by meeting’s end, we’re further along toward the blueprint than when we started – with everyone’s buy-in.  Did more listening than contributing.

2:40  Back from Stay on Track.  Another stab at e-mails.  Samples: question on credits from another institution for a graduate student  in Business and Professional Studies; status report  on the surgery of a admission counselor’s mother (he needed time away to be there  – again, balancing concern for counselor with need to get through files);  daily spring registration statistics; data from a company that is helping us crunch numbers for admission and merit aid; details on position to support upcoming on-line courses, since they’ll all have to go through an admission process;  and a request to carefully review an applicant who is of special interest to a member of the Jesuit community.  We’re getting lots of requests on applicants, which is a balancing act, since we’ve got a LOT of applications, and can only admit a finite amount.

A stack of applications that Mike has to read

2:59  On my way to a meeting to discuss a new code on Banner, the student system, for students not admitted Early Action, when I’m waylaid by Mary Jane Kober, in Admission Reception, who informs me that there are parents and a daughter here for our 3:00 meeting.  I do remember, but somehow, they’ve not made it to my calendar.

So we meet.  The daughter has applied, but not been admitted Early Action because she has a grade point average in high school below a 2.5, and test scores below 400 on both Critical Reading and Math SAT scores.  I’ve talked with both parents on the phone, who insisted they bring the applicant in to talk so I would know the kind of student she is, so I agreed.  I always like to give people their due.  Both the student and parents feel that, despite her academic record, they know she can do it when she gets to USF.  She is also very interested in the faith-based education USF offers.  I point out that the average gpa for students admitted thus far is over 3.8, and that the student would be in a class with students who had this kind of academic preparation, and that teachers would be teaching to this level.  They know she can do it.  I ask the student how she feels about it.  ‘I know I can do it.’  The father points out that she is very talented.  I explain that while we do look at all aspects of the students’ talents, we can’t forget the important academic piece.  I tell them we will give her every consideration, but must be honest, in that it is doubtful she will be admitted.  I walk them, talking, to the front door.  This has taken more than an hour.  I admire their persistence, but it wears me out.  I wonder how many more conversations I will have with them.

4:15  I try to focus on e-mails, but at this point, I’m a little brain-dead and I’m tired.  It’s the end of the week.  I turn to something that doesn’t require much articulation – e-timesheets and expense report approvals.  I think that tomorrow, Saturday, I should come in and read applications.  The more I get done early, the less pressure there will be the first week of March when we need to get them done.

4:45 I have to get out of here.  I’m meeting Fr. Donal Godfrey for dinner at six.  I have to go home and walk the dog and change to get back to Loyola House by six.

6:00 Right on time.  A glass of wine with Donal at Loyola House, very comfortable, meet a Jesuit who is stopping in San Francisco on his way to St. Peter’s in New Jersey, where he will be the director of Student Life.  It’ s nice to relax in good company.  After a glass of wine, on to dinner at Betelnut.  Good conversation, as always, with Donal – some school talk, but lots of talk about Ireland, Donal’s home, travel, his ministry in the city.  Lots of people loud and happy in the restaurant, a great distraction after some angst over a busy day.”

That is a day!  Thanks, Mike, for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the Admission Office!  As you can see, Mike and other other Academic and Enrollment Services employees have the daunting job of reading and evaluating all of the applications to USF.  He most likely read yours!  Mike is extremely dedicated, and his advice is excellent.  You’ll run into Mike at least one more time while you’re here… at your graduation!  Thanks again, Mike!