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NPGS Recognition #NASPAInTheNow

Supporting the Profession New Professionals and Graduate Students
July 26, 2022 Abby Taylor The University of Alabama at Birmingham

What award were you recognized with recently?

I received the New Professional Award from the Division of Student Affairs at Temple University, which is awarded to staff members with 3 years or fewer in their fields but have already shown what it means to go above and beyond expectations. 

Why higher education? What drove you to choose the field as your career?

Like many others that I’ve come across throughout my journey within higher ed, I fell into the field by accident. I was a TA in grad school and found that I really loved working with college students and helping to foster their interest in their education and passion areas. My original plan was to work within the academic side of the house in higher ed, but found myself in Student Affairs instead, which I feel is a really great fit for me right now. I was a first-generation college student from a working-class background and really struggled to find my footing within higher ed, so those experiences ultimately led me to a field where I’m now able to provide support, connection, and resources to students who may be having similar experiences.

What is one piece of advice that you have for current grad students and/or new professionals?

Celebrate your successes, regardless of how small they may seem! It can be so easy to get lost in imposter syndrome throughout grad school and adjusting to life as a new professional - don’t be so quick to brush off your accomplishments!

What does recognition mean to you? Why is it important to those in our field?

To me, recognition really just means being seen and having your accomplishments formally or informally acknowledged. I think it can be really easy to get lost in the day-to-day of the work that’s done in our field, so recognition provides the opportunity to pause and celebrate what’s been done. 

I believe recognition is vital within higher ed given the nature of the work that we do. I work with dozens of dedicated and skilled colleagues on a daily basis who commit their time and energy to student care, support, and collaboration with campus partners. I believe that creating a culture of more frequent recognition within higher ed would better allow for those who work tirelessly to support students feel appreciated, validated, and supported themselves. 

Author: Sarah Johnson, CARE Team Case Manager, Temple University