My Intro & Thoughts Nichole Miller

Intro

Hi Everyone! My name is Nichole Miller and I am in my first year of the Student Affairs online cohort. I live in Eau Claire, WI with my husband, Ted and our two pets, Sierra (collie/lab mix) and Soxy (domestic short hair) - see pics below! :) We've lived in Eau Claire for the past 9 years and bought our first home a little over 5 years ago. As a starter home, we got it for a very good price and just about remodeled the entire place. What an exhausting process though! We just finished putting the rest of the flooring down ... I'm ready for a break! I'll post some pics below of this as well.

My husband, Ted, is my best friend and my biggest supporter!
Before/after some of the remodel.
Before/after of some of the remodel.
Best buds! :)

I graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College with my Administrative Assistant degree and began my career in higher education at UW-River Falls (UWRF) in 2006. My position as a University Associate allowed me to serve faculty and students as well as work closely with the Academic Advisor, Associate Dean, and Dean for the College of Business and Economics. After about a year, I decided to pursue my bachelors degree in Business Management. I worked at UWRF for another year or so and transferred to UW-Eau Claire (UWEC) as Ted was working in Eau Claire and we were both commuting. I worked in the Music and Theatre Arts Department as an Academic Department Associate for over 8 years. It was through that experience that I knew I wanted to work with students in higher education.

Shortly after taking my second required math class for Business Management, I realized that this was not the degree I wanted to pursue. As a very part-time student, I knew that I had some time to decide what I wanted to do. I met with some faculty in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department and decided to declare a major (CSD) that could assist me with graduate school in American Sign Language (ASL) teaching. Fun fact: sign language was my first language as my older brother is Deaf. Making the decision was great! I traveled to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and met with the graduate faculty; this was a set-in-stone decision. A few years had gone by when I realized, yet again, that I wasn't sure of my career path. I knew that I wanted to work with students, but I still wasn't convinced that I wanted to teach. It was then that a few colleagues talked to me about their experience in the Student Affairs program at UW-La Crosse. From the moment I started looking at the program, I knew this was the next step! Finally finishing my BS degree (it took me EIGHT years), I was on the path to my future career in SA.

On December 1, 2016, I was hired in a new position at UW-Eau Claire as an Academic Advisor for the new Advising, Retention, and Career Center! I am so excited to begin this new role and step in my career in higher education!

Graduation! Upper left is from CVTC, rest are from UWEC!

First Gen Thoughts

I took this class as my special topics as I have very little experience with first generation students. Although I am quite sure I have worked with many of them over the past 10 years, I wasn't in a position (i.e., TRIO or Upward Bound) where I directly assisted them.

From what I've learned so far in our classes, and from the little I've read about this population, I would say that first generation students may not have a mentor or role model to assist them with school. My mom, who was a first generation student, discussed the difficulty navigating a college career without a role model. It was the institution she worked for that helped her complete her bachelors and masters.

Viterbo, a small Catholic University, provides information for first generation students as well as peer-mentoring and video success stories of current first generation students. This connection will help incoming students know that they aren't alone and there are people to assist them throughout the process. This links directly to an article by Richard Greenwald, "our seminars for first-year students need more open and frank conversations about social expectations as well as what developmental tools are necessary. We need to offer workshops on college rules without stigmatizing the students who attend. In short, we need to write up the unwritten rules of college for them" (2012).

In my new role as an academic advisor, I hope that I will get the opportunity to work with these students and help them with their college career!

References

Greenwald, R. (2012). Think of first-generation students as pioneers, not problems. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Think-of-First-Generation/135710/?cid=atutm_source=atutm_medium=en

Viterbo University. (n.d.). First generation students. Retrieved from http://www.viterbo.edu/academic-resource-center/first-generation-students

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