Ever since Ana Lincoln, assistant director of campus activities, volunteered as an orientation advisor during her undergraduate years, she knew she had a calling to work in higher education.
A large part of Lincoln’s responsibilities at Catholic University include managing a team of student coordinators who, in turn, train and oversee the University’s 80 orientation advisors charged with the task of welcoming new students to campus each year.
She also creates and implements student events designed to build community, strengthen campus ties, and help students balance their academic workload with a little fun. In the four years she has worked at the University, she has come to see her primary goal as helping students feel at home from the first moment they step on to campus to the day they graduate.“My favorite part about my job is working with current students,” she said. “Some of these students have worked for me since their first year and it’s amazing to see them grow through different leadership roles, take on new responsibilities, and execute new things.”
Lincoln was originally attracted to Catholic University because of its size and emphasis on student leadership. Giving students autonomy and responsibility, she says, is somewhat rare; few universities are as open to students serving in leadership roles. Under her guidance, the orientation student coordinators have the freedom to design programs for incoming students.
“They come up with the best ideas,” she says. “They have recently experienced the program themselves so they have a unique perspective for making improvements.”
One of Lincoln’s key initiatives is helping new students assume independence as they transition to University life. For some incoming first-year students, their parents are registering their son or daughter for classes or filling out paperwork.
“It is really important to me to engage directly with students and help them become resourceful,” she says.
Lincoln plans to implement a new program this fall, giving each student a customized planner to help them keep track of important dates, resources, and tips for success at the University.
She is determined that every CUA student receives the resources they need to navigate their college years with confidence, personal responsibility, and most importantly, with the grounded sense that comes from feeling at home.