The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New RLCs hope to develop relationships

As the academic year comes to a close, there is increasing anticipation about the three new Residence Life Coordinators (RLCs) hired for next year. Arrion Dennis, Becca Don and Darren Gallant were selected out of almost 80 qualified applicants after undergoing an extensive selection process.

The grueling selection process spread out over a period of three months and included interviews at national conferences, meetings with students and faculty on campus and evaluations.

Dennis, Don and Gallant all possess educational backgrounds similar to Grinnell’s liberal arts tradition.

“One of the things I’m really excited about is that all of the RLCs come from amazing undergraduate institutions that will help them understand Grinnell,” said Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life and Orientation Andrea Conner. “They have an inherent understanding of how we function.”

Dennis graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2008 with a degree in Government and minor in Sociology. She currently attends the College as a graduate student pursuing a degree in Educational Leadership and is she is set to graduate this spring.
“I’m sad to go after being at William and Mary for six years, but at the same time I’m excited,” Dennis said in a phone interview.
Don, currently a graduate student of Student Development in Postsecondary Education attending the University of Iowa, received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Studio Art from Kenyon College in 2005. After graduating from Kenyon, she worked as a page layout designer for the Chicago Sun Times for three years.

“I wanted to get my legs under me before working in Student Affairs,” Don said. “But I missed that smaller community that you can only have on a small campus.”

Gallant, also a graduate student, currently studies Higher Education and Student Personnel Administration at New York University. He graduated from Brandeis University in 2008 with a degree in Sociology and Politics.

In addition to having educational backgrounds in higher education, all of the new RLCs have hands-on experience in Student Affairs.
“A lot of my current experience in Student Affairs came from my college experience,” Don said. “I was pretty involved in undergraduate orientation—I developed a pre-orientation program [at Kenyon] for first year students that helped them get acclimated to campus.”
Dennis echoes this involvement in Student Affairs through her work in the admissions office and orientation and family programs. However, she wasn’t always interested in higher education.

“I was a government major. I was going to go to law school,” Dennis said.

However, at the beginning of her senior year, however, she began to reconsider.

“I thought, ‘I love working with students.’ My mentor told me that I could do it as a career. She steered me towards higher education and administration,” Dennis said. “I wrote my master’s thesis on how first generation college students transition to school and I would love to get involved in doing this on campus.”

Gallant, too, was very engaged outside of the classroom during his undergraduate years. He was involved in new student orientation, student mentoring, student government, and the career center. Through the career center, he discovered Student Affairs. Currently working at Columbia University, Gallant advises student groups focused around religious, spiritual, humanitarian, and social advocacy issues. He attributes his fondness for Grinnell to its history of social advocacy.

“I have strong values around social justice and civic engagement,” Gallant said.

All of the new hires have expressed their excitement and anticipation for next year.

“I’ve definitely been wearing a lot more red and black in my wardrobe,” Don said.

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