HESA Alumni Spotlight
The "alumni spotlight" series is a current initiative. New stories are posted in the semesterly "HESA Happenings" newsletter.
Name: Ryan Baldassario
Position: Program Coordinator – Full-time MBA Program, University of Connecticut School of Business (Hartford)
It did take a few weeks to adjust from Storrs to the Graduate Business Learning Center - a satellite location of UConn that is not quite a campus but rather multiple floors in an office building in downtown Hartford. It does lack the typical campus feel, but luckily the UConn Hartford campus is moving right down the block this summer. In no time I’ll be back to the pedestrian, car, and coffee-shop-line traffic that I’ve missed so dearly!
To me, the most difficult part of my transition has been wearing so many hats. My current role was predominantly set for admissions and academic affairs, but due to staffing shortages I’ve taken the mantel of student affairs as well. I know it’s cliché to refer to the “other duties as assigned” bullet point on the job description, but last week I had to complete a solo set up for Open House because they lost our reservation. Nobody told me there would be table and chair set-up in academic affairs. I’ve enjoyed the variety of teachable moments I’ve been thrown into and for the breadth of knowledge I’m gaining beyond my initial job description, but I look forward to having a full team again so that our collective hard work can feel better than simply “getting by.”
In short, this is not where I anticipated ending up when I started HESA, but I am thankful that my time in the program prepared me to hold my own when I traded the cow pastures of Storrs for the traffic gridlock of Hartford.
Name: Aisha Folkes
Position: Towson University, Residence Life Coordinator
As for the transition itself, surprisingly, it’s been very smooth. This is partly because I found my fit, TU is everything I wanted in a position, department, and institution. Learning my new role was the hardest part, each day I feel like there is something else new I needed to know to do my job. Mind you, this is someone born and raised in ResLife moving into a typical ResLife entry level position. Still struggled! But I was able to move past all that confusion with time, forced confidence, a smile, and natural Black girl magic. Sometimes you have to stop and breathe, forgive yourself, and realize at the end of the day it’s just work. I’m now beginning the thriving phase, trying my best to commit to excellence in my role versus barely staying above water. Stay tuned!