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Meet the graduate recruitment committee

Here you’ll find the people who have the opportunity to serve on the graduate student recruitment committee. You’ll get to know us better, why we made the decision to work for the University of Kansas, and what things we have been involved in during our time here.


Steven Johnson Jr., Complex Director, Oliver Hall

Institutional affiliations:The University of Kansas, Austin College – Sherman Texas, Duke University, Michigan State University, Iowa State University


Greetings from the wonderful city of Lawrence! I hope you are excited for a worthwhile experience at the University of Kansas. There will be no shortage of opportunities to grow personally, academically, and professionally. Growing up in a larger metropolitan area, I wondered if Lawrence and the University of Kansas could provide me with the living experience I was seeking. Each day I continue to find my place here. There is great diversity in the activities and opportunities in town and in the surrounding areas. I would also argue that some of the best and nicest people have found their home here. It has truly become my home away from home, and I hope that you are able to experience the same! Rock Chalk!


Alan Jones, Complex Director, GSP and Corbin Halls


Institutional Affiliations: Central Michigan University, University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, The University of Kansas

To me, KU is the exception to the rule. My mentors had always instructed me to pick the place, as people change constantly but a university's culture can be slower to adapt. However, the people I met while I visited KU showed me a culture of passion and care, and the University of Kansas helped changed my mind. Colleagues in student housing, as well as in other departments across the university, are ahead of the curve in passion, projects, and literature in higher education. The level of attention and care for peers, students, and co-workers made the difference in making Lawrence my new home.


Jonathan Onnen

During my graduate school search, there were a few things that I was interested in when considering where to go: the people, the costs, and the program. For me, the administratively based program was exactly what I was looking for in consideration of the future I see for myself in higher education. The program at KU drew me in as it is specifically geared towards being theory to practice. Second, the cost of attending was a major factor for me. The main part of this factor was that I would be able to afford my education and still be able to explore the community and state around me. At KU, this is definitely possible as the stipend is enough to pay all of your tuition costs and there is some left over to go exploring (mine goes straight to all the coffee shops!). Third, the people were a pivotal part of the experience. At KU, everyone whom I have had the chance to meet has been wonderful. Everyone is working toward making sure that I have the best experience possible and they all maintain positivity throughout the department. All of these items worked together and were exactly what I was looking for in a graduate school experience. 

After being accepted, some fears became pretty apparent relatively quickly. I had never been this far away from home before and the experience that I would be getting at KU would involve me being directly responsible for a team of resident assistants. My existing support system would be so far away and I was not sure what would happen. After coming to KU and starting training however, I was able to find a new support system through my cohort and also through my supervisors. Additionally, I felt prepared to begin working with my staff and have found that I enjoy being a supervisor. With all of these responsibilities, I have also found time to take a break and do what I enjoy. One of my favorite things is to try all of the different coffee shops around town (I still have some that I need to visit!) and if you ever need a coffee recommendation, let me know.

So far, my experience has been extremely wonderful. The people I have met encourage me to grow every day and work toward finding my stride in higher education. Even though I am far away from my home in Minnesota, I have found and made a new home in Lawrence, Kansas. When people talk about finding the right fit in your graduate search, I find more so every day that the University of Kansas is the best fit that I could have possibly hoped for. I am excited for the future I have here at KU for the next two years as a Jayhawk!


Brooke Ellerman

Hello prospective Jayhawks! I studied Hospitality, Tourism, and Restaurant Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After I graduated I joined the workforce as an event coordinator for about two years, but it wasn’t the right fit. What I really wanted was to have a greater impact on people's lives. I felt student affairs was a great avenue to do this. While searching for schools, KU’s strong focus on tradition was what initially attracted me. Thinking about the school pride or the amazing basketball games was exciting to me. What sold me were the interactions I had with the KU team. They were obviously a close unit, thoroughly enjoyed their program, and felt they were a part of  something special. I wanted to be a part of it.

Now that I’m here I get to be a part of that special something. I enjoy the friendship and support the cohort. I get to serve on committees and go to professional development events that help me learn marketable and useful skills. The classes are taught by supportive faculty, and the content is directly transferable to the assistantship. I finally feel like I get to impact students’ lives through supervision, advising, and even holding conduct meetings. The program is designed to set students up for success, both personally and professionally. KU was the right fit for me, and I hope it is for you as well.


Kevin Dunn

Institutional Affiliations: University of Kansas, Susquehanna University, Sonoma State University

Initially, I was incredibly nervous about moving away from everyone whom I had come to call family in California and move to Kansas. I was interested in KU because I knew that I would get a solid graduate assistantship experience and that the Higher Education Administration program would provide me with the knowledge I would need to succeed in Student Affairs. As soon as I arrived on campus I was surprised to learn that Kansas was not entirely flat, and the hilly campus quickly became a place that I could call home.

I am currently a second-year scholarship hall director with Grace Pearson and Douthart Scholarship Halls. My experiences have helped me develop into a professional and made me comfortable with the job search process as I look toward my first job after graduation. Because of my experiences supervising my undergraduate staff and working with the Graduate Recruitment Committee I was able to gain a for-credit internship with Susquehanna University in their office of First Year Experience over the summer. There, I not only supervised the undergraduate summer preview days staff, but also developed a long-term assessment plan for the program and undergraduate staff training. KU Student Housing has provided a truly unique experience for me. And even though it's not California, Lawrence has quickly become a place I am happy to call home. Having gone through the graduate school search process myself, I know that it can be an extremely stressful time. I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have and look forward to welcoming you to campus!


Emilie Atherton

Institutional Affiliations: University of Kansas, Fort Hays State University, Columbia University

I am Kansas born and reared, and always had a dream to get a degree from The University of Kansas. You’ll hear people talk about “the fit” a lot as you do your graduate search. For me, there was no doubt that Kansas was the school with the perfect fit. Everyone I interacted with at KU was so friendly and the KU spirit really shined through. The staff at KU is a very tight-knit group of people. Not only do we support the growth and development of our professional careers, we truly care about each other outside of the job. At KU, the cohort of graduate students have become my biggest support and some of my best friends. Holding an assistantship while taking graduate level classes is a lot of responsibility. Having a big cohort allows me to ask for help when I need it and practice self-care with people who understand exactly what I’m going through.

I did my undergraduate work at Fort Hays State University, but since moving to Lawrence I have found myself immersed into a larger community. Lawrence is home to beautiful downtown Massachusetts Street, home of great food and shopping. One of my favorite things to do is get brunch with the other graduate students on Sunday morning, then get together to work on homework afterward. To relieve stress I enjoy going to Target to roam the aisles or even take a quick trip to Kansas City. In Lawrence you’ll always have something to do and at KU you’ll always have a great group of friends. Congratulations on getting this far in your graduate search. You have a long road ahead but I wish you all the happiness and success. I hope to see you soon at KU! Rock Chalk!


Alex Miller

Institutional Affiliations: University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, the University of Kansas

I'm Alex Miller and I'm a first-year Scholarship Hall Director. My time at Kansas has been wonderful, stressful, scary, and incredibly eye opening. When I began searching for a graduate school there were a few things that I knew I wanted: A big school with lots of spirit, a supportive department and program, and a home away from home. Every school I was interested in had one or two of the qualities but the University of Kansas had all three.

As a first-year grad student I knew I would struggle and I knew I would need support. I felt confident that I had it. Not only are the other graduate students completely understanding and helpful, the supervisors and experienced professional staff want to teach and share their wisdom. Finally, the University of Kansas has allowed me to find a home in Kansas.

The University of Kansas was the place where I felt I could be myself and grow in my strengths. I have been given opportunities and been allowed to grow in my role as a Scholarship Hall Director. I am treated as a professional and I truly have loved my time so far. When I am not working, you can find me on Massachusetts Street shopping in the stores or at Zen Zero, my favorite Thai restaurant. This experience has truly been incredible and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Rock Chalk!

Move-in day set for Aug. 22

More than $200,000 in annual scholarships to returning residents
Academic success: More than 94 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen in student housing enroll for the next semester
5,100 residents choose student housing each year
Residence hall rates are almost $2,000 less per year than the national average for public schools
— College Board
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