Kate Carnell Shares About Love for Student Involvement and Higher Education
March 18, 2016
By Jaime Eyssen
Kate Carnell’s passion for higher education and working with others began long before she became director of student involvement on campus at the University of Mount Union in 2006.
In fact, she realized her passion while studying at Mount Union many years before that, during her time as an undergraduate. As a student at Mount Union, Carnell was an education major, a sister of Alpha Xi Delta and an active member of Panhellenic Council. She served as a recruitment counselor three times and was involved in the music program. It was through her sorority life experiences that Carnell developed her love for higher education.
“I credit my sorority experience for helping me discover higher education as a career field,” Carnell said. “I think that being a sorority woman and learning what my voice sounded like as an advocate for things became really important.”
After graduating from Mount Union in 2000, Carnell graduated from the University of Akron with a master’s degree in educational administration. She then went on to work at Gannon University for four years as the assistant director in their Student Involvement and Leadership Office before returning to Mount to work in the Office of Student Affairs.
“The best part about my job is working with students,” Carnell said. “The students here are fun, they really want to do good work with everything they undertake, and they really care about each other a lot – to me, that is their best quality.”
Carnell enjoys being able to work directly with students on campus in order to help them become involved and active members of the campus community.
“I view my role is that of a connector; someone who connects students with the things that they are looking to do and the people to help them accomplish that,” Carnell said. “I really enjoy the chance to answer questions, help solve issues and problems, and celebrate victories of a job well done.”
Not only does Carnell enjoy providing students with different opportunities, but she enjoys learning from the students she works with as well.
“All of the students I have worked with over the course of my career thus far have influenced me in some way,” Carnell said. “I find myself learning new things all the time. A lot of that comes from the students and their experiences when they share those with me.”
Carnell has also learned lessons from the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors (AFA), the professional association for those who work in the field of FSL advising.
“I credit a lot of my professional development to the AFA,” Carnell said. “Because of the resources and network of professional colleagues, I’ve been able to grow and learn, bringing new ideas to our campus and FSL community.”
In addition to working with students on campus, Carnell teaches courses for the leadership minor and teaches a class at Kent State University in their graduate program for higher education and student personnel.
“How I approach everything with my job, with my coworkers, supervisor, students – it doesn’t matter who – is I always try to be open and genuine,” Carnell said. “I think that having that transparency plays out well; it allows me to be a better professional.”
Carnell plans on finishing up her Doctor of Philosophy degree this month and is excited to dedicate even more time to student organizations.
“I am looking to develop our leadership programming next year, as soon as I am done with school,” Carnell shared. “In all honesty, I really enjoy my job and I’m excited about having some more time to dedicate to some new and exciting projects for the fall. I really value what my own sorority advisor told me on our first day of membership – you get out of sorority what you put in to it. I have taken that to heart and apply it everything I do.”