The Catholic University of America

May 12, 2014

Students Inspired to Pursue Higher Ed Careers

  Graduating senior Anthony Turon (third from left) poses with fellow students while volunteering during Orientation.

Though there’s much to learn from textbooks and tests, what happens outside of the classroom can be life-changing for some college students. Often, it is extracurricular activities or campus jobs that help young people determine where their passions are.

That was the case for three graduating Catholic University students who will soon be pursuing careers in higher education.

Following graduation, senior Emily McDonald of Lauderhill, Fl., a media studies major, will study student development in higher education at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. While there, she will serve as an assistant in the Student Wellness Resource Center. McDonald was inspired to pursue this path through her job in the Office of the Dean of Students, where she has worked since her freshman year.

“I just thought that was such a cool job to talk to students and to help them through all sorts of different things, and to get to know students in that kind of way,” McDonald said. “It really opened my eyes to a whole different side of school.”

For the past three years, McDonald has been working as a resident assistant. In that job, she enjoys being able to help other students grow and to connect them with resources on campus they might not know about.

“I think it’s just a really awesome way to connect with students outside of the classroom,” McDonald said. “Not only does college help you decide what you want to be when you grow up, but it helps give you the life skills you need to get there. I feel like that’s the fun part of learning in college rather than just being in school."

Starting this fall, senior Anthony Turon of Elizabeth, N.J., will study higher education administration and student personnel at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. While there, he will live and work as a resident director at the University of Mount Union in nearby Alliance, Ohio.

Turon originally came to CUA to study law, but he changed his plans after discovering a passion for campus leadership. During his time as a student, Turon has been active in residence life, Orientation, the CUA chapter of the Knights of Columbus, and the Frisbee team. He was also an undergraduate fellow for two years in the Center for Academic Success.

Turon said he enjoys working with students as a way of passing on what he has learned during his time at CUA.

“I’ve been lucky to know a number of students and staff members who have helped form me, not only as a leader, but as a person as well,” he said. “It’s through my work in various student organizations and being an R.A. as well, that I’m able to really give back to the community and help to develop that next generation of students.”

Graduate student Matthew Maddatu is also hoping to get a job in higher education after he completes his master’s in catechesis this month. Maddatu earned his bachelor’s in psychology from CUA in 2012 and has worked as a resident assistant for three years. Working as a resident assistant was something Maddatu loved “from day one,” he said. In the future, he hopes to serve as a residence life community director.

“Every day can be really stressful with a lot going on, but at the end of the day, it’s been a lot of fun to work with students who are really passionate about the things they do,” he said. “I love being able to work with students throughout the year and even beyond. For me, that’s the goal of residence life, to be able to empower students now and in the future.”

Maddatu hopes to find a job on a Catholic campus where he can help students grow in their faith as well as their academic careers. Wherever he ends up, he hopes to help build the same strong sense of community he has found at CUA.

“Everyone knows each other really well and I think it’s such a positive thing when you’re trying to figure out yourself and figure out a new situation here in college, knowing that people are there for you,” he said. “That’s something I want to take with me to all jobs in the future. I always want to be inclusive and I always want to make sure people feel at home and are comfortable and realize this is a safe space to live and to grow and to learn.”




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