My name is Kiara Hines and I am a candidate in the Master of Arts in Higher Education program at Elon University. I recently completed a course this winter on student engagement and high impact practices (HIPs) that has been extremely informative and applicable to the work that I am doing with my students as well as in my own personal reflection of my time as an undergraduate. A little background about me:
I graduated from Western Carolina University in the fall of 2017 with a BSW in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. My primary population of interest was youth in foster care, and I interned with Under One Sky Village Foundation based in the Asheville, North Carolina area where my work mainly focused on preparing young adults for transitioning from foster care into adulthood.
Through my graduate program at Elon, I am completing an apprenticeship with the Student Professional Development Center where I advise undergraduate students on everything from writing strong resumes for jobs and internships to broadening their professional network.
I am originally from Rutherfordton, North Carolina and have lived in the western part of the state until I moved to Elon for graduate school.
My interest in higher education stemmed from two places: 1) working as a campus tour guide throughout my entire undergraduate career and finding the value in making such a lasting impression on prospective students and their families; and 2) accidentally falling into an opportunity to transform what began as a final paper for a North Carolina History course into a published work that centered around political, racial, and social issues between UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. You can read my research in the proceedings for the 31st National Conference on Undergraduate Research here.
My goal after graduation is to do some work as an admissions counselor for a couple of years and eventually land a “forever job” working to improve college access and success initiatives for underrepresented students, primarily those who have been in the foster care system.
I tell these great portions of my life to further drive what I have found to be some of the most powerful pieces of information I’ve taken from my winter course: intentionality, integration, and meaningful interactions with faculty, staff, and fellow peers are imperative to taking a generic practice and making it have a high-impact on a student. I found that my experiences in my internship (or field practicum as we social workers call it) and undergraduate research possessed all of these qualities and had a significant impact on how I viewed myself as an individual, how I viewed the world around me, and what I aspire to do in life.