Residence Life & Student Housing

ACUHO-I Alumni

Elsa Arteaga
University of Southern California
Summer School Hall Director Intern '12


I had a great experience as the Summer School Hall Director at Southern Methodist University. I felt supported and connected to Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH) and Student Affairs at SMU. I was given autonomy when supervising four Summer Resident Assistants, organizing and facilitating training for the summer resident assistants, and creating programming with my staff for summer school students. I also participated in the on-call rotation with Residential Community Directors and was given the opportunity to serve on the Resident Assistant Training Committee. My supervisor, other RLSH staff, and the student affairs community on campus were great resources throughout my internship. Everyone was very willing to answer any questions and assist in my professional development. My professional development included one-on-ones with my supervisor, coffee chats with other interns on campus, the site visit to another type of institution, and participation in the training for professional staff. I was able to meet and converse with different student affairs staff at SMU including having lunch with the Vice President of Student Affairs. My supervisor and the RLSH department did a great job of treating me as a colleague and not a summer intern. I felt that they were committed to making sure that I had a great experience.

I also appreciated the opportunity to get to know the other summer interns including two other ACUHO-I interns and two NODA interns at SMU. We lived on the same floor so we easily were able to organize game nights or Dallas outings. Everyone had a different experience and perspective that I enjoyed learning. This summer internship provided me a lot of valuable experiences and helped me better understand the field of student affairs and my role in it.

James Crawford
University of South Carolina
Summer Conference Intern '12

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to serve as the ACUHO-I Summer Conference Intern with Residence Life and Student Housing at Southern Methodist University. As you can possibly tell, I had an exceptional experience while at SMU working with the RLSH staff, student conference leaders, our campus partners, and more.

I chose to apply to the SMU Summer Conferences Internship position for a variety of reasons but primarily due to the recommendation by upperclassmen in my program and the opportunity to work at an institution with the demographics that comprise SMU. The professional staff that I would potentially be working with had a reputation of being dedicated to the graduate student internship experience and they did not disappoint. I also had not experienced a small, private institution throughout my academic career and wanted to see what that was like before I made my way into the professional student affairs world.

My primary responsibilities were planning and implementing summer conferences and serving in an on-call rotation, but through these I was given the autonomy and freedom to use my creativity to contribute to a positive experience for our customers as well as our student staff. I was provided the opportunity to travel with staff to visit other institutions nearby, meet with administrators, supervise a group of students, and participate in various professional development experiences with the staff. While all of those things were incredible and helped mold the student affairs professional that I am becoming today, the staff also made a point to ensure that I got the most out of my time in Dallas. People were personally invested in my experience whether it was occasionally getting my thoughts on a particular process or event or it was encouraging me to also surround myself with a variety of cultures present within the city. The staff made a point to express a high level of dedication to my feeling welcome while also growing a professional.

Previous interns on this page have spoken about how working at SMU makes you feel a part of one big family and I can wholeheartedly agree! I loved this experience, the people I worked with, and the city. I highly recommend it to anyone!
 

Brianna Moffitt
University of Southern California
Summer Conference Intern ‘12


Serving as an ACUHO-I Summer Conference Intern at SMU was a thoroughly rewarding experience for me. The staff of Residence Life and Student Housing warmly welcomed me into their office and challenged me throughout the summer to grow both professionally and personally. Formally, the internship responsibilities included orchestrating conference check-ins and check-outs, coordinating student staff, and serving on an on-call duty rotation. Throughout the summer, SMU professional staff provided opportunities for growth and development, in addition to my job responsibilities.

Weekly professional development meetings open to all of SMU’s summer interns. Within these roundtables, I was challenged to explore my ideas, develop an educational mission, and assess my competencies. As a group we were invited to visit a neighboring university to experience their assessment processes first hand. On a visit to another campus, we explored the possibilities and challenges presented by the integration of key services into a single office. While working at SMU, I was able to see seven university campuses and get a taste for their surrounding communities. These extracurricular experiences, partnered with my professional responsibilities, made for a summer of unforgettable memories and great strides in my development.
 

Kelly Carr
University of South Carolina
Summer School Hall Director Intern ‘11


This summer I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to serve as the ACUHO-I Summer School Hall Director Intern within the office of Residence Life and Student Housing at Southern Methodist University. My summer at SMU was a phenomenal experience and went above and beyond my expectations for a summer internship. I learned so much during my time at SMU and met so many wonderful people.

Before embarking on the internship search process I was hesitant to apply for ACUHO-I positions as I had never done anything within residence life prior and really was not interested in a career in housing. After speaking with second year students in my graduate program they convinced me to give the world of residence life a chance and I am so thankful that I did! Coming to SMU with no housing experience I was definitely nervous about what the summer had in store for me but knew that I would grow as a person and a professional during those three months. Throughout my experience I became more and more open to the idea of pursuing a career in residence life because I learned that being a hall director is so much more than roommate complaints and dealing with rowdy students but offers a wide variety of opportunities and skill development. At the end of the summer I decided that I would definitely be open to pursing careers in the field of residence life!

As the Summer School Hall Director as I was in charge of the building on campus that housed all the summer school students which included a range of students from athletes to high school students creating a unique dynamic for my building. I had the opportunity to train and supervise my own staff of Resident Assistants who truly made my experience as a first time hall director wonderful. I came in thinking that summer would be somewhat quiet but my RA’s really wanted to make the building feel like a home for the students and we were able to do wonderful programming and events. While being a hall director was my main task I was also able to serve on committees throughout the summer to gain experience in other areas of residence life, meet with professionals in other offices on campus and serve in the on-call duty rotation. Part of my position was also to plan a summer intern exchange, this summer we did an exchange with the interns at Texas Christian University. All the SMU interns were invited to attend a day at TCU to learn more about their residence life office and the TCU interns were then able to visit SMU, it was wonderful to meet fellow interns in the area and make contacts within residence life at another university!
I truly cannot recommend this experience enough; SMU treats their interns as professionals and ensures that you have the best experience possible while also making the most of your summer internship. I am so happy that I was able to become a part of the SMU RLSH family this past summer!

Brittany Guthrie
Texas A&M University
Summer Conference Intern ‘11

This summer I had the opportunity to serve as the ACUHO-I Summer Conference Intern with Residence Life and Student Housing at Southern Methodist University. This experience was more than I thought it even could be. I was given the opportunity to learn and grow in this functional area, while making amazing friends and contacts in the process.

Prior to coming to SMU, I had never worked in Residence Life or at a Private institution, and to be honest thought it would provide me with some transferrable skills, but that I would still never actually want a job in Housing. I was so wrong! With the support of my supervisor and fellow interns, I gained knowledge of the inner workings of summer conferences and what it may be like being a hall director. There was no looking back; I actually began to see myself working in Residence Life.

Although planning and implementing summer conferences was my main task, I was given the autonomy to make changes to old processes and the support to see these changes through. I had the opportunity to join a RLSH committee and to meet and learn from other Student Affairs professionals on campus. All of the Student Affairs interns even had the opportunity to visit TCU to meet with other interns and their Student Affairs staff.

The most important thing I took away from the summer was that SMU is truly a big family. It is unlike any institution I have attended or worked for. You become part of the family instantly, and remain part when you leave.

I loved this experience and highly recommend it!

Sarah Herndon
University of Texas at Austin
Summer Conference Intern ‘09

This summer I had the honor of serving as a ACUHO-I Summer Conference Intern with Residence Life and Student Housing at Southern Methodist University. I do not know where to begin explaining how rewarding this experience has been for me.

I had never worked in Residence Life or at a private institution before, so it was certainly an eye-opening. My supervisor, other conference interns, and all the RLSH staff were so supportive throughout the summer, making it possible for be to learn not only how to do my work, but how to do it well. The individuals I had the chance to interact with over the summer inspired me to explore my interests and grow.

Not only did I get to work with Conferences (organizing check-ins/check-outs, scheduling/supervising Guest Housing Assistants), us interns got to work with staff from all departments of RLSH by serving on committees and attending Professional Staff meetings. We also had the chance to speak to administrators at varying levels in Student Affairs at informational interviews and discuss current issues and topics every other week at coffee chats. The chance to visit Rice University through the University exchange program and the University of Texas at Arlington through Live-in Staff Training were both great opportunities to find out about residence life on different campuses.

I learned so much this summer and cannot recommend this experience highly enough. As a native Texan, I knew that Dallas is a wonderful place to work and play, and it certainly did not disappoint. This internship allowed me to develop personally and professionally and I am glad I got to take advantage of this great opportunity!

Mary Wheeler
University of South Carolina
Summer School Hall Director '09

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to serve Southern Methodist University as the 2009 Summer School Hall Director.  Initially, I decided to interview for an ACUHO-I internship because I had very little housing experience, and I wanted to work somewhere where I would have a high level of responsibility with defined expectations. I also wanted to work with a staff that would both challenge and support me. I also wanted to be able to work independently, and work with a supervisor who would trust me and treat me like a competent professional.

I knew immediately upon arriving at SMU that I had made the right decision. I knew from speaking to previous interns that the experience would not be easy, and that I would be expected to work hard. While these things were true, I received an overwhelming amount of support from the RLSH department. It seemed that every professional staff member was ready to greet me with open arms and answer any question I had, regardless of how silly it seemed.  Everyone treated me like their equal, and I was empowered by the immense amount of trust being given to me. I was able to become involved in several different committees, where I was always invited to voice my opinions and work on projects with the group. The experience involved a great deal of active learning, which I immensely enjoyed. Instead of being treated like an intern or a lackey, I was always treated with respect by the professional staff at SMU.

The Hall Director position provided me with numerous learning experiences over the course of the summer. One of my main responsibilities was training my five Resident Assistants. I was given a great deal of freedom in determining the schedule and layout of their training, and I conducted the vast majority of the training myself. Since I had never trained a staff before, this opportunity was both intimidating and extremely rewarding. It took a lot of work to get training put together (and to make sure it was meaningful to my staff), but it was very rewarding to have the chance to bond with my staff from their first day of work. Another responsibility that fell upon me was the opening and closing of my buildings. Though this was something I had never before experienced, my supervisor gave me a lot of moral support in figuring out how facilities should be managed. The quick turnaround would not have been possible without the full cooperation of my supervisor, my staff, and my fellow interns. The level of teamwork that exists in the RLSH department is like none I have ever seen before, and I really valued having a team to support me with the more intimidating tasks.

The Hall Director intern also plans and executes the University Exchange trip, which allowed us to take a bus of professionals to visit Rice University in Houston, TX. Though I was given some preliminary suggestions as to where we might go, I ultimately chose what university we would visit, and what we would do there. This freedom gave me the chance to do many things I had little experience with: creating a budget, giving financial estimates, coordinating a schedule with a professional at another institution, and finally communicating learning objectives with other professionals. The trip was very successful, and we were able to learn a great deal about residential colleges from the professionals at Rice. However, I was able to learn a great deal before even setting foot on Rice’s campus.

I left SMU at the end of my internship with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Not only had I gained copious amounts of confidence from my experience, but I made connections with my fellow interns and professionals that will last a lifetime. The professionals at SMU are unsurpassed in their desire to create a fulfilling experience for their interns, and I would recommend working with them to anyone. I loved working at SMU, and I know that I will treasure my experience there for the rest of my career.

Mustang Love!

Dana Broadnax
James Madison University
Academic Prelude Intern '09

Get ready for one of the best professional experiences in your Student Affairs career! I do not believe there was a better choice for me than a residence life experience at Southern Methodist University. There's so much to learn from the committed and high-performing professionals in the Residence Life and Student Housing department. The inspiration, motivation and support that I received went well beyond my assigned department. My summer internship included planning, coordination, involvement and/or exposure from professionals in various offices and initiatives throughout the campus including the English Department, Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs, New Student Orientation and Student Support, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Department of Enrollment Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, Services for Students with Disabilities, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and many more. The wealth of knowledge seems endless. This internship committed itself to my professional development through a great supervisory relationship, one-on-one meetings with top-level administrators, working with faculty, skills training, special task committees, and learning best practices. One of the highlights of the internship was our involvement in a University Exchange trip to Rice University in Houston, TX to learn about their model of residence life and community development.

The Prelude Program is a fantastic example of the powerful learning experience that a university can offer a student through collaborative efforts between Academic and Student Affairs. Students will come into the program with many and varying degrees of challenges and target goals. For some students it's the first time they will experience this level of independent living and decision-making, being in an unfamiliar area with new people, and working harder than they ever have before to meet their academic goals. They'll meet new developmental, social, academic, and emotional growing points. It takes the combined efforts of faculty and staff to support students through the challenges and prepare them to be successful through their undergraduate career. As an intern, I had the privilege of joining students through this extraordinary transition and journey. It's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The opportunity to serve as a live-in mentor is the unique strength of a role in residence life. The Prelude program gave me the opportunity to develop skills in conflict resolution, group development, community development, emergency response procedures, intentional programming, applying theory-to-practice, financial stewardship, and the responsibilities of overseeing the day-to-day function of a residence hall.

If you're looking for a professional and personal experience that will push you to greater heights of excellence and perspective, you want to work with the Southern Methodist University's Residence Life and Student Housing office. Pony Up!

Holly Allar
Michigan State University
Summer School Hall Director Intern '08

During the summer of 2008, I had the pleasure of interning as the Summer School Residence Hall Director at Southern Methodist University. Originally I chose this particular ACUHO-I internship because I wanted a residence life experience with high levels of responsibility in a professional and collegial department. I also wanted to work at a medium sized institution in an urban environment that I had not previously experienced; on all counts, position, department, institution, and city, this internship seemed like a perfect fit.

I arrived at SMU expecting to learn, to work hard, to connect with staff, and to have an overall great professional experience, but words cannot express the extent to which my internship experience surpassed my expectations. The RLSH staff is outstanding and managed to balance appropriate support and guidance with allowing me to have autonomy over training and supervising my RA staff, creating and implementing a programming module, coordinating the University Exchange with Baylor, and various other responsibilities associated with keeping a residence hall running.

Through the course of the summer, I had opportunities to work with departmental committees on publications (specifically focusing on the Fire Safety campaign) and summer socials along with the other ACUHO-I interns. As one who had never been to Dallas or lived in Texas previously, I appreciated the opportunity to plan outings around Dallas and socialize with other RLSH staff members. Bi-weekly professional development chats gave us time to reflect on our experiences, gain an understanding of SMU’s culture, and expand our skills around job placement. Informational interviews with a variety of professional staff on campus provided great opportunities for networking and broadening my understanding of the student affairs field.  

I could write pages on my internship experience at SMU, and in fact did for my End of Summer Report (another great professional development opportunity that is part of the internship). Instead, I will end with the three most valuable things that I will take with me from this internship: the skills I gained running the residence hall, a clear understanding of what kind of institution and department I want to work for, and some amazing relationships. I met incredible people, both students and staff, who have deeply impacted who I am both professionally and personally. I have great respect and admiration for the RLSH professional staff. My student staff members are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The intern with whom I shared an office is someone I am confident I will continue to confer with throughout my professional career. I have made a number of genuine connections that have been mutually maintained despite living in different parts of the country, and I look forward to sustaining those relationships for years to come.

Elena Ballam
Iowa State University
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Summer Conferences Intern '08

Having known very little about SMU before my internship this summer, I was very impressed and surprised by the experiences I have been able to gain this summer.  I found that SMU staff were extremely welcoming and sought to provide us with the best experiences possible. Along with our regular internship duties, we were also able to meet with various professionals around campus to learn more about current campus issues and receive resume' help. We took an educational trip to Baylor University in order to learn about a different type of campus.  We were also able to serve on several different committees according to our personal interests. These opportunities have really stretched me professionally.  After this internship I feel more confident of my capabilities and more aware of my strengths.

At SMU I felt valued and trusted. I had no previous Residence Life experience but because SMU values transferrable skills, my co-workers and supervisors believed in my success. I was handed a great deal of responsibility but was carefully coached as I completed my tasks. I was able to supervise 18 undergraduate staff members, including one-on-one meetings with each of them, evaluations, and leading weekly staff meetings. Throughout the course of my internship, I also worked with various departments around campus, including New Student Programs, Conference Services, and Facilities. 

In addition to great work experience, SMU also did a wonderful job of providing social experiences for us. Throughout the summer there were planned events to places such as Six Flags, art festivals, the Taste of Dallas, the zoo, and several more. Through these events I was able to bond with the other Residence Life staff members as well as experience a new part of the country.  I am truly sad to leave, but I know the relationships I have built here will continue past the summer.

Stephanie Leader
Kent State University
Summer Conferences Intern '08

During the summer of 2008, I was one of the interns for Summer Conferences at Southern Methodist University. In this position I worked with three undergraduate conference interns from SMU and learned along the way with our new supervisor. My time was kept busy with supervising our Guest Housing Assistants, preparing weekly staff work schedules, coordinating conference groups and billing, and attending weekly meetings. The Department of Resident Life and Student housing has given all of the interns (including NODA and NUFP) great professional development opportunities such as serving on different committees, coffee chats and networking, and visiting Baylor University. The professional staff do as much as they can for us to grow professionally and they don't view us as summer help.

I came into this internship not having worked in Residence Life, but SMU gave me the chance to broaden my skills and abilities. I have learned a lot about myself and have gained experience in areas that I may not have in my graduate institution assistantship. It has helped pave the way for my future endeavors.

This summer in Dallas has been very rewarding.  I cannot wait to get back to school and tell my classmates about my experience. I encourage everyone to consider becoming an ACUHO-I intern for a summer (especially at SMU) because of the great opportunities the internship program gives you. 

I will miss the community that Southern Methodist University has provided me, but I know that when I leave the friendships and relationships I have made will still be in contact.

Once a pony, Always a pony!

Alicia Erwin
University of South Carolina
Prelude and Academic Initiatives Intern '07

I began my summer at SMU having no previous experience working either with Residence Life or Academic Affairs.  My time as the Prelude and Academic Initiatives Intern taught me so much about myself as well as about the type of institution and people I want to work for in the future.  I spent my time working alongside a wonderful full time staff, who were genuinely interested in my growth as a professional, and three other fabulous ACUHO-I interns.

I had the unique opportunity to serve not only as a staff member of Residence Life and Student Housing, but also as an academic and live-in mentor to forty conditionally admitted students in the Prelude Program.  I was able to work with Admissions, the Learning Enhancement Center, faculty, and Residence Life.  I worked with these departments to ensure the success of the Prelude students both in and outside of the classroom.  I gained valuable knowledge about residence hall procedures, on-call duties, budgeting, educational programming, working with faculty, and academic advising.  At the same time, I worked with various Residence Life committees in researching living learning communities, faculty live-in programs, and residential colleges.

 At every step of my internship, I was provided with more than amble opportunity to learn and grow.  Residence Life not only provided the ACUHO-I interns with weekly professional development sessions but also sponsored an intern exchange with Tulane University.  I was able to serve as an advisor to four students to the NACURH National Conference.  I was given feedback on my resume and even attended a mock-interview session.  I was also able to spear-head the search for a new Residence Life Administrative Assistant.  My entire experience at SMU was not only an intentional process but one that gave me an in depth view of Residence Life and Academic Affairs.

Valerie Heruska
The George Washington University
Summer Conferences Intern '07

During the summer of 2007, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the ACUHO-I Internship program and SMU as the Summer Conferences and Guest Housing Intern. I came into this position with a lot of exhibits experience on a national level, and working for a department like RLSH gave me a solid foundation for the practical skills in not only summer conferences, but also the opportunity to experience all functional areas of student affairs.

On a daily basis, I worked with a diverse staff of about 25 students including international students, three undergraduate interns, and other RLSH employees including facilities and housekeeping. My main roles as the ACUHO-I Summer Conferences Intern were to oversee the running of numerous conference groups, provide the best customer service to our conference guests, and supervise the student staff. Other duties included preparing facilities for use, creating floor plans, generating invoices, student staff scheduling, team builders, running weekly staff meetings, and taking part in troubleshooting.

While at SMU, I took advantage of the numerous opportunities given to me. I met with upper administration members in the different student affairs departments, sat on different committees, participated and presented at professional staff training, and learned how to operate a golf cart. Working with the other interns turned out to be quite an experience, and it gave me the opportunity to get to know colleagues in different programs around the US. The intern exchange with the interns from Tulane University was a highlight of my summer internship. I also took advantage of the location and visited many other institutions in Texas: Texas Christian University (Fort Worth), University of North Texas (Denton), and University of Texas-Austin. There were so many opportunities to learn new things, and I walked away with valuable teachable moments that I will continue to use throughout my profession.

You will be walking into a very well structured Residence Life program with professionals who love their job and will teach you a great deal about the field. You will be welcomed into the family with open arms and be given a tremendous opportunity to grow in the profession. You will have an unforgettable summer.

 Pony Up.

Jeff Grim
Michigan State University
Special Projects Intern '07

During the summer of 2007, I interned at Southern Methodist University. I wore many hats and gained a breadth of experiences that complimented my experiences in my graduate assistantships/practicums and theoretical classroom knowledge. The summer of 2007 was a transformative time for SMU with the induction of Dr. White, the new Vice President of Student Affairs. It was interesting to see a division of student affairs adapt to new leadership all while carrying out the successful AARO orientation program.

 During my tenure at SMU, I was able to craft my experience to gain skills and knowledge in areas of student affairs from which I wanted to learn. I completed projects for development and service-learning which helped broadened my portfolio of tasks. The Residence Life and Student Housing department asked me to co-chair the search process for an administrative assistant. It was an honor that they valued my judgment in a staff member that would be there well after I finished my internship. This was very indicative of the experience I had.

 One of the greatest learning experiences I had was traveling to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana for the intern exchange program. Along with the other interns, we met with many professionals in the division of student affairs that provided us with an excellent backdrop of the Tulane University experience.

 My time at Southern Methodist University has been one of the greatest professional and personal experiences I have had. The staff at Southern Methodist have a high level of professionalism that make it an excellent environment for learning and growing!

Jennifer Shields
Western Illinois University
Summer Residence Hall Director Intern '07

During the summer of 2007 I had the opportunity to serve as the Summer School Residence Hall Director at Southern Methodist University.  This experience was everything I wanted from an ACUHO-I internship and more!  I was personally looking for an internship that would provide me the opportunity to have a well-rounded experience but more specifically a position in which I would supervise RAs, work as a hall director and closely with students, as well as provide other professional development opportunities. SMU provided me with a very intentional internship experience in which I was able to fulfill all of my professional interests.

My internship experience not only gave me the opportunity to develop my supervision, advising, programming, and crisis response skills, but also provided me with other professional development opportunities.  Shortly after arriving at SMU I attended the Student Affairs retreat with the entire division.  This was a great opportunity to meet other professionals on campus, become familiar with the institutional and division missions, and discover what is currently happening within the division. 

In addition to my daily duties as the Summer School Residence Hall Director, I was a member on a number of committees.  Committees are very active in the summer at SMU so my involvement on the Student Staff Training Committee, the Manuals Committee, and Technology was an invaluable experience.  What I really valued was the ability to build my experience.  As I am interested in social justice issues, I was able to sit on the Diversity Action Team as well as plan and conduct a session during professional staff training on LGBTA issues with the Director of the Women’s Center.

SMU is very deliberate about providing experiences to integrate our academic programs with this practical internship experience.  We had bi-weekly “intern coffee chats” where all of the interns on campus came together with a professional staff member to process and share our experiences.  We were provided the opportunity to complete informational interviews with professionals on campus, participate in resume building and mock interview sessions with professional staff members and have truly integrated experiences into a well run, proficient and professional residence life department.

Finally, I had the opportunity to plan a university exchange with Tulane University for all of the summer interns.  Being able to work with professionals from another campus and to visit their campus was a highlight of the summer.  We visited campus for two days, meeting with various members of their student affairs staff and then welcomed their interns back to SMU.  This was an excellent way to connect with other professionals in the field and experience another institution.

I did not know going into this experience that in three short months I would have so many opportunities for both professional and personal growth.  RLSH is truly a department that cares about each and every experience of their interns and helping them to make the best of their time at SMU.  This experience helped me to discover and refine my passions and interests in the field and as I enter the field as a professional I will be looking for a department that is as passionate about their work with students as Residence Life and Student Housing at Southern Methodist University.

Kelly Pearson
University of Florida
M.A., Higher Education Administration
Conferences and Leadership Development Intern '06

Over the summer of 2006, I had the unique opportunity of working with the ACUHO-I Internship program and SMU as the Summer Conferences Intern. While I had previous experience as a Resident Assistant at my undergraduate institution, this position offered me the chance to see a different side of Residence Life. 

On a daily basis, I worked with an amazing staff of nearly twenty students, three undergraduate interns, and an array of other Residence Life and Student Housing employees. For the three months that I was at SMU, we worked to make sure that our guests had the best experience possible. My main roles as the ACUHO-I Summer Conferences Intern was to oversee the running of numerous conference groups and help supervise the student staff. Further duties included preparing facilities for use, creating floor plans, preparing invoices, and taking part in troubleshooting, among other responsibilities.

Throughout my experience at SMU, there were so many chances to learn new things, and I definitely left SMU with a better understanding of the work that goes into running a successful Residential Life program. I had the opportunity to work with amazing professionals, not only in the area of Residence Life, but also in the field of Student Affairs. Most importantly, I was welcomed into a family and was a part of an unforgettable experience.

Carolynn Nath
Indiana University
M.S., Higher Education and Student Affairs
Special Projects and Prelude Intern '06

As the Prelude and Special Projects Intern I started my summer by participating in the Student Affairs retreat. Following the retreat I began my work with the Academic Prelude Program. This program allowed me to oversee 32 students who had been conditionally admitted to the University pending successful completion of the program. I was able to work with Admissions, Academics, Residence Life and Student Housing on a joint task force to help these students succeed. During this time I was able to gain professional experience in budget and event planning, developing relationships with faculty and upper level administrators at SMU,  student experience through planning Thursday night sessions that supplemented for the students Orientation and a 4th of July trip to Six Flags. These interactions and others are also attributed to strengthen my interpersonal communication skills during the summer months.

The special projects aspect of my internship began when I spearheaded the administrative search for the Associate Director’s administrative assistant. I worked with various committees such as student staff training, editing and updating the department manuals, and room assignments. I was also able to research and present, to the professional staff on upperclassmen programming in residential communities. SMU will have a sophomore live-on requirement within the next 5 years, this research and presentation intended to aide SMU housing staff to start conversations on how to be intentional when programming for upper class students living-on campus.

I also received training in QPR Suicide prevention, PAVE, Residential Management System (RMS), and attended a University Exchange which focused on StrengthsQuest™ implementation in housing departments at Texas A & M in College Station. I also participated in North Texas’ Live-In Staff Training (LIST), which had nine institutions including SMU’s Residence Life and Student Housing department and covered a variety of educational initiatives involved with campus housing. Through all of these experiences I have acquired four core values of the ACUHO-I internship: experience, training, learning and mentorship. This position was an ideal fit for me since I was able to mold my own experience, considering that I have had previous experience as a Hall Director and with Conference planning.

Cory Sussman
Canisius College
M.A., College Student Personnel Administration
Summer School Hall Director Intern '06

During the summer of 2006 I served as the Summer Hall Director.  Coming into the position I had lacked any experience with Residential Life and Student Housing.  I came from a programming and leadership development background.  SMU gave me the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of Residence Life and Student Housing through the ACUHO-I program.  With the help and support of the entire team, I was able to learn so much in only 3 months. 

SMU allowed me to use my talents and learn from the experience of others to become well versed and diversified for a career in Student Affairs.  The RLSH staff gave me the opportunity to grow professionally in many capacities.  I was responsible for an entire residence hall, supervising a Resident Assistant staff, serving on duty responsibilities and the ability to create programs to build community with the summer school students. 

One of the things that SMU did that I appreciate the most were opportunities of the University Exchange program with Texas A&M University (of which I planned) and the Live in Staff Training at Texas Christian University.  These two professional development opportunities were invaluable and an amazing opportunity to learn from and network with professionals from many other institutions.

My experience at SMU gave me so many opportunities that I am so grateful for.  Working with well respected professionals, an amazing Residence Life program, and the opportunity to grow professionally made my summer with SMU something I will always remember and be thankful for.  I came in knowing little, left with a world of knowledge.

Abbie Schneider
The George Washington University
M.A., Higher Education Administration
Conference and Leadership Development Intern '05

My experience at SMU as the Conference and Leadership Development Intern was invaluable. I had the opportunity to co-supervise 20 student staff and work closely with three great student leaders. Training and scheduling staff along with invoicing occupied the majority of my daily activities, but along with that many opportunities arose for me to represent Conference and Leadership Development at various meetings and interact with staff across departments. My experience taught me a great deal about the role that housing plays on a university campus and the amount of collaboration it takes to keep residence halls in a condition that supports student learning and development. Even better, I got to work with such a great cross-section of students and learn about their experiences as students at SMU. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to residence life.

SMU is a great place to be. The office staff are incredibly fun and supportive, and from my first day on the job I was welcomed as a part of the Mustang family and was able to meet and interact with so many different people in other departments across campus. There really is a familial atmosphere at SMU and the professional staff are interested in helping you get the most out of your experience. The campus and the people really draw you in and I can say that I am proud of the time that I got to be a Mustang!

Tia Crawford
Texas A&M University
M.S., Student Affairs Administration in Higher Ed.
Summer School Hall Director Intern '05

Challenging…Rewarding…Fulfilling… are the words that come to mind when I think about my experience at SMU during the 2005 summer. During this time, I served as the Summer School Hall Director with responsibilities that included: training & supervising RA’s, maintaining a budget, duty responsibilities, facilities and operations, as well as, general everyday hall duties.

I appreciated the fact that I had a variety of opportunities to get involved in and experience in addition to those mentioned above. I was given responsibilities that kept me engaged and excited. For instance, in addition to the responsibility of Summer School Hall Director, I was given opportunities to plan and implement the University Exchange, serve on departmental committees, attend retreats, conduct informational interviews, and even help with the screening process for their administrative assistant search. Each experience helped me to grow both personally and professionally.

What I enjoyed most about my experience was the shear passion, enthusiasm, and professionalism that both the administrators and staff had in doing their jobs. This undoubtedly set the tone for a wonderful, welcoming, family-like atmosphere, of which I had the pleasure of working in. I learned so much just from pure observation.

Clearly, I had a positive experience at Southern Methodist University and would not change any of it for the world!

Jean Rekowski
Western Illinois University
M.S. in Ed. - College Student Personnel

Conference & Guest Services Intern '04

I served as the Conference and Guest Services Intern in the Department of Residence Life and Student Housing.  It was both a unique and rewarding experience for me.  I co-supervised 14 student staff members and 3 outstanding student leaders.  I spent a great deal of time this summer working with training, scheduling staff, working with guest housing assistants, and assisting with invoices/billing.

Overall, the atmosphere in the office is amazing!  I have learned so much about housing and conference service this summer.  People have been more than willing to assist me in learning about the ins-and-outs of the department and the school.  SMU has a reputation of being a welcoming environment and the definitely lived up to it!

During the academic year I work in Alumni Programs at Western Illinois University.  This was my first experience working in housing and I have really enjoyed it.

Tyler Havens
Western Illinois University
M.S. in Ed. - College Student Personnel

Residence Life Intern '04

My experience at SMU during the 2004 summer was very rewarding and memorable.  I worked in a team with three RAs and had approximately 60-90 residents in the building during the summer.  Along with the daily hall duties, I was also part of the student staff recruitment committee planning and scheduling for fall and spring student staff recruitment periods.  This was a great opportunity to generate some ideas and update and modify the process for the department.  Spending most of my time in the realm of student activities during the academic year, working as the Summer School Hall Director opened my eyes beyond the RA position into what really goes into being a hall director.

While here I also organized a trip to a neighboring university to investigate their residence life department.  This experience helps you to realize that no two colleges or universities are exactly the same and allows you to explore some of the things that you may value when searching for a position in the future.  Meeting with some of the other administrators on the SMU campus and hearing their paths to SMU also lent some insight into the "where do I go next" category.

My time at SMU was very rewarding and exciting.  The administrators and staff are very helpful and always willing to lend an ear.  The atmosphere is an inviting and accepting one.  It was nice to have to support and encouragement of everyone in the department, especially when this was such a new experience for me.

Amy Ockenfuss
North Carolina State University
M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration
 
Conference & Guest Services Intern '03

During my summer at SMU, I was one of two interns for Conference and Guest Services. As an intern, I was part of the leadership team of the C&GS Staff. My main responsibilities included scheduling and supervising the desk staff, coordinating all housing details for my individual conference groups that were staying on campus, invoices, and duty rotation. I was also responsible for attending various weekly meetings, such as the facilities meeting, staff meetings, and meetings with the Conference Assistant staff.

I did not serve on any committees, but that is only because my work with conferences was very in depth. However, my supervisor gave me the opportunity to get experience in other areas. I met with several Student Affairs administrators, such as the VP for Student Affairs, the Dean of Student Life, and the Director of Housing, to talk about their careers and their thoughts on SMU and student affairs as a whole. I also got to work on the intern scrapbook, attend the ALLIES training session, and go on the University Exchange. 

I can’t say enough about my experience here at SMU! SMU is a great place to grow, both personally and professionally. The RLSH team creates such a supportive atmosphere to work in. Before I even stepped foot on campus, I felt welcomed and like part of the team. It was also great to experience a campus very different from my own. Exploring Texas was also a plus!

Tim Smith
Clemson University
MA in Student Affairs Administration
Conference & Guest Services Intern '03

I worked as one of the Conference and Guest Services Interns for the summer. My main duties were to assist in training the staff, oversee the scheduling of the undergraduate staff, supervise the desk staff, and coordinate various conference and camps arrangements.  I was able to perform various tasks for the department to broaden my experience.  

The majority of the conferences and camps that I worked with were affiliated with athletics. This was a great opportunity for me because of my interest with college athletics. I had a unique experience throughout the summer as I was involved in the summer construction update meetings, which gave me a unique perspective on the planning and coordination that takes place for a major construction operation. 

My experience was great! I loved the people that I worked with and the friends I made because of the experience. The Department of Residence Life and Student Housing at SMU is large enough that you get a unique experience from a quality institution, yet small enough where you get to interact with everyone in the department. SMU is an institution I am proud to have my name associated with. 

Candice Derry
Western Illinois University
M.Ed. in College Student Personnel 
Residence Life Intern '03

My summer internship at SMU was the Summer Hall Director for the Department of Residence Life and Student Housing.  I had several responsibilities throughout the summer such as daily hall duties, meeting with RAs, budget, opening, closing, and duty rotation.  There was also an opportunity to develop my supervisory and judicial officer style along with involvement in committee work.  The committees that I worked with are RA Training, Student Staff Selection, and Faculty Involvement.  I was also able to meet with several administrators such as the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of Student Life, and the Director of Housing.  These individuals gave me great insight in their areas of interest and career path.   

SMU has an innate ability to make you feel welcome and a part of their team.  Each member of the staff was amazing and willing to help me learn from them throughout the summer.  My summer at SMU has definitely helped me grow and develop a more meaningful relationship with the field student affairs. 

Michael McCorvey
University of South Carolina
M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration
Residence Life Intern '03

My internship with Residence Life and Student Housing at SMU was as the Residential Life Intern.  My position encompassed a lot of the special projects that the department takes on over the summer.  My major project was to organize the annual University Exchange Program.  This program was first done four years ago and has become a summer tradition at SMU.  The University Exchange is opportunity for interns and professional staff alike to visit with a nearby university and meet with Student Affairs professionals to gain a different perspective on our field.  This is really an extension of the tremendous professional development opportunities available at SMU.  This year the University exchange took us to Rice University in Houston, TX.  It proved to be a very valuable learning experience  which has sparked very interesting dialog about serving students. 

In addition to coordinating the Exchange, I sat on several summer committees which included Web design, Theme Communities, Faculty Involvement, and the Great Escape.  I learned a great deal in my work with each one of these committees.  They helped shape my perspective on  some things and I took away a bunch of ideas to take back to USC. 

The Residence Life and Student Housing Department at SMU have a commitment to being the best.  That commitment shows in their professional development opportunities, and in the attitude of the leadership.  Being in an environment where our work is taken seriously and is looked at critically has proved to be a very valuable to me. 

Tricia Woodward
University of South Carolina
M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration
Residence Life Intern '02

While here at SMU I was the Summer School Hall Director in Mary Hay. It was a great experience and I got to supervise three wonderful RAs. I also was able to work on several projects and sit on some different committees. I worked on creating the Summer School RA Training Program as well the HD Training, the Summer Newsletter and the Web Page Committees. 

I really enjoyed being able to spend my summer at a smaller private school and the chance to check out a part of the country I had never been to was also a bonus.

Nick Allen
Western Illinois University
M.Ed. in College Student Personnel
Residence Life Intern '02

For my summer internship experience, I worked on special projects within the department of Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH). Some of the big projects that I worked on include organizing the university exchange, a utility conservation campaign, contributing to the development of the RLSH website, serving on a performance appraisal assessment committee, and helping to develop the student staff training for the fall of 2002.

During the academic year, I work at Western Illinois University as an Assistant Complex Director while pursuing a graduate degree in College Student Personnel. I am having a blast here at Southern Methodist University. The department has been committed to providing a quality internship experience for all of us interns and the staff has brought us in with open arms. Go Mustangs!

Luke Jones
Washington State University
M.S.Ed. in Student Personnel Higher Education
Conference & Guest Services Intern '02

My name is Luke Jones and I am in the Student Affairs Masters program at Washington State University.   I have had a role in residence life and in conference services.  I served on the web site, HD training, and publications committees.

This has been a great experience to gain a different perspective at a mid-size, private institution.  SMU has a great reputation and this summer has been a huge learning experience in so many respects.  They are very concerned with making sure that we are exposed to many different areas and learn as much as possible during our stay in Dallas.

Vita Mazza
Florida State University
MS in Higher Education
Conference & Guest Services Intern '02

As the Conference and Guest Services Intern, I reported directly to the C&GS Manager.  My primary responsibilities included: training, scheduling and supervising desk staff; creating and submitting conference housing invoices; and, assisting with various weekly meetings .  In addition, I served as a liaison to the Conference Services department and assisted with general conference housing planning and troubleshooting. 

Due to the extent of my time commitment with C&GS, I was not able to officially serve on committees.  However, I did have the opportunity to sit in on meetings as time allowed.   I also attended a web design workshop held on campus which enabled me to help design the on-line version of the ACUHO-I intern scrapbook. 

The department itself is very supportive, both professionally and personally.  And the entire SMU community is just that, a community.  Teamwork is evident across the campus as is a friendly, welcoming attitude.  Having worked in a variety of both private/business and educational settings, I can say that this internship has been the best work experience I've had to date. 

Nathan Hanke
Western Illinois University
M.Ed. in College Student Personnel
Conference & Guest Services Intern '01

As an intern I was responsible for working with Residence Life and was the Summer Conference coordinator. I also served on several committees throughout the summer including the RA Class, RA Training, Community Development Model and revising the Residence Life Manual.

Angie Harris
University of South Carolina
M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs
Residence Life Intern '01

My primary responsibility was to serve as the Summer Hall Director for Mary Hay Hall, a suite style hall designated for summer school students. I also had the opportunity to serve on several committees, such as Hall Director Training, RA Class, and Hall Council Leadership Training, and to work on several projects such as the website and converting to an electronic manual.

This summer really gave me the opportunity to have some neat experiences. The support here was incredible, and they allowed me to do pretty much anything in which I wanted to gain experience. I really appreciated work on the new RLSH website, as well as planning Hall Director training. It was really cool to be involved with projects that I could see my contributions make a difference in the department. Most of all it was incredible to be a part of such a hard working and fun team! Each of them both challenged me and make me smile in unique ways.

Amy Vandersanden
Ball State University
M.A. Student Personnel Administration
Residence Life Intern '00

As an intern at SMU, I had many opportunities to learn about the department operations and to expand on my experiences in housing. Serving as the summer hall director for the apartment community was one of my main responsibilities. Fortunately, I was able to serve on several committees including HD and RA training and the Community Development Committee. I also had the opportunity to observe the central staff in their daily responsibilities and assisted in the housing assignment process.

Working at SMU was full of learning opportunities from day one. I enjoyed learning daily from the small, private college experience. One of the unique experiences was a trip to Texas Christian University in Fort Wayne which allowed me to further learn compare housing departments. The SMU internship was an opportunity to work in a quality Residence Life program among great people and learned about innovative ways to connect academics to the residential community. The supportive staff helped me development personally and professionally while having a summer filled with endless memories.