Student Affairs Philosophy
I am a student affairs educator currently living in Minneapolis, MN. I grew up in Bemidji, MN and have found a home among the friends I have not met yet. I am a fat, queer, nonbinary, creative activist dedicated to providing social change through storytelling. I am futuristic, disciplined, extremely empathetic, strive to learn all that I can, and aim to achieve ambitious goals.
Asking questions fills me with glee and sitting on porches brings me comfort. Wind chimes make me feel grounded and country music makes me feel nostalgic. Dive bars remind me of home. Frothed coffee creamer gives me a spring in my step and fresh flowers rejuvenate me. Cowboys make me giddy and gel pens sooth me. Pink dresses bring me delight and fun pants fill me with happiness. Colorful eyeshadow dares me to be bold. Dogs make me smile, especially the ones that wiggle their butts when they get excited. Rolling the windows down in my car at 11:39pm and screaming my favorite song reminds me of how large and complex the world is. I have an intense love for a lot of things; but above all else, I love love the most.
I am passionate about fat liberation, creativity, prioritizing joy, reproductive justice, and paid internships. I bring these values with me every day to my personal and professional work. I earned my bachelor's at Hamline University, where I majored in Music and Social Justice, with minors in Nonprofit Management and Digital Media Arts. I am currently pursuing my master's in Higher Education at the University of Minnesota.
Hamline Lead Team during Orientation 2018
St. Thomas LSA Cohort 2022
During my time as an undergraduate student at Hamline University, I discovered my love for working in student affairs. I spent two years as a Student Coordinator with New Student Programs, where I was able to cultivate the skills necessary to support incoming students as they adjusted to campus life. I also had the opportunity to present my research at a NODA Region V Annual Conference analyzing the socio-economic barriers to student involvement, and the ways that institutions can incorporate equitable access to involvement in ways that enrich, instead of burden, the student college experience.
As I continue to work in student affairs, I am continuously enamored with learning how to be flexible and maintain relationships between students, faculty, and staff to achieve a common goal: making new students feel welcomed, supported, and successful on campus. I have worked closely with a wide variety of students including first-generation students, students of various racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, students from low-income families, students from rural communities, LGBTQIA+ students, and adult learners. I bring these values and experiences with me to any functional area of higher education, regardless of context.
I passionately believe in prioritizing joy as a radical act of community building. I have found that the sharing of joy in physical, emotional, intellectual, and intrapersonal ways creates the opportunity to build shared commonality within a community. I rely on the principles of transformative justice that invite student affairs professionals to think bigger; understanding that to see systemic and community-wide change, we cannot evaluate and assess joy in numbers. Instead, we would need to go back to root systems to name what needs to change, so that we do not need to guarantee that we are hitting the benchmarks on joy. This in turn, initiates transformative change in the lives of students through diverse challenges, supportive communities, and revolutionary education.
Soph & Sal During Hamline Admitted Students Day 2020
Like most undergraduate students, I did not realize that student affairs was considered a profession until I worked in the office of student affairs. I find it ironic, considering that my mentors within the student affairs office are the ones I must thank for helping me discover what I am passionate about. My undergraduate music and social justice majors taught me the importance of artistic activism, but the work I did within the division of student affairs taught me the importance of identity, relationship building, self-authorship, reflection, and meaning making. Synthesizing all these experiences helped me identify my purpose, as well as further my development as a student and educator.
Anna & Soph at the 2022 UST Tree Lighting Ceremony
I hope that through programming, policies, and community building, students can not only survive, but thrive at their institutions. I quickly learned that the field of student affairs calls for dismantle barriers for students so that they can be successful. Going further, I admire the unique way that the field takes a step further to empower students to reach their fullest potential. I believe in the powerful partnership between student affairs educators and faculty members and its impacts on student learning and development.