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Brandon's Conference Takeaways

Atlanta skyline with Conference Takeaways title overlay

What were your original thoughts on transfer professionals/initiatives, and how did they change with your conference exposure?

Entering this experience, I was aware of many programs, professionals, and initiatives that are used to support transfer students. My experience in student affairs at Stockton, as well as my experiences at the past two NODA national conferences, have shown me that efforts are being made. Going into the NISTS conference, I was excited not only to learn about more transfer initiatives and programs, but to meet such a large population of professionals that were working to better the transfer experience. This conference gave me an even stronger hope for future transfer students because it is exactly what is needed to continue to improve and be fluid with the changing experiences of transfer students.

Brandon posing at the NISTS 2018 conference with his concurrent session co-presenters, Jen and Tom

What did you hear that particularly sparked your interest/inspired you?

Through discussions with various professionals and attending numerous educational sessions, I learned about the effort, passion, and drive put into the transfer experience. Although the individuals working in this field have encountered many barriers, they continue to fight for needed programs to better serve transfer students. These professionals have had to work with lack of proper budgets, staffing, pre-existing programming, and administrative support, and yet they press on. At my own institution, we have leveraged efforts from just a few individuals to constantly discuss transfer issues and build more awareness on campus. As a result, transfer programming has increased over the past few years and is still on an upward incline. I very much admire transfer professionals, not just as a transfer student, but as a future student affairs professional. Their hard work is helping to continuously improve the transfer experience and increase transfer student success.

Brandon standing in front of a giant picture of a campus building with 15 other members of the Stockton TALONS group

What was your biggest takeaway?

My conference experience has truly improved my course for the future. The ideas I’ve absorbed, the connections I’ve made, and the passion I’ve witnessed have really fueled my desire to continue working in the transfer area. This fall, I will begin graduate school at the University of South Florida to receive a Master of Education in College Student Affairs. I have also accepted a graduate assistantship at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where I will be building third- and fourth-year experiences, as well as building transfer experiences.

I believe transfer will always be a part of the work I do, no matter where I end up for a career or in what position. Currently, I see myself working in orientation and transition, but I also have a lot of interest in student activities and development. The next two years may prove to form a new path for me, but regardless, I hope to have my hand in transfer by serving on a committee or implementing transfer programming.

Brandon posing with the other Head TALON

What are you going to do next in regard to transfer based on something you learned/ an idea you got from the conference?

As a result of my conference experience, I have learned several potential learning outcomes and programming ideas that I can use to improve the transfer experience at Stockton and USF. After speaking with staff from the University of California Berkeley, I am especially interested in transfer student centers and hope to one day be a part of one. Many transfer students enter their new institutions without a peer group, and a transfer center would give them a place to access to the resources they need and connect with other transfer students just like them.

For my upcoming outdoor adventure retreat for transfers, TRANSFERmation, the conference has confirmed some topics that could really impact Stockton’s transfer students. One major outcome we hope to achieve is transfer student involvement and engagement, not just with the institution but within the transfer population as well. In addition, whether it be Welcome Week or TRANSFERmation, I know that a career-related learning goal would be extremely beneficial to transfer students. We’ve already spoken with the assistant director of our Career Center, who is an up-and-coming professional speaker, and have confirmed he will conduct programming during a section of TRANSFERmation to encourage career success.

In my future career, I want to stay involved in transfer efforts in higher education and stay connected to NISTS. I am extremely grateful for this amazing experience and know I will continue to benefit from it.

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