Mikayla Galgerud (she/her; they/them) graduated from Ball State in May 2022 with a major in English (Creative Writing), and a double minor in Theatre and Film & Screenwriting. They are currently an Assistant Director of Admissions at Ball State University and travel to the Southwest region of Indiana for undergraduate recruitment. Originally from Nebraska, Mikayla has now found a home in Muncie, Indiana, where they are planning to pursue an M.A. in English (Creative Writing). Mikayla’s current passion project is a short film/screenplay dedicated to their grandmother, exploring her dementia, and navigating their relationship since her diagnosis.
What does a typical week in your position look like?
My week consists of mostly the same things, but my schedule truly varies day by day. As of November, I have been the interim Associate Director for the Welcome Center on campus, but I will be returning to my regular position as Assistant Director of Admissions in March. The funny thing about Admissions is that it works on a cycle. So a typical week in October is very different than my regular week in May. Currently, my day-to-day consists of emails (loads of them), reviewing applications to Ball State, scheduling and managing a student staff of about 50, and working with on-campus partners to schedule things like Academic Appointments, reservations, special visits, etc.
Can you describe your work environment?
● Is it quiet/calm/casual or noisy/busy/fast-paced or somewhere in between?
The time of the day and day of the week definitely changes what the environment is like. Friday mornings are typically busy and fast-paced with a lot of moving parts, but Tuesday afternoons are typically slow and quiet. I love Tuesday afternoons because it gives our staff a little more time to bond with each other and have a more relaxed environment to work in, often sharing memes and playing some music when they have finished their jobs for the day.
● Do you work alone on projects or in a team environment or a little of both?
I typically tag-team larger projects with Rosemary Harrelson, who is our Welcome Center Coordinator. We don’t share an office, so it can feel a little individual at times, but just about everything that goes on in Admissions is a team effort, whether it’s working with one other person, with the entire staff, or somewhere in between. The only project I work on that is entirely individual is my travel season, which I plan and execute myself.
● Is there an organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion?
Yes! We have a special team in our Admissions department that specializes in Diversity and Community Outreach. We have Charles Haynes, who is the Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity and Community Outreach (as the title suggests, he does a lot). I am linking his biography page as he works with a lot of projects and partners. We also have Ashanti Figures, who is the Assistant Director of Admissions for Diversity. Recently, we hired a new Assistant Director for Hispanic/Latino Recruitment, though she is finishing up her master’s at Ball State, so she will be starting in a few months. We have quite a diverse general staff as well. One thing I love about the interview process is that we ask candidates for all positions about their personal definition and relationship with diversity, and what they do to participate in and actively manifest a diverse workplace.
What are the most valuable skills you learned in your major?
I would say the main component of my English major that has helped me in my career is the amount of public speaking that comes with classes. Active participation, reading of my work in workshops, and presentations have all been super helpful in building my confidence to lead large presentations, one-on-one conversations, and anything in between. While everyone is required to take COMM 210, of course, it does not compare to the amount of growth that happens over the course of an entire degree. Additionally, I think finding elective classes that help expand the type of writing you are comfortable with or have in your repertoire is very beneficial. As a Creative Writing major, I did not think I would be going into the workplace and spending most of my time writing in a professional manner, so taking supplemental courses like the Professional Writing elective is something that will help in the long run.
How does being a student at Ball State translate to being staff?
I think working for my alma mater has been such a blessing in terms of transitioning to a full-time staff position. What I love about faculty on campus, especially in the English department, is that most of them treat students as peers and future colleagues. It has been great to have that transition of being in a familiar environment, but changing what I am doing. here at Ball State and becoming more involved in a place I am passionate about. It also translates well to being a staff because I find myself asking questions and continuously learning, similarly, to how I was as a student, but in a different setting.
What is your advice to other Humanities students?
The Humanities are a vital organ of society. Much like our vital organs, the Humanities serve a multitude of purposes and find a way to be useful in just about every scenario (they are called vital organs for a reason!). The Humanities, even creative writing majors, find a place in just about every career out there, whether that is working as an editor in a publishing house or writing bestsellers, teaching, working in the political field, a library, or administration. Your knowledge, passion, and skill for the Humanities will always come in handy.
Last words of advice?
For all the writers out there, whether you are an English major or not, save all of your work! Organize all of your work! Your professors are right when they say it will all be useful at one point or another.