Graduate Student Spotlight - Kimmy Brake

Briana Cresswell, NASPA IV-W Graduate Student Representative

January 20, 2017

Name: Kimmy Brake

Hometown: Osage Beach, MO

Graduate Institution: Missouri State University

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

Undergraduate Institution: Missouri State University

Why you chose your graduate institution: I chose to stay at Missouri State because of the amazing experiences I had as an undergraduate student. I knew I had so much more to learn from it. I had heard great things from previous members of the SAHE program and knew I wanted to be involved.

Why you wanted to go to graduate school: When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, I was not quite sure what my next step should be. I reflected on the experiences I had enjoyed the most while an undergraduate student. What I had never realized was that I was constantly spending my free time in Student Affairs. With that in mind, I decided to pursue graduate school for Student Affairs in Higher Education. An assistantship was available in the Career Center, where I had worked as an undergrad, and I knew it would be an incredible opportunity. My decision was a leap of faith, but I quickly learned that this was the place for me.

What area(s) of Student Affairs interest you most and why: I am most interested in Career Services. I have had incredible experiences working in Missouri State’s Career Center, and I enjoy it so much. Helping students better understand themselves, their experiences, and their goals is extremely rewarding. It becomes even more rewarding when they get to apply those by taking steps in their career.

A memorable moment working with your students at your assistantship: Recently, I met a nontraditional student who had come back to school after about three decades of working for the same company. He lost his job under unfavorable circumstances and had a very difficult time discussing his work experience. He was still very sensitive and hurt because of how he was treated and was concerned that he would not be able to discuss his only work experience in an interview. I spent time asking what he had done with the company, what skills he used, and what helped him succeed. While discussing these qualities, I was able to help him understand that his skills and accomplishments belonged to him. He did not lose these aspects when he lost his job. Further, he was incredibly excited and passionate about his new major, at which he was also very good! Throughout our meeting, his outlook completely changed. He went from defeated to excited and understood all the incredible opportunities he now has because of coming back to school. Students like this are why I am in Student Affairs, especially career development. There is something incredibly fulfilling about seeing a student grow to understand who they are, what they are good at, and where they can go because of it.

If you could take a year off from work/school what would you do?
If I had a year off, I think I would buy a tiny house and renovate it to be my own for half of the year. The next half, I would travel around the country to national parks and major landmarks.

What is your dream job?
My dream job is more of a dream environment: Leading an office where my staff is happy, supportive of each other, and constantly championing for student success.

The best gift you have ever received?
I’ve been given some incredible gifts, so it is hard to choose just one, but something I use all the time is a blanket that is a tarp on one side and a fuzzy blanket on the other. It’s one of those things that are incredibly practical and you would never think you need, but it is great. Thanks, mom!

My secret passion is?
Settlers of Catan and other board games.

What you would like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for being kind. There can never be enough kindness in the world.

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