Kade is a master’s student in the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education program.  Kade is also a graduate assistant for the Graduate School, serving as the Co-Coordinator for the Pathways Project.  The Pathways Project is a Graduate School initiative for inclusive excellence.   The Pathways Project program is designed to support students from marginalized backgrounds through mentoring and research opportunities.

Where is your hometown?

Indianapolis, IN

What are a few of your favorite hobbies?

Fiber Arts (weaving, knitting, crochet), cooking, and listening to music!

How do you practice self-care?

I like to blast music while I cook or clean so that I can focus on the task at hand, I have a few plants that I like to take care of (mostly succulents!), and recently I’ve gotten into skin care and I find it very relaxing and gratifying!

Why did you choose Ball State?

I chose Ball State because of my program, Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (SAAHE).  The faculty were super kind during interviews, more than helpful with all the questions I had at the time, and really made me feel like I was more than a student to them, but a person. I also picked this program because of its dedication to social justice within the curriculum and how that aligns with my desire to work within diversity, equity, and inclusion work within Higher Education. It also helped that my sibling and my best friend went to school here, so I was bound to become a cardinal at some point!

What first interested you about your graduate program?

Besides dedication to social justice and understanding of identity, what interested me at first was the assistantship that I currently work in, The Graduate School’s Pathways Project. I had never worked with mentoring programs before, and after reading about how I would have the privilege to help marginalized and minorized students find faculty mentors, I was ecstatic to hop at the opportunity. As a first-generation, Queer-identifying person myself, I would have greatly benefited from a mentor in my undergrad career, as I was completely lost during my undergraduate years! So, getting to help other students who have had similar experiences to my own find mentorship has been an amazing experience. I’m actually considering mentoring and coaching programs as one of the functional areas to explore within my field now because of my experience!

Where did you obtain your bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees, what were your major(s)?

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a concentration in Japanese Language in Culture from Indiana University – Bloomington back in May 2020. I will receive my master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education this July.

What is one lesson you have learned as a graduate student?

The key to persistence is community and to be honest with yourself about your goals. With so much happening in graduate school, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work and stress that  accumulates over the course of the program. Something I’ve learned is that it is okay to reconsider and question beliefs, theories, and practices so long as you stay true to what you believe in, and it meets the goals you have set for yourself. If changing your goals means staying authentic to who you are, then do so because self-evaluation is a great way to check in with yourself and grow as a person.

What has been the most valuable part of your graduate assistantship experience?

It might sound cliché, but honestly the students. Having the chance to talk with them, learn about what their aspirations are in life, what drives them, and then being able to be the person who helps them access the resources they need to achieve those dreams is other-worldly. There are so many students on this campus who are capable and passionate, and it is awe-inspiring to see how hard they work towards their goals. My hope isn’t just to connect them with faculty and resources on-campus, but to also teach them the importance of their why, help them understand the reasons they are pursuing this passion. I also want to give them the skills necessary to continue on with their passions through self-care, goal-setting, and actualizing self-autonomy and self-authorship, among other things.

Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

Being in a 3-semester track program can be EXHAUSTING! But I am honestly blessed to have an amazing cohort of incredible individuals who support me and show me love in ways I never imagined. I also cannot emphasize how lucky I am that I serve as a co-director with Mike Martinez at the Pathways Project. He is always super supportive, incredibly knowledgeable, and really funny! Having these people in my life has helped me realize that I am a scholar and that I do belong in this program.

What are your future plans and career goals?

My hope is to become an assistant director of an LGBTQ+ Student Services/Culture Center on a campus right after graduation, then work my way towards becoming the director. Depending on how life goes, it would also be amazing to become a Dean of Students/Vice Provost for Student Affairs or Vice Provost for  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, but I’m trying to work small steps, one at a time, so that I don’t burn myself out. Pursuing a doctorate isn’t currently within my 5 to 10-year plan, but you never know, so we’ll just have to see!