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UNK grad passionate about career in student affairs
Rebecca Mcmickell
Antelope Staff
Photo by Rebecca McMickell
Megan Friesen

Megan Friesen loves seeing students succeed.

As an academic advisor and coordinator of the Mentor Program at UNK, Friesen’s job is centered around students, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I feel very blessed to have such an awesome group of students to work with; they make it worth coming every day,” Friesen said.

Friesen’s friendly personality and desire to make a difference make her the perfect addition to UNK’s Student Support Services, and she comes with experience as a Loper herself.

Originally from Hastings, Friesen chose to attend UNK after high school. “It was close to home, and it was just the right size for me,” she said. After earning her bachelor’s degree in vocational business education in 2007, she continued her education at UNK and recently received a master’s degree in counseling and school psychology with an emphasis in student affairs in May.

Before starting grad school, she landed a paid position on campus when Kristen Larson, the previous Mentor Program Coordinator, found a different position.

“Kristen Larson kind of inspired me to do this. I loved her job and I thought, ‘I can do this,’ so I went out on a limb and applied, and I got it,” Friesen said.

She now has two titles. As an Academic Advisor, she helps students choose classes, research majors and look at careers, but that’s far from all she does. With the help of Student Support Services faculty and staff,  Friesen handles everything from teaching to coordinating.

“I teach two sections of Freshman Seminar, and I’ve also taught University Foundations in the past. I do a lot of programming of events for students; I plan, coordinate, put them together, invite the speakers and get them ready.  I really look at what’s needed, what the students are looking for and how we can make it fun and put it all together,” Friesen said.

The Freshmen Seminar and University Foundations classes are transition classes, taught for the First Year Program, designed for freshmen making the transition from high school to college.  

One of Friesen’s most important jobs is coordinating the UNK Mentor Program. Students must qualify to be eligible for the program by either being a first generation student, having a documented disability or a recipient of a Pell Grant. “We work intensively with freshmen,” Friesen said. “Basically, it’s their upperclassman go-to person.”

Mentors and mentees are matched based on interests and majors. “I have a form that they fill out, it’s like eHarmony for the Mentor Program,” Friesen laughed. The pairs meet at least seven times throughout the semester and attend UNK events or go through processes like class registration.

Gustavo Ramirez, a junior political science major from Lexington, said he has enjoyed being a mentor.

“It’s great that I’ve had a chance to help someone out by mentoring. I think it’s important, because we all remember being freshmen and being new to UNK, so this is a great way to introduce students to college life,” he said.   

For Friesen, being a part of UNK Student Support Services has been rewarding in more ways than one.

“I was an SSS student as an undergrad and I loved it,” she said. Now as a Student Support Services faculty member, Friesen’s students are her passion, “I love seeing them grow as people.” 

October is Careers in student affairs month

If you love helping people and making a difference, a career in student affairs might be for you.  Check out what's happening on campus:

Oct. 6: Student Affairs Career Expo, student union atrium, the committee and several other Student Affairs staff will be in the atrium of the union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. promoting careers in Students Affairs to students as they pass through

Oct 13: Careers in Student Affairs Panel Discussion at 7 p.m. in Nester View, a group of Student Affairs professionals will discuss how they got into the profession and what they like about their jobs.


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