Marija Westfall, COL ‘ 24, Scottsville, VA
Over the past few years of my academic journey at Penn, I have had the incredible opportunity to explore various areas and departments that make up the university. However, one department that particularly captivated my interest was the Undergraduate Admissions department. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a coordinator for the visitor experience side of Admissions during this summer, a role that allowed me to have a meaningful impact on prospective students and their families.
As a coordinator, my responsibilities were diverse and challenging, yet immensely rewarding. One of the main aspects of my role involved greeting visitors and being their go-to person for any questions they had about university life, academic programs, and campus facilities. This experience taught me invaluable communication skills, as I learned to be a warm and welcoming host while also maintaining a professional demeanor in handling any challenging situations.
Leading tours for prospective students and new staff around the campus was another significant aspect of my summer job. This opportunity allowed me to share my passion for Penn and showcase the vibrant campus life to potential students. It was fulfilling to witness their enthusiasm and curiosity about becoming a part of our university community. Additionally, gathering feedback from our student staff was a crucial part of my role as a coordinator, enabling us to continuously improve the visitor experience.
At the beginning of my summer job, I faced the challenge of striking a balance between my responsibilities as a coordinator and being a student worker. However, with the guidance and support of the Admissions Visitor Center staff, my co-coordinator and I were able to efficiently manage the student staff and anticipate potential challenges that the day might bring. Adaptability became our greatest asset, as we tackled unexpected obstacles, such as poor air quality in June, which prevented us from conducting outdoor tours. Despite this setback, we quickly devised a solution by utilizing our virtual tour website, providing guests with an engaging alternate experience while still offering insights into the authentic student life at Penn.
Reflecting on my summer experience, I am filled with gratitude for the personal and professional growth it has brought me. Not only did I gain confidence in my communication and leadership skills, but I also developed a deeper appreciation for the admissions process and the incredible effort that goes into welcoming new students to our university. This summer job has solidified my passion for working in the education sector and helping others navigate their journey towards higher education.
This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.