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Ready to be Blown Away in the Windy City!: Rod Kelley

January 29, 2010

Greetings from Florida State University! My name is Rod Kelley, and I am one of the proud recipients of the Golden Key/NASPA Annual Conference scholarship! I am a second year Masters student in the Higher Education program with a focus on Student Affairs. I spend my time in the classroom as a student while also working in the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities as a graduate assistant. I am also involved with our Higher Education Student Association and help program professional development activities for students in my graduate program.

Just like several professionals in the field, I was a very involved student leader, connected to organizations related to orientation, admissions, residence life, and multicultural affairs. In my decision to pursue student affairs as a vocation, I identified three primary motivations: my passion for leadership development, my commitment to service and servant leadership, and my love of the first-year experience. The three motivations have guided my path in student affairs and have grown to include a focus on moral and ethical development due to my work in student conduct. These tenets guide my approach to effective practice and my interactions with students.

When considering the upcoming NASPA annual conference, I realize that the month of March is so close and yet so far. Golden Key International and NASPA have provided a great opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to attend a premiere student affairs conference, and I couldn’t be more excited! In doing my research on the city that will be home to this year’s annual conference, I discovered many interesting details about Chicago that will make the conference experience fantastic…

  • Chicago is the nation’s third largest metropolitan city, totaling nearly 3 million people
  • Chicago is home to the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the tallest building in the Western hemisphere
  • Chicago is a film friendly city and has served as the setting for movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone, and The Dark Knight
  • Chicago is home to the nation’s oldest public zoo, The Lincoln Zoo, and averages nearly three million visitors each year!
  • Chicago is home to several sports teams, including the Bears (football), the Bulls (basketball), the White Sox and Cubs (baseball), and the Blackhawks (hockey)
  • If you like good eats, Chicago is well-known for its deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dog, while tempered with over 20 fully vegetarian restaurants throughout the city

And that’s just scratching the surface about how great of a location Chicago is for an annual conference. However, there is more to this year’s NASPA Conference than the city, its attractions, and the Chicago experience.  The opportunity to reflect and examine the benefits of the student affairs legacy while making strides to move our field and higher education forward is really what sells this conference more than any other aspect of the conference environment. As a second-year Masters student, I am excited about opportunities to participate  in the African American Male Summit, attend sessions such as “All About Me: Expectations of Millenials and Moral Development,” and learn great hints from sessions like “What Graduate School Didn’t Teach You: For New Staff and Students.” Having served as a The Placement Exchange (TPE) Intern in Seattle last year, I know that volunteers are valuable assets in helping a conference to run smoothly and efficiently. I look forward to getting involved with the conference through volunteering and meet professionals from various student affairs areas and backgrounds, picking their brains about their experience and maybe determining whether there are six degrees (or less) of separation between ANY student affairs professional!

I hope my attendance at NASPA 2010 will build my commitment to professional development and expose me to ways to contribute to the field. As a new professional next year, it will be daunting to consider just how I could offer any information about best practices or current trends through the scope of whatever position I may have. Through attending this year’s annual conference, I hope to find a venue for my voice that would extend beyond this year’s conference. In finding a place for the voice of a new professional, I hope to share this information with my peers and colleagues and empower them to share their perspectives.

With these goals in mind, I’m ready for the conference to begin!

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 23, 2010 4:21 pm

    Go Noles, Rod!

    I, too, am a fellow Nole and currently working at Golden Key Honour Society. Congrats on winning the scholarship to attend NASPA in Chicago. Looking forward to saying hello!

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