ACPA has nourished my professional identity for over 20 years. I developed a deep appreciation and affinity for ACPA early in my career as a graduate student and continue to feel a strong “sense of place” within the organization through my leadership opportunities with the SSAO Advisory Board, the Standing Committee for Disability, the Commission for Administrative Leadership, and the Convention Planning team. The Association’s core values of social justice, inclusion, and scholarship are aligned with my professional commitments to my institution and community.
ACPA has been a great investment in my future and an outlet to stay connected to my colleagues. As a graduate assistant, I had an opportunity to attend an innovative session presented by the person who would become my supervisor. As a young professional, I had an opportunity to volunteer with the Commission for Career Services as way to meet other young professionals in my functional area, and I currently serve as a Directorate member for the Commission for Career Services, which allows me to help other young professionals connect with ACPA in the same way I did.
I've been a member of ACPA for more than 16 years, but only became actively engaged in leadership within the last 6 years. I’ve always been an ACPA member who dabbled in many aspects of the Association: I attended convention regularly, was both an employer and candidate at Career Central, presented programs and pre-conference workshops, and enjoyed the networks available through joining Committees, Standing Committees and State Divisions. It was through these amazing experiences that I found my professional voice and realized that I could contribute in meaningful ways to the field.
My current role in student affairs can be attributed to my association with ACPA. I first became a member when I was a graduate student and in need of professional support through my job search process. It was in attending the 2012 national conference that I not only found support and resources, but also placement in my current role as Assistant Director of Student Activities at Bellarmine University. The C3 environment provided me with experience and skills in communicating my philosophy of higher education and strengths as student affairs professional.
When I think back to moments that helped solidify my commitment and dedication to student affairs, ACPA often comes to mind. Whether through NextGen, the graduate ambassador program, or commission work, ACPA has afforded me a voice and an affirming community in all stages of my career thus far.
I have been involved with Wisconsin College Personnel Association (WCPA) since moving to Wisconsin from the South five years ago. ACPA and WCPA have given me the opportunity to not only learn from others through various presentations, journal articles, webinars, etc; but I get to share my knowledge by presenting each year at the annual conference and get involved with new technology, like hosting webinars.
I have been a member of ACPA for most years since 1983. Through professional opportunities within the Commission Directorate, I have a network of many other professionals, which has provided the foundation to develop innovative ideas and principles. The publications such as About Campus and Journal of College Student Development keep me informed of trends and concepts in our profession today. As a co-chair for our division-wide professional development program, ACPA is often a source and inspiration for the topics we bring to the Winthrop campus.
In my second year of graduate school at The Ohio State University, I was selected to present at the Annual Convention in Las Vegas. It was a thrilling experience and helped give me confidence to move forward with my job hunt. Immediately after landing in Columbus, Ohio, from that trip, I ran to my final interview for my current job. I believe that my success and amazing experience at Convention (as a participant and presenter) helped me ace my interview!
Over the last 25 years, I’ve had the pleasure of being inspired by exceptional Convention experiences and challenged by a variety of leadership opportunities. Involvement in ACPA has been easy from the beginning. I’ve served as a volunteer in Career Central, Convention program reviewer, and a commission member who has simply enjoyed the debate and resources offered through listservs. All you have to do is sign up or reply to an email… yes, it’s really that simple.
Where do I begin? My involvement in ACPA has been pivotal in my understanding of student affairs as a vocation. As Chair of the Commission for Student Involvement, I was invited to see firsthand the incredible work being done by professionals across the globe. Beyond my campus, I saw the impact meaningful engagement experiences are having on the students we serve. Finally, ACPA has connected me with some of the most dynamic professionals I have ever encountered, many of which have transcended being colleagues to people I call dear friends.