#SATBT Student Affairs Throwback Thursday: Thea Zunick

Thea on at Bull at Iona 2009

Thea Zunick

Current Position and Institution:
Associate Director of Student Life, Stevens Institute of Technology

First Position and Institution:
Assistant Director of Student Development, Iona College

Thea at Iona 2008I began my professional career at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY because it sung loud and clear “welcome back to the Northeast Thea”! It was time for me to leave the stickiness and laid back culture of Florida and get back to the pace of life I was used to, being from New Jersey! But in all seriousness, the job on paper was what I could have only dreamed about as my first experience out of graduate school. The position was designed so that I would be able to get experience in all different areas of student affairs. Anything from Greek Life to Diversity programming was under my purview as a brand new professional. Being that I was still unsure as to what my specialty and passion in this field would come be, this was perfect.

Thea at Iona at NACA 2008During my first year I was able to get a taste as to what working at a private, liberal arts, religiously-affiliated institution was like. It filled a gap that my previous internships and practicums had missed and helped me hone in on my role in this field. As a result of being able to work with so many diverse groups of students, I began to realize where my true passion and purpose in this field would be. I began connecting to other colleagues through attendance at NASPA, AFA, and NGLA conferences often presenting and volunteering in different roles.

The key takeaway from my first position in student affairs was the power of networking. Connecting with others who share the same passion but posses different approaches and different knowledge bases aided me in my personal and professional development. It can be the key to opening doors to new opportunities, whether by challenge or choice.

Overall, this experience built a strong foundation for me as a professional and I undoubtedly learned a great deal about the type of professional I was to become and what my eventual approach to supervision would be. One could say this job was the proverbial fuel to my fire to make my career within the field of Student Affairs.

The #SATBT series asks higher education and student affairs professionals to share a picture and reflect on a memory and/or one of the most important lessons the learned from their first job in the field.

Consider contributing your story for potential inclusion in the book version…

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