Carly Halverson – Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs

Prior to starting at the University of Portland,
I was working a corporate job and found myself wildly unhappy in that. I thought back to a time when I was the happiest,
and I realized that was when I was in college. At that point, I realized that I wanted to
get back onto a college campus in some capacity. I began working for the Housing and Residence
Life team at the University of Portland and was introduced to the Master of Arts in Higher
Education and Student Affairs program offered by the School of Education. Coming into the program, I had my conception
of higher education solely based on my experience during my undergraduate career. The MA HESA program provided a different angle
of higher education and showed the multitude of positions that are available at a university. I refer back to many of the classes that I
took during my program in my work as a Residence Director. The professors were extremely knowledgeable
and set up all the students for success in their career, whatever path in higher education
that might be. Beginning my position as a Residence Director,
I believe that I had an advantage because of my Masters and having the foundation of
knowledge of why things in higher education are done the way they are and how we can work
to improve areas that are broken. I am able to talk about the challenges that
we face with a professional and academic language, that I would not have been able to without the HESA
program. Although there are some difficult and heavy
days working in higher education, I am constantly reminded how grateful I am for my job because
I get to sit down with students and hear about their Spring Break plans and what they have
planned for after graduation. I get to help students through these big life
changes and be a part of their journey in such a pivotal moment in their lives, and
I am truly honored that I get the opportunity to play a large role in that. The MA HESA program helped me understand the
importance of my role in higher education.

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