Shooting for STARS: K-State Senior Attends Housing Honors Program in Louisiana
July 19, 2011 — Working as a resident assistant isn't just a college job for Mitchell Kidd, but the beginning of what could be a meaningful career of helping students.
Kidd, a senior in sociology at Kansas State University from Topeka, is entering his second year as an R.A. at the Jardine Apartment's West End Neighborhood. He was recently invited to attend this year's Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I) STARS College in New Orleans, La., which took place July 7-9.
Kidd was one of only 55 students selected for this event, which features group presentations, mentoring, role play situations and other activities geared toward promoting student affairs and the university housing profession as a viable career option.
Opportunities to grow professionally continue after the event is over as students can also participate in discussion lists and maintain the relationships formed during the conference. The program also creates an outlet to carry their new knowledge to the outside world, Kidd said.
"I feel I learned a great deal about many things within this field," he said. "However, my knowledge was most enhanced in the area of understanding how to take the concrete experience I had and representing it on a resume."
Kidd transferred to K-State two years ago after attending Washburn University. Tonya Wessel, area coordinator at Jardine Apartments, supervises Kidd and said his experiences as a transfer student have helped him serve the K-State community as a resource and leader.
"In his year as an R.A., he has emerged as a leader among the staff and makes a commendable effort to connect with the residents," said Wessel. "Mitchell's positive attitude and genuine care for others is contagious. It will be exciting to see where he journeys to in his time after K-State. He will certainly continue to make an impact."
Kidd plans to graduate from K-State in May 2012, and then attain a graduate-level education at a yet undermined university. He added that he plans to pursue a career in an area of student life, after his interest was sparked by his enjoyment of being an R.A.
"I enjoy being a resident assistant because of the friendships I have built with residents and other staff, all in such a short period of time\," said Kidd.
STARS College was founded by Dr. Chuck Werring, former director of K-State Housing and Dining Service.
"The intent was to create a program for juniors and seniors who showed potential for being effective in any area of student life," said Werring. "They can build upon a given skill set through STARS College and the potential to explore student life as a career."
The program's main focus is direct mentoring and coaching, while encouraging the student to consider student life as a profession. Since its founding with Werring's vision nine years ago, STARS College has continued to give undergraduate students the opportunity to explore this profession, 80-85 percent of whom choose to pursue a career in student life.