Ashton Croft and Zoe Palomaki take first place in Student Affairs Regional Case Competition

This team of two Master of Arts in Higher Education students was judged by a panel of higher education professionals as providing the best rationale and solutions to address a hypothetical, but realistic and challenging situation on a college campus.

Two students in Elon’s Master of Arts in Higher Education program placed first in a recent case competition for graduate students in student affairs and higher education.

Competing were, clockwise from top left, Ashton Croft, Zoe Palomaki, Shawn Thompson and Torii Masinsin

Ashton Croft and Zoe Palomaki took the top spot during the competition that was part of the Southern Association of College Student Affairs (SACSA) Conference held Nov. 2-4 in Raleigh, N.C. This is the first time Elon Master of Arts in Higher Education (MHE) students have attended the conference. SACSA is a student affairs professional association that draws membership from 12 states in the southeast region.

Four first-year MHE students participated in the case competition, examining professional conundrums and ethical dilemmas in higher education work. Upon receiving the case, participants were given 45 minutes to collaboratively develop a resolution to the complex scenario. Teams then presented their action plan to a panel of higher education professionals. The first-place showing by Croft and Palomaki was a significant accomplishment for first-semester graduate students.

The four Elon students who participated and their apprenticeships at Elon are:

  • Ashton Croft — Moseley Campus Center
  • Zoe Palomaki — Student-Athlete Services
  • Torii Masinsin —Undergraduate Admissions
  • Shawn Thompson —Kernodle Center for Service Learning & Community Engagement

Rozana Carducci, associate professor of education and graduate ddirector of the MHE program, is thrilled with the students’ participation and success in their inaugural SACSA conference.

“Professional engagement is a strong value of the MHE program, and I am so impressed with the initiative, enthusiasm for learning, and professionalism demonstrated by Ashton, Zoe, Torii and Shawn,” Carducci said. “Zoe and Ashton winning first place in the case study competition as first-semester graduate students is an amazing achievement that underscores their potential to advance the higher education profession.”