Class of 2021

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Nika Battle

Graduate Apprentice for the Odyssey Program

Nika Battle is from Chattanooga, TN. She is a graduate of Salem College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. During her time at Salem, she held leadership positions as a resident assistant, co-chair of Salem College Out of the Darkness Walk, member of Dean’s Commission on Salem Tradition, and secretary of the Spirit to spirit Campus Ministry. Her interest in higher education stems from close mentorship from faculty and staff across campus, who assisted in her understanding of college as a first generation college student. Nika wants to be a part of the “village” that students need to succeed on campus. She wants to help guide students, especially those who are first-generation, through the college process and make sure they reach graduation. Nika chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the comprehensive curriculum.

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Ashton Croft

Graduate Apprentice for the Moseley Center

Ashton Croft is from Houston, TX. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University with bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science. During her time at Texas Christian, she held leadership positions as a Resident Assistant, Leadership Adventures Facilitator, Gamma Phi Ritual Chairwoman, and Model United Nations Delegate. Her interest in higher education stems from her extensive involvement on campus where she felt it “gave her a strong sense of purpose and belonging.” Ashton wants to “help other students obtain the same sense of joy and belonging at their institutions.” She chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the emphasis on social justice, professional development opportunities, study abroad, and the holistic view of higher education.

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Nicole Galante

Graduate Apprentice for Academic-Residential Partnerships

Nicole Galante is from Concord, NC. She is a graduate of Elon University with a bachelor’s degree in English. During her time at Elon. She held leadership positions as a student coordinator for LIFE@Elon and the president of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English Honor Society. As a first generation college student, she has always worked towards higher education. Nicole feels that higher education is the place where she can do her best work. She has a “passion for working with first-generation college students” like herself. Nicole chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the “comprehensive education.” She feels that this program will provide “the tools necessary to enter the workforce as a diverse and capable professional.”

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Mackenzie Hall

Graduate Apprentice for Global Education

Mackenzie Hall is from Gallipolis, OH. She is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her time at OU, she held leadership positions as lab manager of two psychology research labs, vice president of the Red Cross Club, leadership chair of Phi Sigma Pi, and an advocate for volunteering and community service within the Athens, Ohio community. Her interest in higher education was fostered trough valuable connections with staff members in the academic advising center. Mackenzie is interested in the “student's higher education experiences, especially in first-generation, Appalachian identifying, and over/under academic performance populations.” Her goal is to become an “academic advisor that provides knowledgeable, skillful, and effective practices that affords students with the same opportunities that she was granted.” Mackenzie chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the “emphasis on global engagement and experiential learning.”

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Natalie Hawkes

Graduate Apprentice for Sport Programs

Natalie Hawkes is from Binghamton, NY. She is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. During her time in undergrad, she held leadership positions as a leader of the Transfer Mentor Program, member of the Student Advisory Committee of the Center for Career Development, and student employee in the Admissions Visitors’ Center. Her interest in higher education stems from an internship in the Center for Career Development that led to her first professional role in corporate recruiting. Natalie found “excitement and joy in helping young adults navigate their future plans.” She “can’t wait to be an advocate and mentor for students in preparing them for their future as professionals and engaged citizens.” Natalie chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the comprehensive curriculum and the community atmosphere.

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Christopher Horack

Graduate Apprentice for Wellness

Christopher Horack is from Stratham, NH. He is a graduate of Endicott College with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. During his time at Endicott, he held leadership positions as a Late Night Coordinator, president of the Senior class, REACH Peer Educator, Orientation Leader, and director of the Alliance. Within these leadership roles, Christopher was able to facilitate social and educational programming, create connections with the institution’s administration, and coordinate transition programming for incoming students. His interest in higher education stems from the leadership of his advisor in student activities. Christopher wants to “be the support for students that his advisor was for him and help provide them with meaningful experiences.” He chose to continue his education in Elon’s MHE program because he felt very supported throughout the application process and took a lot of comfort hearing and seeing the intentionality that went into developing his program.

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Marjae Jackson

Graduate Apprentice for the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education

Marjae Jackson is from Stratford, CT. She is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. During her time at Southern Connecticut, she held leadership positions as a Resident Advisor, Executive Assistant for Student Involvement, president and founder of CurlFriendz, and Representative-at-Large for SGA. Her interest in higher education stems from her status as a first generation college student and African-American female where she frequently questioned her ability to persevere to obtain her degree. She frequently relied on the Multicultural Center to provide the tools and resources she needed to succeed in college. Marjae wants “to provide underrepresented students the support and resources they need to succeed in their collegiate careers.” She chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the “core focus values around social justice and experiential learning.”

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MJ Larrazabal

Graduate Apprentice for Fraternity and Sorority Engagement

MJ Larrazabal is from Miami, FL. She is a graduate of Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication. During her time at FIU, she held leadership positions as a Peer Mentor for the Office of Undergraduate Education, Recruitment Counselor for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and a Tour Guide. Her interest in higher education stems from her involvement in undergrad and developing meaningful connections with faculty and staff. MJ says that she has “seen firsthand the hearts of students, faculty and staff of different universities who strive to make an impact on the community around them.” She chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of their “commitment to student development and engaged learning through a critical lens.”

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Torii Masinsin

Graduate Apprentice for Undergraduate Admissions

Torii Masinsin is from Stafford, VA. She is a graduate of Christopher Newport University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her time at Christopher Newport, she held leadership roles as president of Kappa Kappa Psi, a band service fraternity and historian of the Marching Captains. Upon graduation, Torii stayed at Christopher Newport as a University Fellow in the Office of Admission. Her interest in higher education stems from her relationship with mentors who are currently working in higher education. She chose to pursue a fellowship to learn more about the profession and gain insight into the way institutions work. Torii found a “passion for helping prospective students and families understand the college and admission process.” She is “excited to learn more about the field and eager to explore higher education in its entirety.” She chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because she “believed the curriculum and experiences offered would prepare me as a future higher education professional.”

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Zoe Palomaki

Graduate Apprentice for Student-Athlete Services

Zoe Palomaki is from Los Angeles, CA. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. During her time at UNCG, she held leadership positions as a University Marshal, Bryan School Ambassador, and captain of the Women’s soccer team. After working in the field of business, Zoe transitioned to living abroad, where she was an assistant and substitute teacher in Finland. Her interest in higher education stems from her experience abroad where she had the opportunity to “guide students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and varied levels of proficiency by imparting knowledge, positivity and an expanding perception.” Zoe believes that all students should be able to “experience the same opportunity and have the same chance for success and placement in all aspects of life regardless of their socioeconomic background.” She chose to continue her education in Elon’s MHE program because of the focus on experiential learning through internships and an apprenticeship, as well as the program’s emphasis on global experiences.

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Joe Strid

Graduate Apprentice for Student Organizations and Involvement

Joe Strid is from Bristol, CT. He is a graduate of West New England University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. During his time in undergrad, he held leadership positions as a Peer Advisor, Orientation Group Leader, Lead Open House Associate, and Senior Office Assistant. Joe discovered his interest in higher education after having multiple conversations with mentors around campus. He believes that students can “grow and discover their full potential in college.” He aspires to be a “mentor to other students and make a positive impact on not only their college experience but also their life.” Joe chose to continue his education in Elon’s MHE program because of the experiential learning, internships, study abroad, and location outside of the New England area.

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Shawn Thompson

Graduate Apprentice for the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement

Shawn Thompson is from Windsor, CT. He is a graduate of Curry College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. During his time in undergrad, he held leadership positions as an orientation leader, resident assistant, president of the Health, Image, Power, and Success club (H.I.P.S), and vice president of Curry for a Cure. Shawn discovered his interest for higher education through his involvement on campus during his first-year of undergrad. Through the help of mentors on campus, he challenged himself to break out of his “comfort bubble and find leadership roles on campus that validated his love for higher education.” Shawn chose to continue his education in Elon’s MHE program because he felt valued as an applicant. He appreciates the programs emphasis on networking, experiential learning, and study abroad.