Welcome to the Summer 2019 FYE Blog!
I’m Haley Naiser, and I will be an intern in First Year Experience’s office and Coordinator for New Student Communications. I will be managing our office’s social media, and will be posting on here throughout the summer to talk about various topics related to orientation and incoming students. This post will introduce you to our office’s graduate assistants and summer interns.
I’m an incoming second year in our M.Ed. Higher Education Administration program, and my graduate assistantship is in the Dean of Students Office. I am president of two student organizations, Higher Education Student Organization and Graduate Education Association. I’m from Austin, and I did my undergrad in public administration and social work at Texas State University.
Corey Falls – Graduate Assistant
I’m Corey Falls and I’m a Masters of Education student graduating in 2020. Originally I’m from Springfield, PA, and I did my undergrad at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. This year, I’m the grad assistant for transition and retention initiatives, which means I get to help plan and organize the events and academic sessions that new students participate in during their first year here. As a former orientation leader myself, orientation week can be a bit overwhelming at first with so many new faces, events, and pieces of information being thrown at you. My advice is to take a deep breath and remember that everyone else is new and in the same boat as you. During your first year, try something new (whether that’s switching up your Cheese Shop order or trying a class at the Rec) you may come to learn something about yourself in the process!
Challen Wellington – Graduate Assistant
Challen Wellington Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership, May 2020, St. Louis, MO. I am a graduate assistant for New Student Orientation. I help plan fall and spring orientation. Additionally, I coordinate the orientation area directors, whom hire the next year’s orientation aides. My post-graduation plans are a Ph.D. in Education and working in Retention and Transition programming, with special interest in multicultural retention. I was drawn to William and Mary based on the educational history of the institution and it is in my desired professional region. When I was an incoming freshman, orientation helped me get an understanding of campus layout and campus culture. I also appreciated the camaraderie I developed with my orientation leaders. My advice to new students would be to enter your freshman year with an open mind and know that your plan may change and that’s ok.
Alexis Michalos – Coordinator of New Student Welcome Events
Hello! My name is Alexis Michalos and I am a second-year Masters student pursuing an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, with the hope to work in Residence Life at any college that will hire me after I graduate in May 2020. I arrived to Williamsburg last August from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after graduating from the University of South Carolina in Columbia; I chose William & Mary for a variety of reasons, including the warm welcome of faculty and staff when I first visited, the flexibility of my program’s curriculum, and the history seeped into the College and Williamsburg (I studied history in undergrad and am glad to continue it despite switching fields). As one of the graduate interns for First Year Experience this summer, I am tasked with the general workings of the office. My specific tasks, though, involve coordinating logistics for New Student & Family Welcome Receptions (be on the look out in your email for an upcoming event near your hometown!) and Transfer Welcome Day. One piece of advice I would give to incoming students is to take breaks. It is easy to overwhelm yourself with so many opportunities from day one, but you have a few years to get everything done-take your time, try not to overfill your plate, and explore; you never know what new adventures you will encounter by trying something new and out of your comfort zone. We cannot wait to see you!
Samantha Nussbaum – Graduate Intern
Hello! My name is Sam Nussbaum and I am a graduate student pursing a master’s degree at the School of Education in Higher Education Administration and I’m graduating in May 2020! I grew up in the Northern Virginia but after completing my undergraduate degree here at W&M in History and Classical Studies, Williamsburg is definitely starting to feel like home. At FYE, I am a part time summer graduate intern where I’m helping coordinate some of our signature Orientation Events and planning our new Tribe Live sessions. After graduation, I hope to move somewhere cold (ideally to Maine for the snow!) and work in admissions or career services. I knew that I wanted to come to W&M when I was in fourth grade after visiting for a class field trip because I’ve always loved history and knew I wanted to study in such a historic place! During my senior year at the College, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation and found myself at the School of Education’s Open House where I decided to pursue graduate school and spend another two years in the Burg!
If I could offer any advice about Orientation at W&M, it would be to embrace the experience. I met all of my closest friends in my freshman hall and Orientation really helped bring us together. I definitely found the long days overwhelming at times, but Orientation really helped make W&M feel like home. If I could offer one piece of advice to first year students, it would be to remember to take care of yourself and others. Your first year can be stressful at times but small acts of self-care or random acts of kindness towards others can truly change somebody’s day! No one accomplishes anything alone, so ask for help if you need it and be there others when they need an extra hand.
The Office of First Year Experience is responsible for creating an engaging transition experience where new students, both first-time in college and transfer students, are empowered to optimally thrive at William & Mary.