Award Winner Reflections: Sara Kelly
Today’s reflection comes from our Regional New Professional Award Winner, Sara Kelly, Coordinator of Residential Education at The College of Brockport.
Reflecting on this year’s NASPA Region II Conference in Buffalo, I am overwhelmed by the sense of community that this organization creates. The educational sessions and speakers contributed to my professional development and abilities to build community at my institution, while the networking opportunities and wonderful members created a welcoming environment. I commend the planning team and host institution for helping participants “break new ground” with sessions and connections with other professionals. As a newer professional, I particularly appreciated the approachability of the senior level professionals, including the President of NASPA, directors, deans, etc.
I was honored to receive the Region II New Professional Award. Through my interactions with so many new professionals at the conference, I am extremely honored to receive this award because of the incredible talent and skills of the new professionals in our region. We are fortunate to have so many mentors in our region who support new professionals like me to pursue new ideas, challenge ourselves and recognize our skills. Particularly at The College at Brockport, Leah Barrett (Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs) and Dave Bagley (Director of Residential Life/Learning Communities) serve in this mentor role for me on a daily basis. I also feel like I met new potential mentors at the conference. Without mentors that are invested in new professionals, their growth and future, we wouldn’t have such a strong group of promising new professionals in our region.
As a result of receiving this award, I was afforded the opportunity to introduce Dr. Magolda and Dr. Baxter Magolda. What an amazing opportunity to meet and introduce two prominent scholars and educators in our field! It was also great to see them attend sessions and participate in the conference, which really added to the entire conference experience. Similarly, Don McPherson’s speech was real and engaging. It is energizing and reassuring that a strong male role model is fighting to make positive social change. And, his stories and humor added to his message!
I’m already excited for Region II to come together next year in NYC! We have a great conference team that is already working hard to continue to build the NASPA Region II community. As the Education Program Co-Chair, I look forward to reviewing submissions and contributing to another strong educational experience. See you in NYC!