Joining the Team

By Kristen Aquilino, International Career Fellow

Hi everyone! It’s very exciting to be here at Elon and a part of the SPDC team. As Danielle mentioned in her post on Monday, I just recently arrived and thought this would be a great opportunity to say… thank you for such a warm welcome!

Three weeks ago I started as an International Career Advising Fellow and am thrilled to be able to work with students and colleagues to help foster the global career aspirations of the Elon student community. So far it has been a wonderful whirlwind of meeting new people, training, settling in, and learning about all that the university has to offer.

My path to Elon has involved a variety of both domestic and international experiences, each with a very close tie to the field of Education. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and International Studies at Penn State University, I worked to gain experience within education from multiple vantage points including consulting, teaching, and programming, as well as through completion of a Master’s degree in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland. As for this leg of the journey, it’s great to be immersed in the southern hospitality of North Carolina and energized by the innovative spirit of Elon.

With this blog, we (the fellows) look forward to posting interesting discussion topics, reflecting on our experiences, and sharing helpful resources along the way!

A Rainbow of Campus Activities

Created by: Katie Smith, 2012-2013 Career Advising Fellow

I have chosen to work in higher education for many reasons, one of which is the opportunity to hear brilliant, acclaimed, and influential speakers. Another is the opportunity to participate in silly events and fundraisers such as the Elon Color Run. Both happened this past week!

Last Thursday evening, Maya Angelou, a world-renowned poet and author spoke at Elon’s fall convocation ceremony, an event free to Elon students, faculty, and staff. For almost two hours we sat packed in the alumni gym, spellbound, listening to a woman whose name we knew and whose words we’ve read. Angelou opened with a song and spoke about her life with a sharp wit and poetic cadence, telling jokes, making occasional jabs, and imparting great wisdom to first-year students and anyone else who was along for the ride.

Angelou encouraged students to take advantage of their time at Elon multiple times throughout her speech. She challenged students to make use of the library’s resources and to push their teachers, maximizing their education and learning a history different from their own. “Be a rainbow in the clouds for others,” she told us. “When you learn, teach, and when you get, give.”


Maya Angelou Speaks at Fall Convocation

While walking home, still slightly stunned from listening to such a brilliant woman, I had the surprise of running into a student game of flashlight tag. It’s the simple pleasures that can balance the intellectual challenge of living and working on a college campus, and for this I am grateful.

Living out our simple pleasures as well as our career services duties and academic campus events, on Saturday Mikki and I participated in the Elon Color Run, a 2k fundraiser event planned and coordinated by Campus Recreation and Elonthon. Participants dressed in white and at several points throughout the race, we were covered in colored powder, creating a big rainbow mess by the finish line. This first-time event at Elon had over 450 enthusiastic participants and raised over $4,000 for the Duke Children’s Hospital.

Together, these two events paint a picture of some of the greatest advantages of working at an institution. Amazing minds and wisdom complemented with fun and philanthropy, all for a great cause.


Mikki, Hope, and I at the Elon Color Run!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Created by: Katie Smith, 2012-2013 Career Advising Fellow

On Monday September 27th from 7-9 PM, the Student Professional Development Center staff held a Meet & Greet event for our newest satellite office, located in the Station at Mill Point Depot building.

When Mikki and I each came to campus for our interviews at the end of April 2012, the Station at Mill Point was still just a blueprint and an architectural plan with the very beginning of a construction site visible to the local community. A quick four months later, a neighborhood of 24 houses stood ready for move-in day.

Approximately 320 undergraduate students live in the Station at Mill Point, a community of townhouse-style apartments designed for students of junior and senior status. Located just a short walk from campus, the apartments are designed to give upperclass students the independence they seek with the amenities they want. Did I mention there’s a small fitness center, an outdoor pool and a sand volleyball court?

As part of our fellowship position, Mikki, Ashley, and I have the good fortune of living in the beautiful brand new community at Station at Mill Point, a perk with benefits for both us and our student neighbors. Not only do we get to enjoy our own spacious 4-bedroom/4-bathroom apartment and the nearby community facilities, but our convenient residential location also allows us to give back to the community in a big way.

In the Station at Mill Point Depot building, students can find Mikki, Ashley or I working as the career advisor available for drop-in appointments Monday-Thursday from 1:30-5 PM and on Monday evenings from 7-9. While students can, of course, schedule appointments with the three of us or any other SPDC staff members through our main office in Moseley, this new satellite office location allows us to provide accessible services and greater availability in a location convenient to hundreds of junior and senior students.

The well-attended Meet & Greet event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our new office location and to advertise the availability of career services to our new neighborhood. Evening drop-in hours start next Monday and we are excited to serve as an additional resource for students nearing the end of their college careers. Spread the word, career services is in the neighborhood!

Exploring North Carolina!

Created by: Katie Smith, 2012-2013 Career Advising Fellow

Perhaps apparent from Mikki’s post, the past two months have been a whirlwind of new knowledge, experiences, and activities, and already, our time is flying by.

So far our time here has been a crash course in Career Services information and practices, in Elon University people and traditions, and in North Carolina culture, attractions, and even accents (hello, y’all!).

Accompanied by Ashley and other friends we have made across campus, Mikki and I have had the opportunity to explore the local Elon/Burlington area and also to visit some of the other NC cities in driving distance. In the nearby city of Greensboro, we have seen the Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball team, we have been salsa dancing, and we even joined a kickball league!  We have also spent a weekend swimming and relaxing at the beautiful Wrightsville Beach about three hours away in Wilmington, and most recently, we also had a chance to visit the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte!

This past Saturday, Mikki and I had the absolute pleasure of advising the student-led Elon Outdoors whitewater rafting trip to Charlotte, NC, which is about two hours away from Elon. We were excited to accompany an enthusiastic group of 48 undergraduate students to this well-known park that also serves as a training center for US Olympians in kayaking. In beautiful weather, we ziplined, rock climbed, completed high ropes courses, jumped off of a four-story platform, and, of course, whitewater rafted! While we aren’t quite ready for the Olympics, we had a blast paddling our way through eddies and dips and taking cover for particularly fast plunges.


So far Elon and North Carolina have been good to us and we cannot wait to continue exploring all that is nearby!

Impromptu Career Advising

By: Ashley Pinney, 2011-2012 Career Advising Fellow

So I’m at the gym a couple of weeks ago, sweating profusely, wearing shorts and a tank-top, and my hair is in something that looks like a bun/bird’s nest on top of my head and one of my former students approaches me and we begin a conversation about her life direction, grad school decisions, etc. I’m flattered that this student likes me that much to stand so close to me despite me being disgusting. It was then I realized that these “impromptu career advising sessions” happen to me all the time.

The Top 5 Places Where Impromptu Career Advising Takes Place for me at Elon (in no particular order):

1. Women’s bathrooms  2. Parking Lots   3. The Gym   4. Old Trollinger (where Marianne and I live)  5. Acorn coffee shop

The whole campus is my office…

Career Advisors as Greek Week Judges

By: Ashley Pinney, 2011-2012 Career Advising Fellow

Last night, Rene Jackson and I served as judges for the annual Greek Week Dance/Skit night. It was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed being asked to help out with fun activities like these and I think it’s good for students to see that staff are interested in what they do.

Me, Scott, Evan, and Rene serving as judges

Lots of color and costumes!


By Marianne Brigola, Career Fellow 2011-2012

Like Ashley, I had the opportunity to accompany of group of students on an Alternative Spring Break group through the Elon Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. My group traveled to Atlanta, GA to work on three different project related to urban poverty. The entire trip was student-led and organized; my primary role was just to serve as a faculty representative in case of an emergency.

One of projects was working with the Cool Girls organization in Atlanta, a non-profit after-school mentoring program for girls, aimed at mentorship and increasing positive self-image. We had the opportunity to tour their cool, pink downtown office where the students learned more about the organization and their task for the week. The students went to three different elementary schools, where they tutored students and then performed a skit on healthy family relationships for the students, followed by leading discussion groups.

Elon students performing their skit for elementary students!

I could tell the Elon students had a great time interacting with the girls and the girls seemed to really enjoy talking with them as well!

Elon students tutoring

We also worked with the Atlantic Community Food Bank in their community garden, Product Rescue Center and Kids in Need programs as well as with a homeless men’s shelter.

Stone Mountain


In addition to the various service projects, we had the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of Atlantic with  a hike on Stone Mountain one day.

Atlanta Spring Break Participants


Our trip coordinators Carling A. and Kim L. did a great job organizing the trip: from the logistics of where we stayed to our daily schedules, to leading our reflection sessions. I was really impressed with their coordination and planning skills. It was great getting to know students outside of the Elon campus and I’m so thankful to the students, the Kernodle Center and the SPDC for allowing me to participate in such a wonderful experience!