Chelsea Kinjorski

Student Info

Graduation Year:
December 2011
Hometown:
Berkley, Michigan

What made you decide to attend the RCAH?
I decided to attend RCAH about 5 minutes into Scot Yoder’s presentation in the basement of the Psychology building... RCAH as we know it didn't quite exist yet. I had only visited one other school before MSU and thought I was destined to attend a small private liberal arts school, but the pricetag just wasn’t something that worked for my family. Finding out I could study a little bit of everything I wanted while also attending a large school close to home was what helped seal the deal.

Do you have any favorite memories?
I loved all of the adventures I had with fellow RCAH students while living in the dorms my first two years. Snyder Phillips was a bit unfinished when we moved in Fall of 2007, and I think having a dance party in Dean Steve’s soon-to-be office was something I’ll never forget.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I was interested in the play between language, culture, literature, and art.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
The strong bonds you are able to build with faculty and staff were absolutely my favorite aspects of the RCAH. I cant imagine my four and a half years at RCAH without the time spent at Pam’s desk, shadowing Lizzy’s presentations, and being encouraged to think and engage by Donna, Eric, and Anita.

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU? If so, which programs?
I didn’t, and I wish I had! It’s one of the reasons I encouraged my sister Samantha (RCAH ‘17) to participate in one of the trips sponsored by RCAH.

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
After graduation I started working for the Michigan State College Advising Corps, where I served as a College Adviser in Boyne City and East Jordan High Schools. While there I worked on all aspects of college readiness for first generation, low income students. This experience left me interested in graduate school (and warmer weather) so after completing my two years as an Adviser I started grad school at Florida International University in Miami. I graduated with a Masters in Higher Education, and now I work at Oberlin College in Ohio as an Area Coordinator.

Which RCAH experiences influenced the work you do today?
Oberlin has a strong history of commitment to equity in education and social justice, a value I was able to discover and articulate for myself while in RCAH. As a first generation college student, it is extremely important for me to work directly or indirectly with students with experiences similar to mine.

Did you know while you were in college that you wanted to do the type of work you’re doing now?
I had no idea! I walked into college not exactly sure what I wanted to do, and I think I changed my second major at least three times. I wasn’t aware of my interest in education until taking two classes: Civic Engagement with Donna Kaplowitz and Career Strategies with Kate McGormley. Donna helped me understand that working in educational access didn’t mean I had to be a teacher or otherwise conform to a traditional role in the school system. Kate helped me articulate that interest, find relevant job shadowing experiences at MSU, and gently guided me into my career in Student Affairs. I believe my direct quote was, “Kate, I can do YOUR job one day?!”

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
Explaining and articulating the value of a liberal arts degree can be challenging. RCAH does a great job of helping students think outside of the box and make connections that aren’t always easy to find. RCAH gave me the confidence to sell my experiences to future employers and to be confident in my own value.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?
I never thought I would end up working in Residential Life, but I really enjoy Oberlin and the students I work with. They remind me so much of RCAH students! But the best part of working at a small liberal arts school is the opportunity to wear a lot of different hats and gain experience in areas you wouldn’t normally work in at a larger school. I’ve been able to get experience with multicultural affairs, equity and inclusion, student activities, student crisis, and our Title IX office all within the last two years.

What are some of the challenges?
ResLife is a 24 hour a day 7 day a week job, which can be challenging and a little exhausting.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of work?
This is my favorite question! It’s easy to forget your own interests and hobbies when you work in Student Affairs. I’m a huge reader, with science fiction and fantasy being my genre of choice. If I’m not working I’m probably reading a book. I also joined a community choir here in Oberlin and a jam group that plays old time folk music. Now that I’m thinking about it, most of my nearest and dearest hobbies all had a corresponding class at RCAH...so I’d like to thank Anita Skeen, Eric Aronoff, RCAHppella, and Chris Scales for my current list of extracurriculars.

If you could plan an event for alumni in your area, what would you do?
I would love to coordinate a lunch and learn between current Oberlin students and RCAH students, or some type of weekend exchange. I think both colleges are doing great things and could learn a lot from each other!

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Leave no stone unturned, go to Israel or Costa Rica, and don’t be discouraged by anyone who doesn’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. You have a huge network in current students, former students, faculty, and staff. We are here and happy to help you before and after graduation