By Kyle Carruthers
A collection of 17 college seniors and graduates gathered in the Braden Room in the Dining Commons last Friday. Some came from as far as the West Coast, and most of them were not Taylor students . . . yet.
The students were future Masters of Higher Education initiates visiting Taylor's campus. Nineteen students were accepted into the program for next year out of 34 applicants, although two of them were unable to attend the day-long visit. Five students had undergraduate degrees from Taylor, but the rest boasted great diversity in undergraduate alma maters according to MAHE graduate assistant Amy Wilson.
"It's just a wonderful opportunity to get our new students on campus and get to meet them and have them interact with the faculty members," Wilson said.
While on campus, visiting students applied for graduate assistantships, or positions in various Taylor organizations which allow MAHE students to gain experience in higher education and contribute to the Taylor community. Interviews occurred after an introductory session and a luncheon with current MAHE students.
One student who will be returning to that community is Drew Crane, who graduated from Taylor in 2012 with a degree in public relations.
Although students came from various institutions and undergraduate degrees, many also had different elements which had attracted them to the program. Crane's focus was on the community and focus that the program provided.
"It was more the atmosphere I wanted to work in, less kind of the corporate aspect, working more for the students and more for the people." Crane said.
Kirsten Tentakken is currently a student at Whitworth University in the state of Washington. She will complete her undergraduate degree in mathematics along with a secondary education teaching certification in this spring. She had not considered higher education as an option until a mentor pointed her towards Taylor's program. She likes the opportunities Taylor can provide for her.
"I think I was drawn to Taylor's program primarily because of the integration of learning with the opportunity for a graduate assistantship," Tentakken said. "So, that was really encouraging to me that the things you're learning in the classroom during the day can be put into practice right away through the the assistantship if applicable."
"It's very encouraging because everyone is so welcoming . . . not just looking at the MAHE program, but the campus as a whole is welcoming," Zeutenhorst said. "It's made my comfort level increase." A mentor also pointed him toward Taylor's program.
Events were not limited to visiting MAHE students. The visitors participated in a dinner with the Habeckers and first-year MAHE students in the evening and later, a bonfire with the entire MAHE program.
"I like that Taylor keeps its feet founded in community-based higher education," Tentakken said.