Six student ambassadors receive lead roles


Alexandria Leland

Five of the six new lead Utica University student ambassadors.

Mickale Thompson, Features Editor and Lead Tour Student Ambassador

Student Ambassadors play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the Utica University community. They are responsible for key roles such as giving tours to prospective students and families, aid in admissions events and overall representing Utica in various areas and aspects.

This year, six Student Ambassadors have been chosen for lead roles. Two Student Ambassadors each were selected for three lead positions. Ryan Kulawy and Mickale Thompson were appointed Lead Tour Student Ambassadors, Sara Kuiken and Sophia Hartnett were appointed Lead Event Student Ambassadors while Melhea Gachette and Amara Clemente-Johnson were appointed Lead Tele-Counseling Student Ambassadors. Each of these segmented roles represent important aspects of the Student Ambassador role and the overall admissions process. 

According to Assistant Director of Admissions Rayna Orsino, it became very apparent early on that the Student Ambassadors are what make the admissions experience into what it is. Seeing how much talent and dedication students have it was important to provide more opportunities for professional growth because the skills you gain as ambassadors is transferable into any profession.  

For Ryan Kulawy, being a Student Ambassador has allowed him to help students and families on one of the most important journeys of their life. It creates a sense of pride when representing the school while also helping in that process. 

Kulawy, being one of persons selected for the lead role, talks about the responsibilities that come with it.

“As a lead Tour Ambassador my job is to keep the tour notes updated and help facilitate the tour test for the new ambassadors,” Kulawy said. “I take pride in this job because I feel that the tour is the most important part of the job. That is our time to show why we love this campus and how it can feel like home to a student. Without that, it takes away from the personal experience on this campus.”

Each Ambassador applied for the role that they felt would best fit their individual strengths. For Melhea Gachette and Amara Clemente-Johnson, that was tele-counseling.

“Tele-counseling is an opportunity for current students to speak and connect with prospective students looking to attend Utica University,” Lead Tele- Counseling Student Ambassador Melhea Gachette said. “As a lead tele-counselor, I also aid other ambassadors during their shifts. I teach newer ambassadors how to use our tele-counseling system and guide them as they find their best way to connect with a student on the phone.”

Tele-counseling is an important aspect within the admission process because it extends a line of interpersonal communication with prospective students which allows them to get familiar with Utica.

“Tele-counseling allows prospective students to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with a current student here at the University,” Gachette said. “During tele-counseling we often call their mobile phone directly and give students the chance to speak with us “student to student.” In the past I have had many seven to 10-minute long conversations with students during tele-counseling, which is hard to have during an event day because they always have another place to be.”

For Johnson, talking to students is the most enjoyable part of telecounseling. 

“Being able to talk to prospective students is what I like most about tele-counseling,” Johnson said. “As you’re having a conversation with them it’s nice to be able to share your experiences as a student and hear their experiences as they’re getting ready to graduate. Tele-counseling is important because it is one of the first points of contact that prospective students have with Utica University’s community.”

Admission events create an umbrella for student families to interact with other prospective students and get to experience what Utica University is really like. Sophia Hartnett and Sara Kuiken are the two ambassadors appointed for the Lead Event Student Ambassador role. 

“As a Lead Event Ambassador I will assist in preparing and coordinating event set-ups including training and event day schedules for the ambassadors,” Kuiken said. “On event days I will assist in ensuring there is proper coverage at different areas of the event and assist our supervisors with things they need done.  I will also be available to aid other ambassadors by answering questions they have about their event day responsibilities.”

There are many elements that go into executing a successful event because there are many moving parts that make an event successful according to Kuiken. 

“One very important element is all of the staff and ambassadors that work the event,” Kuiken said. “We work together as a team to make the event run smoothly and give the best experience to prospective students.”

For Hartnett, being a Student Ambassador allows her to meet new families and work with other ambassadors during admission events while keeping the same approach. 

“I absolutely love having the opportunity to meet families and prospective students,” Hartnett said. “Being a Lead Ambassador does not change my approach in doing my job. Yes, this role comes with more responsibilities, however, I will always perform to the best of my ability when fulfilling my position.”

There are over 25 ambassadors on the admission team. Therefore it is important to ensure everything runs smoothly. Having the lead ambassadors helps to make that happen. 

“I love that we are able to help our students grow in these areas so that when they are starting their careers they already have the tools they need to be successful in whatever role they are in,” Orsino said. “Student Ambassadors are a vital component of the growth and development of Utica University. The ambassadors are a direct reflection of the University and what we have to offer students. They share their personal experiences to prospective students and they are a crucial component of recruiting students. Their experiences help showcase the life of a Utica University student.”