Melissa Shugarman '09
Majors and Minors Sociology, English-Literature, and Classical Studies
Employer Concordia College
Current Position Residence Hall Director
How long have you been in your current position? Three Months
Describe your career pathway...
I've know that student affairs was a area of career interest for me since my junior year at Concordia. I've always working on administrative tasks and with organizations that help people succeed. After college I interviewed with many different schools and ended up coming back to Concordia to work.
Description of overall job duties and responsibilities ...
The job of a Residence Hall Director is quite multifaceted. I am the supervisor for a staff of nine students, sit on departmental committees, oversee the daily operations of the residence hall, and meet with students for a variety of reasons. My main responsibility is to uphold the mission of our department and provide a safe environment for living and learning.
What is your typical day like?
My typical day consists of at least two drop-in hours (where students do not need to schedule an appointment to see me), facilitating staff meetings, participating in meetings with other professionals, meeting with students who live in my building, and working on programming for the residents of the building.
What personal qualities or specific skills are important to being successful in your position?
Effective communication is probably the biggest skill needed for this position. Every portion of my job requires me to communicate with someone in someway. Whether it be explaining a policy to a student, writing an email to my supervisor, or listening to concerns, being able to communicate is incredibly important.
How has your liberal arts education helped you in your career and pathway?
My liberal arts education has helped me bridge gaps with people whom I may not share commonalities. Having taken classes that vary in fields of study and focus has become an amazing relational tool. Additionally, the classes in my liberal arts education not only taught me the subject matter at hand, but also the skills to most effectively work with different types of people, think critically, and convey information to others with differing interests and backgrounds. Learning to master the art of thinking critically about policies, situations, and theories has been applicable to my career and life as a whole.
What part of your job do you find most satisfying?
The most satisfying part of my job is knowing that I am helping students be successful. From answering small questions about classes to helping a person discover some of their talents and gifts, I can help create a positive image of the future.
What part of your job do you find most challenging?
The most challenging part of my job is working with students whose choices are not always healthy. However, there is great reward in talking with them about these choices and helping them find others.
What advice would you give to students thinking of majoring in your major?
Majoring in Sociology was a great experience at Concordia. The faculty and staff are fully invested in each student that walks through their classroom and office doors. I was able to experience many different types of learning and subject matters. I was constantly engaged in whatever subject my classes were studying. Most importantly, everything that is talked about in sociology classes applies to every individual in someway.
Is there any other advice you would like to share?
I feel truly lucky that I am a graduate of Concordia's sociology program.