Welcome to my blog - Read all about my many adventures as a graduate student in the Organizational Leadership program, a graduate assistant for the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and most importantly a Mercyhurst University alum!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First Term of Organizational Leadership Classes

Thus far I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes! As I will be completing my master's degree in a two-year time span, I take two classes per term (due to the Mercyhurst tri-mester system, will be changing a bit next academic year) while working my 30 hours a week for my graduate assistantship.

One class that I am taking is for my concentration in the OL program which is Higher Education Administration. The course is taught by Merry Bollheimer J.D. and is called Higher Education Law. This is the first time the class is being offered and I am super excited about it - the material is so interesting! We have learned about so many different areas of colleges and universities (such as admissions, residence life, academic support, etc.) and how to deal with different legal issues that could arise. One of my projects for this class is to research a specific law...I was assigned FERPA and I am currently preparing materials to create a mock training tool to teach faculty the rules of FERPA. I really enjoy this class as well as Attorney Bollheimer as a professor - she is so knowledgable about the class material and is very engaging and interesting in her teaching style. I will definitely take more classes with her in the future if possible!
Completing the Marshmallow Challenge

My other class is Leadership Theory and Practice, taught by Anne Zaphiris, Ph.D. who I have had for classes during my undergraduate time as she previously taught for the communication department. I am thrilled that she now teaches full time for the Organization Leadership department - she has been one of my favorite teachers at Mercyhurst, she is one of the most dedicated teachers I know, and she sincerely cares for her students and their academic success! 

Our Marshmallow Challenge tower!
Recently in this class, Dr. Zaphiris split my class of 6 students up into two groups of three and presented "The Marshmallow Challenge" to us. We had the task of creating the tallest structure that actually stood...using 20 pieces of spaghetti noodles, a yard of tape, a yard of string and a marshmallow which had to but placed at the top. Within this assignment were hidden tests of leadership and teamwork!! My group actually got along during the task, we had a goal and a plan and we worked really well together. Our tower turned out awesome at 22 inches but lost to our opponent's tower (we're pretty sure they were copying ours hehe) which stood at 24 inches! 

The best part of this is this assignment once we discussed all of the leadership components to it, we found out that our towers were taller than the average MBA students' towers ... wink wink to anyone unsure of Organizational Leadership or an MBA program, I think our tower sizes are sending you a good message here!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Homecoming and Parents Weekend at the 'Hurst

Now that things have settled down a bit here in the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, we can all take a bit a of breather! This year's Homecoming theme was Celebrate! And we certainly have a lot to celebrate about here at Mercyhurst University!

It was really exciting to see so many of my friends returning to campus (of course some of them never left) and it feels like everyone just picked up right where we left off!

Liz and Alexa, my college roommates!
What might be even cooler to witness would be older classes reconvening and seeing old friends that they haven't seen in awhile. For me, being such a new member of the MU alumni family, it's only been since May that I haven't seen my classmates but for older alumni, coming back to the 'Hurst is always really exciting because as life takes us all of the world, sometimes more time than May to September goes by without seeing each other, making things like Homecoming Weekend so incredibly special.

Shane and I about to crown the king and queen!
In Mercyhurst tradition, the Homecoming king and queen from the previous year get to crown the new king and queen. My friend Shane and I returned to the court's tent on Tullio Field to hang out with this year's court as they anxiously awaited the crowning ceremony.  Several of my good friends were on court so it was so tough to wait but I knew I would be crowning a wonderful queen no matter what. My old roommate, Kaleigh was crowned queen along with Adam as the king!

As the theme of Homecoming suggested, we all celebrated this fun weekend - a time to celebrate college memories, old college friends, a Laker victory against Slippery Rock, and Mercyhurst becoming a University as many alumni returned for the first time to their alma mater with the new and improved University label attached to it! Here's to many more celebrations and excitement on the hill!

This year's court - congratulations to them and best wishes on a wonderful senior year!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back for More - Life as a Graduate Student

Receiving my diploma from Dr. Gamble
A whirlwind of emotions were felt last May as I (partially) said goodbye to my undergraduate experiences, friends and memories. Graduation was filled with tears, laughter and excitement as my classmates and I prepared to walk across the stage to receive our diplomas as the FIRST graduating class of Mercyhurst University – how awesome is that!
I ended my time as an undergraduate student by graduating Magna cum Laude and receiving one of my university’s highest graduation awards, the Frank Barry Leadership Award, given to a graduating senior who has exemplified superior student leadership and campus involvement during his/her time at Mercyhurst University. I was honored to receive this award and very proud of myself for my accomplishments. 
 My family – the biggest and loudest cheering section ever – was there to spend the day with me. My four years at Mercyhurst were surely filled with friends, laughter, hard work, sleepless nights filled with homework and club work but most importantly, the very best of times!

So…just when you thought it was the end…think again.

I’m back for more!

After being accepted to Mercyhurst University into the Organizational Leadership program and finding out that there was a new concentration in Higher Education Administration, I was nearly sold on staying for another two years.

Tom and I at the opening of the CAE!
 What made things even better was that after receiving my acceptance, I was able to apply for a graduate assistantship to help offset the costs of tuition as well as give me a chance to work at Mercyhurst which seemed perfect as I hope to work in higher education when I am finished with school. I was fortunate to be offered a position with the Advancement/Alumni Relations and Annual Giving departments.

My desk in my very own office!!
My graduate assistantship has me busy working 25-30 hours a week on top of taking two classes each trimester. One of my main duties will be to oversee the phonathon which is when some of our current students call alumni in fundraising efforts. I also get to help with a lot of fun events put on by the Alumni department such as the opening of our new Academic Center for Engagement and Homecoming which is just one week away!

Stay tuned for more adventures of this brand new “graduate girl” and my (second) time at Mercyhurst University!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Presenting Communication Research in Boston

This past weekend my fellow researchers and I presented our research for the second time at the annual Eastern Communication Association Conference. This year it was held in Cambridge Massachusetts...a very long nine hour ride from Mercyhurst University but it was well worth it! Alicia, Kelly and I were joined by two other groups of communication researchers, the nine of us represented Mercyhurst University in a great way, we were all very fortunate to have been accepted to the conference and it was great experience to have. 
This is one example of the ways that Mercyhurst students excel in and out of the classroom. It is one thing to have our own professors tell us that we're good at what we do but it's always a great feeling when people outside of the gates tell us too!

We left Mercyhurst on Thursday and returned on Sunday...in between those days we presented our research at a poster session in which communication scholars from several graduate programs from the East coast walked around and asked us questions about our research, all of them were very impressed by our hard work- can you believe we have been researching Muslims and America for nearly TWO YEARS?! 
After we presented we had some free time to explore the city, I had never been to Boston so I was super excited to see everything. While I was there I even had a chance to visit my friend Kacie who was a fashion merchandising major here at MU and she now lives in the Boston area, using her degree as she works for T.J. Maxx! I think my favorite part of the weekend was visiting the Cheers bar, the bar that the famous sitcom is based off of - so so cool!

So the moral of the weekend's story is - our education is leading us in so many directions and opening up many doors of opportunity. It was fun to get off campus for a weekend but SO good to return home to Mercyhurst. I hate to say it but there are only two weeks left...bring on the graduation excitement and celebrations...and tears!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The End is Near...30 More Days of Fun!

The end is certainly near and this is becoming more and more prevalent as fun activities take place to round out the end of the year! My roommates and I have not let the "one month until graduation" mark get us down, we have simply declared that instead of only having 30 more days together, we have 30 more days to have fun!!

Communication Senior Showcase
The Communication department, a subset of the Walker School of Business and Communication, has dedicated the hallway to senior majors and minors who have spent a lot of time working vigorously writing, researching, working on projects, working for LakerTV and writing for the school newspaper, the Merciad. 
Biographies of the seniors!
The "Senior Showcase" displays each senior prominently and it was so nice to be included even though I am only a minor in the department. 
I have always felt at home in the communication department, the professors are all experienced and have a lot of knowledge of the field. If I had another four years, communication would definitely be an area that I would have liked to have pursued further!

Wearing our graduation cords!
Another fun event that I went to was the induction ceremony for Mercyhurst's Leadership Certification Program. The program is a three level process that I was not involved in this year because I started the program as a freshman and completed it last year. 
It was a great group to be in because I was able to grow confident in my leadership abilities as well as learn more about how to be a good and successful leader. After completing two levels of the program, students are accepted into Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Society of Leadership and Success. This year, I was invited back and I received cords to wear at graduation since I am a member of the society! 
Danielle, my freshman roaster!

My friends and I ended the week with the Ambassador Club's annual "Senior Roast." Although it might sound mean, it was a lot of fun. Basically, the newest members of the club pick a senior, find out really embarrassing things about them and "roast" them! It was really fun to hear all the stories about my fellow Ambassadors! I can remember being a freshman as I roasted a senior...my own roast seemed so far away, but it was plenty of time to do really embarrassing things but I had SO much fun doing them and spent my time with some of the greatest people- what more could a girl ask for?!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Picture of the Week- Summer is Coming!

It's the picture of the week! Sara's, a local favorite just recently opened for the season! This is surely a sign that summer is JUST around the corner! My boyfriend and I stopped by for dinner and of course ice cream at the 1950's-style diner. It is located right on Presque Isle, about a 15 minute drive from the Mercyhurst University campus! Pretty soon it will be summer, I cannot wait to go to the beach and for that warm summer weather! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Next Step - Admission to Graduate School

With my acceptance letter!
While graduation is quickly ... when I say quickly, I really mean O MY GOSH IT'S APRIL AND I GRADUATE NEXT MONTH WHERE DID TIME GO?!! 
Wow. Back to where I was...while graduation is quickly approaching, I of course have been thinking about and planning the next steps. Just today, I received in the mail, (similar to Rory Gilmore, the star character of the television show Gilmore Girls) the BIG package from Mercyhurst University. Yes, the big package means acceptance!!

I was super excited to receive the news of my acceptance in the mail, my mom was sitting with me saying "open it, open it!" The letter reads:
You have been accepted into the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program at Mercyhurst University for fall term 2012."

My acceptance letter
I am VERY happy, excited and proud to say that I will be extending my time as a Mercyhurst University Laker next fall by entering into the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program and pursuing my dream of working in higher education. I have loved every moment of my undergraduate experience and I am so lucky that there is a perfect master's program that suits me. I am thrilled to be staying for another two years. I have received a very strong foundation in my undergraduate program in the Walker School of Business at Mercyhurst University and I look forward to everything that lies ahead as I begin my graduate studies next fall!

Now...back to the reality that graduation is only about 6 weeks away! Cue the Pomp and Circumstance!