I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 NASPA Western Regionals in downtown Seattle in the beautiful Westin Hotel November 9–12. As a first-year graduate student in the Student Development Administration program and a Graduate Assistant in the College of Education, this was my first chance to attend a regional NASPA conference.
This was an exciting time for me as a young professional and graduate student to attend workshops to learn about diverse best practices from different institutions around the country and network with other professionals. This was also a learning opportunity; continuing students and advisors who have attended previous conferences supported our learning by providing all of us first-timers “conference tips” for success! I was able to share this experience with some of my peers in my cohort. It was great to debrief and share what we learned from the workshops and presentations.
Some of the highlights from the conference included attending a pre-program event specifically for new graduate students in student affairs/higher ed programs and the SeattleU SDA Reception. During the Pre-program event, I learned the importance of self-care as an SA professional and as a student, the reality of balancing relationships during grad school, and how to build my online professional image for future job searches. This was a great introduction to the conference and I was able to build some great connections with other graduate students. Since the conference was local this year, the SDA program had the opportunity to host a reception that was open to prospective and current students, the SeattleU community, and NASPA attendees. I volunteered to help with setting up and greeting guests at the door, which was a great opportunity to put my event programming skills to work! It was an evening full of networking, words of encouragement from the Dean of the College of Education, giveaways, and recognitions within the SDA community. I had a great time connecting with prospective students and sharing my experience while introducing them to current students and professors.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I am excited to perhaps attend next year’s Western Regional Conference when it is held in Honolulu, Hawai’i!
- Monika Delfierro (SDA)