Graduate Student Spotlight - Bailey Dunn

Kristin Wyninegar, NASPA IV-W Graduate Student Representative

July 13, 2017

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown: Kinston, NC

Graduate Institution: Colorado State University (CSU)

Degree you are working towards: Student Affairs in Higher Education, Masters of Science

Undergraduate Institution: Meredith College, Raleigh, NC

Previous Institutions: Colorado State University (Online Student/ Full Time Financial Aid Counselor ’14-16); Lenoir Community College

Why you chose your graduate institution: Having worked at CSU prior to applying to the program and completing the online Student Affairs in Higher Education Certificate program, I knew I loved the ethos by which the university, professors and practitioners operated daily. I was attracted to the idea of learning from practitioners that were full time practitioners and scholars and being able to do so in a small environment, similar to the small, liberal art’s college experience that I experienced during my time at Meredith College.  Additionally, the program is built around students actively working and reflecting in real time within our chosen field and that access to students and collaborative spirit with colleagues was not something I wanted to lose with the choice of leaving my full time position to go back to graduate school.

Why you wanted to go to graduate school: I have known I wanted to work in Student Affairs, since my junior year of college when my mentor, Tomecca Sloane, introduced me to the field as a professional option. Tomecca always pushed me to pursue knowledge that benefited others, to always question what and how I have come to know the world and people around me, and lit an internal passion for social justice within my spirit.  I saw graduate school as a formal way to do continue this growth. I wanted to go to graduate school in order to give myself a chance to be challenged to grow and develop first as a person and as a professional in ways that will make me better prepared to engage with, challenge, support and guide the future students I hope to work among.

What area(s) of Student Affairs interest you most and why: Diversity Programs and Services has always been a passion area of mine, for many reasons personal and professional. The first being simply, it is the work that fills my cup, that drains me and yet each day I wake up ready to give 10x more. Secondly, my personal success in college would not have been near that which it was without the support I received in developing pride, knowledge and empowerment within my marginalized identities. I was given the spaces in which I no longer had to solely focus on managing my surroundings, but where I was empowered to excel as a student honoring all of my identities and given the tools create more of those safe spaces with my peers. And finally, the challenge I received from these same resources around my privileged identities pushed me to grow as an individual and leader more recognizably than the sum of all my courses. For all these reasons and more, I love the work that comes with engaging undergraduate students in their leadership, social, moral and intellectual development, however that may come.

A memorable moment working with your students at your assistantship (if applicable): The very last student I worked with as a financial aid counselor was an prospective nonresident student visiting with her mom and both were nervous about the distance from home. During the conversation, the student’s mother outed her to me (with consent) and asked about my experiences at CSU- seeming somewhat unhappy about this aspect of her daughter’s life. Long story short: being from the east coast too, I was able to share some of my experiences with them and explained that I would be leaving their financial aid family, but would still be at the university if they ever needed anything. That student became one of my first students during my practicum at CSU’s Pride Resource Center – she told me about her adjustments to her studies, change of major, and new girlfriend, she was having a blast. She and I also called her mom to wish her a happy birthday half-way through Fall semester as a surprise. Her mom cried. I really have loved getting to know my students more throughout the year and that particularly was a really fun way to see one of them and their family come full circle in celebrating their identities and adventures.

What are your hobbies? I really like working with my hands and being outside, when I’m not working, so my favorite hobbies are: woodworking (building/flipping furniture), wakeboarding (when on the east coast), and travelling all over the world with my wife, Sarah.

What is your dream job? President of Meredith College. And if not that, definitely Director of a Gender and Sexuality Center at a larger institution or Dean of Students at a smaller institution.

The best gift you have ever received? My grandmother, whom at the time was a retired farmer living in the rural south, who thought her computer (which didn’t have internet) was just her solitaire gaming system and who’s dementia was starting to really set in, worked with her sister to make me a mixed cd for my 16th birthday with all the songs from when she turned 16. There was a story for every song. I still cry thinking about how sweet that was and much work that must have been for them both.

My secret passion is? Figuring out how my wife and I can down size our life enough to pursue living in a tiny house, or even better, our Westfalia and travel!

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