Hometown: Kirkland, WA
Major: International Studies (Latin America)
Graduating: June 2012
Hometown: Port Orchard, WA
Graduating: June 2012
How long have you been working as a student receptionist in Admissions, and what led you to seek out the job?
Jocelyn Perry: I started training at the Admissions Office the summer going into my sophomore year. I had a job off campus where I worked weekends, 20-plus hours. After talking to my mom, we decided that I should find a position that worked better with my class schedule. Later that day I took the elevator down McMahon Hall to eat dinner, saw the position posted, and applied later that night. Fast forward three years and I’m still here!
Darron Hernandez: I started working for the Admissions Office at the beginning of my sophomore year. I first learned about this position from a poster in an elevator. At the time, I needed to earn some extra money and I had never worked in an office before, so I decided to look into it. I am very pleased with how things have turned out.
How might prospective students, parents, and high school counselors encounter you and other student receptionists?
JP: As student receptionists, we assist prospective students and their families in person when they come for a campus tours. I usually point out the best places to eat and make sure the sun is cooperating that day. When they have more in-depth questions about the admissions process, I arrange for them to speak with one of our admissions counselors.
Most of the phone calls we answer are from parents and high school counselors. The majority of their questions concern whether a test score is high enough or what our average GPA is. We are trained to answer basic questions and then forward the caller on to the appropriate person or department.
What's your favorite part of the job?
JP: I absolutely love meeting new people and hearing their stories. During slower times, sometimes I’ll get to talk to a group for hours at a time. It’s really awesome when alumni come with their families because they see how the university has changed over the years.
DH: My favorite part of this job is definitely the interactions I have with the people who come in to see us. I have welcomed visitors from South Africa, Brazil, Hungary, Kazakhstan, and Senegal. As a linguist with a pretty good knack for languages, it is always fun to come across someone who speaks a language I know. For example, I studied Modern Hebrew here at UW for two years. When an Israeli family came in with their son who wanted to study here, I talked with them in Hebrew while they were waiting for a counselor to meet with them.
What activities at the UW were most important to you?
JP: Since my freshman year, I’ve had Dawg Pack tickets (in the student section) for both men’s basketball and football. Some of my best memories have been sitting on the 50-yard line or at half-court yelling for our team. My friends and I used to camp out in the rain and snow waiting to pile into Hec Ed. We’ve even been featured in ESPN The Magazine!
I’ve made lifelong friends and it’s something I will never forget. Through my involvement there, I got an internship this year with UW Athletic Communications. I write short stories and posts for GoHuskies.com and help the Seattle media during game days. I always joke with my mom that if she ever needs to send me a CARE package, she should send it to Graves or Schmitz halls because those are the only two places I live.
DH: I have been singing in choirs since seventh grade, and it was only logical for me to see what the UW had to offer. I chose to join the University Chorale, which is the UW School of Music’s premier undergraduate vocal music ensemble. The two years I spent with that group, performing great music with great people, have been excellent.
How has your job in Admissions changed your perception of the Admissions process?
DH: I see the amount of work that goes into each application. It is easy to assume that with the tens of thousands of applications, calls, and visitors we get in a year, we must have some kind of faceless machine hunched in the office taking applications in one end and ejecting letters out the back. The truth is that we have a team of real people going over every individual application. They open every application, read each personal statement, and see each applicant as a real person.
Another insight for me is the value of patience. We often get calls from people eager to hear about their applications or impatient with how long it takes to process their paperwork. With the number of applications coming in and the amount of time our staff gives to each one, the time applicants have to wait makes a lot more sense.
You're both about to graduate. WOOF! Where are you going from here?
JP: I’m planning to work for a year in Seattle, then look into non-profit work. I’m also exploring [Master's of Public Administration] programs both here and on the east coast.
DH: I plan to work for a year and then apply to a graduate program in linguistics. I'm really interested in doing fieldwork where linguists document and preserve endangered languages, such as the Ainu language, spoken in northern Japan, which the younger generations are neglecting.
Jocelyn and Darron, we appreciate your dedication, and we'll miss you. Good luck!
Interview conducted by Paula Shields, Communications Manager, May 7-8, 2012, via GoogleDocs