The first time I heard about Nazareth College was in the year 2000 when I was a sophomore in high school and my sister, Nicole, had applied to the institution. I believe she was accepted into multiple programs at several colleges, but she chose to attend Nazareth. This was great for both of us–she was able to pursue a major she was interested in at a highly-regarded instution of higher education, and I had a place to visit two hours away from where I was living.
After visiting Nicole multiple times throughout my junior and senior years of high school, I too was hooked on Nazareth. In fact, when it came time for me to research colleges, it ultimately was the only school to which I applied (and as an early decision applicant).
Fast forward a few years and the two of us graduated with our bachelor’s degrees. We both moved back to Utica to work following our time at Nazareth. While she and the rest of my family still live in Utica, I took the first opportunity I had to return to Nazareth. As I said, I was hooked. So, after three years of living in Utica, I moved back to Rochester.
Here I am, 7 1/2 years later working at Nazareth. I’ve since graduated again–this time with a master’s degree in management. Why have I spent more than a decade involved with the institution since 2000? There’s so many reasons I could mention, but to sum it up in just a few:
- It’s a place that offers its students numerous opportunities for success–academically, socially, and on virtually any other level you could conceive.
- Specifically on the academic side, I was always impressed that the faculty to student ratio. It has likely changed slightly over the years, but when I matriculated, it was 14:1, which resulted in some rich class discussions and debates. In addition, the vast majority of our faculty have terminal degrees in their fields and they always knew how to help push and guide these discussions to make topics clearer, more meaningful, and engaging to everyone.
- On the staff side, the term organizational compassion comes to mind. While our collective goal is to foster student success, Nazareth as an instiution recognizes that it must retain committed and hard-working staff to deliver on that goal. Over the years, my coworkers have shown me time and time again how selfless they can be and that they care about the success of everyone. I completely get that because I, too, feel the same way. I’m a firm believer in helping others whenever possible, and basing my actions on what makes the moset sense for the greatest number of people.
While I’ve been recognized in the past for my commitment to Nazareth and the students, I was humbled to receive the Staff Innovation Award, along with my co-worker Josh Loucks, as part of the Student Success Awards ceremony held at the end of November. This recognition event is the brainchild of Andy Morris and his Student Success team. According to the Student Success Awards website, the Staff Innovation Award “honors faculty and staff members who improve the quality, service level, or efficiency of a program, service or process, and therefore directly or indirectly impact the student experience through these creative innovations.”
In particular, it was through the development and release of our mobile app, called NazApp, that we were able to improve several processes for students, like class registration.
Again, it was a tremendous honor to receive this and I think it simply reinforces the impact we as staff and faculty have on our students and their success. Other, incredibly well-deserving Student Success Award recipients included: Christina Driessen, Jamie Fazio, and Greg Foran. Honorable mentions included: Linda Crandall and Diana Krenzer.
More information can be found here: https://www2.naz.edu/news/2016/November/266/nazareth-honors-staff-dedicated-to-student-success