From Student Activities to Admissions: Kirsten Simmons finds family at St. Andrews
Laurinburg, N.C. - When Kirsten Simmons moved to the Scotland County area in 2001, she moved next door to a couple who worked at St. Andrews Presbyterian College.
"I moved next door to Michelle Simmons (who worked in career services) and she told me there was a student activities position open at the College," said Kirsten Simmons. "I interviewed with (then Dean of Students) Cynthia Robinson and got the job."
As the Director of Student Activities, Simmons worked with students to plan events like concerts, comedians, hypnotists, games and campus wide parties for the student body to enjoy. Although she enjoyed the position, after Robinson moved over to Admissions, the atmosphere of the office changed. Soon the hours started to wear on Simmons and she decided that it was time for a new position. Luckily, there was a position across the campus lake ready for her.
"I moved to Admissions for the 2005-2006 academic year," Simmons said. "It was a bit of culture shock. It was pretty much a 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. job in student activities and then a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Admissions. I enjoyed the activities and the students but the hours were much better for me after the move."
As an admissions counselor, Simmons now helps students learn about St. Andrews and decide if the fit is right for them. She gets to know them a little bit through the process, but does not work with them as intensely as she did in the student activities position. She is appreciative that she gets that opportunity now with her latest responsibility in the admissions office.
"I get to have a little bit of that student interaction now that I am the international student admissions counselor," she said. "I get to work with them on a different level because the process is more intense."
Simmons not only enjoys the work, but the people she spends business hours with on a daily basis.
"You couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with," she said. "We all get along and wish the best for each other. There are friendships that extend beyond the office. Cynthia promotes that and allows us to do the job and work together, instead of promoting competition.
"Prospective students and their families get to experience that family atmosphere and energy in our office," she continued. "They understand instantly that it is an authentic connection and is different than most other schools they visit."
While Simmons remains committed to the College, she is taking some time to complete her teaching certificate, a process she started 10 years ago. Having completed her classroom work five years ago, around the time her daughter Brooke was born, she just has the student teaching portion left to complete the process.
"I went to Sandy Jones, head of the education department at St. Andrews, to ask for an early release, which is 10 weeks instead of the standard 14 weeks of student teaching," said Simmons. "Instead, the proposal was to do three weeks now and then 10 weeks in September. To do that, I used my vacation time for the three weeks and will work part time this fall through November 1.
"I have spent the past 10 years working to get the certification but I've been out of the classroom for a long period of time and was about to place out of the system, meaning the previous work would be lost," she continued. "I decided that it was time to get it done."
It is one of the many opportunities Simmons credits St. Andrews with supplying her with.
"The family atmosphere at St. Andrews and really working together makes it not like real work at all," she said. "Working with Cynthia and the flexibility are big benefits. Everybody is really friendly and enjoys being on campus."
About St. Andrews Presbyterian College
An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.
On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.