Penn State World Campus has recently brought on two new graduate assistants to support student engagement programming and co-curricular learning. Chris, interviewed below, is one of them. We discussed his plans for his role, what student engagement means for online learners, and his unique hobbies outside of work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself — where you’re from, your educational interests, your hobbies, etc.
I am an international student from France, enrolled in the lifelong learning and adult education Ph.D. program at Penn State University Park. My educational interests are in adult learning, distance education, motivation theories, vocational and technical education, and firefighting. I am hoping to pursue research in these fields for my career. Outside of school and work, I am involved as a volunteer at a couple different fire departments, including Alpha Fire Company in State College, where I am a live-in member. I also enjoy traveling and photography, which I do in my (rare) free time.
What excites you about being a graduate assistant for World Campus Student Affairs?
I’m excited about the world of opportunities it will bring for creativity! I am looking forward to finding different, innovative ways to connect with students both online and in-person at their respective locations. I am very happy to be a part of such a great team of professionals, from whom I will be learning best practices, and look forward to pursuing great things together. We already have a few projects in the pipeline!
What will your duties entail in your role as a graduate assistant?
I will be working hand-in-hand with the co-curricular coordinator on student engagement for Penn State World Campus. This means working with online events, engagement opportunities for World Campus students both online and in-person, and supporting current and new clubs/organizations of students.
Why do you think it’s important for students learning online to engage with their peers and with the University?
There are many services contributing to the college experience, both in terms of personal and professional development. Bringing this type of developmental support to students learning online is important to create a holistic college experience online. There is much more to be done than simply providing academic support to students, and numerous students crave a social experience as well, which we are hoping to help construct. One of Penn State’s strongest assets is its network, and it is important that Penn State World Campus students are a part of it!