Department of Residential Life

RD Stories

What drew you to Pacific Lutheran University?

Dan Hammerquist, Resident Director for Tingelstad Hall:I was drawn to PLU because I wanted to work at an institution that exhibited a genuine sense of care for students and that would help me grow as a person and a professional.

Luke Ruiz, Resident Director of South & Kreidler Halls: “I was attracted to the social justice mindset that was evident through interactions with staff, faculty, and especially the students. I find it very rewarding to be engaged in social justice dialog happening at PLU. Recently I participated in the book club during J-Term and we had the opportunity to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It was awesome being part of conversations regarding social injustice in America and to hear students’ perspective on current political topics.”

Kat Slaby, Resident Director for Hong and Hinderlie Halls:I love that no two days ever look the same. Yes, there are certain things or trends that will occur around the same time every year, however, the students are constantly changing and surprising me in new and unique ways. I love coming to work every day knowing that there is a strong chance I will learn something new from a student and be able to have thoughtful and reflective discussions. The relationships I have built with students and campus partners keep me excited and energized to continue bettering myself and the work that I do on a daily basis.

Where will you go from here?

Mercy Daramola, Resident Director for Ordal and Stuen Halls: “Working at PLU has been an opportunity to expand my skill set beyond that of a typical residence life position. In addition to working with learning communities and themed communities in the halls, I’ve had the opportunity to work with alternative spring breaks, diversity and identity training, marketing, community engagement, event planning and more! All of these experiences and opportunities have widened the scope for me as I transition on from PLU and I’m truly grateful for this position.”

Life after Resident Director at PLU. What are you doing now?

Nicole Scheer, Former Resident Director for Hong and Hinderlie Halls:I came to PLU directly after graduate school with no full-time work experience. I chose PLU because I knew at a small college, I would have lots of opportunities to get involved and develop new skills, and because of the global focus. Though I was searching for residential life jobs, I knew I wanted to continue working with intercultural and international programs and PLU would allow me to do that. Finally, PLU’s mission really resonated with me and it felt like a good culture fit.

While at PLU, I had the opportunity to teach a class for first generation students, facilitate reflections for students recently returned from study away, to develop and enhance learning communities, and to transform RA training. I developed lasting, meaningful relationships with colleagues across campus and the students, and received a lot of support from around campus in continuing to develop my interest in international and experiential education.

When I left PLU after 3 years, I was able to stay in the area and get a job working with international students participating in short-term programs in Seattle with the University of Washington. Being an RD at PLU was challenging and interesting, and made it possible for me to build the skills I now use, and will continue to use as I take my career in this exciting new direction.

Carlos Solorzano, Former Resident Director for Tingelstad Hall:My educational experience entailed a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Arts in Higher Education, all from the University of Denver. During my graduate studies in Higher Education, I also worked as a Graduate Resident Director for two years.

The number of opportunities I was given at PLU to work outside of Residential Life set me very well for positions of leadership or positions outside of residential life. For example, my work in helping create the Men’s Coalition (for healthy masculinity), creating social justice workshops for student leaders campus-wide, and co-programming with the Women’s Center on numerous occasions will set me very well to continue my work in creating awareness of social justice issues. As a Strengths certified educator, PLU encouraged me to work with faculty, staff, and students across campus in both one-on-one settings and large classroom settings – and this will come in very handy in my goal to do consulting work later on in my career.

I recently returned from a position as a Resident Director for Semester at Sea, during their Fall 2013 voyage. This position allowed me to continue my work in student growth and development, but while traveling to 15 countries around the world.

Allison Stephens, Former Resident Director of Harstad:I received my Master’s degree from Miami University where I had one year of Graduate Assistantship in Residential Life and one year as a Research & Program Assistant for Dr. Marcia Baxter Magolda. Then two years as a Resident Director at California State University – Sacramento.

As an RD at PLU, I had the opportunity to work on several cross-campus committees and to serve as a Review Officer for the conduct system. These opportunities allowed me to interact with many offices (Student Involvement & Leadership, Health Center, Counseling Center, Admission, International Programs, Athletics, etc.) and eventually led me to applying for an open position in Student Involvement & Leadership after just one year in the RD role.

I have since had positions that included responsibilities such as New Student Orientation, Clubs & Orgs, Leadership, and Student Conduct. I am currently the Assistant Director of Academic Advising at PLU. I love the daily interactions I get to have with students as they navigate PLU’s curriculum, discover their strengths, and pursue their passions.