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Orientation Leader

Student earns national recognition for student affairs work

Helping students make the transition from high school to college is something Erin Wentzel, ’20, G’22 is passionate about. Recently, her efforts were recognized by the National Orientation Directors Association (known these days simply as NODA)  which awarded her the Outstanding Graduate Student Award at its national convention.

“It still hasn’t hit me what this award really means. To be recognized nationally for the work I’m doing and want to continue to do, this is reassuring,” she said.

NODA, the organization for orientation, transition, and retention professionals, previously recognized Wentzel on the regional level. (Also, previously honored was Jake Dee-Hastings, ’21, who took home the regional Outstanding Undergraduate Student Leadership Award; while BSU’s orientation program itself took home the Innovation Program Award.)

It’s no surprise to Heather Flatto, associate director center for student engagement, that Wentzel is now being recognized at the national level.

Wentzel has served in BSU Student Affairs as a student orientation coordinator, systems intern, and front desk manager of the Rondileau Student Union. She is currently enrolled in the BSU graduate student affairs counseling program.

“Erin is a well-rounded individual with a great head on her shoulders,” Flatto said. “She is essential to the operations of our office. Her customer service skills and ability to critically think under pressure are great.”

Erin Hennessey , administrative assistant in BSU’s Center for Student Engagement, said Wentzel’s work with Recruit software has been instrumental in helping the orientation team.

“Erin made a very complicated tracking process extremely manageable with her detailed visual instruction that took days and numerous hours to complete,” Hennessey said.

Wentzel can pinpoint the exact moment when she knew she wanted to pursue a career in student affairs. At the time she was working as a student orientation leader and had just wrapped up an orientation session with a group of new students.

They marked the event with a celebration.

“All of the leaders lined up to see the students walk out the door. We had music blasting, dancing, screaming…Seeing the students walk out the door with smiling faces, that’s when I realized this is what I want to do with my life,” Wentzel said.

After graduate school, she plans to apply to various colleges and institutions with the goal of making student affairs a full-time career.

“I love being the bridge for students who come to college with so much independence but don’t know what to do with it…I like helping them, making sure they know everything will work out and they are supported in any way they need,” Wentzel said.

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