Three Anderson University alumni returned to campus this year as counselors in the Admissions Office. Jacob Banwart, Michelle Leak, and Katie Peters are the newest additions to the Admissions team. By joining the AU staff, the alumni feel they are giving back to the school that gave so much to them.
Having graduated in 2012, Banwart and Leak return to AU shortly after graduating. With a degree in secondary education, Banwart initially saw himself working with high school students.
“I went back and forth quite a bit with what I wanted to do. I loved teaching and coaching,” said Banwart. “However, the opportunity to work with admissions at AU — the place that gave me so much as a student — mixed with the opportunity to work with the same age range of students made my decision a no-brainer.”
[Photo, from left: Jacob Banwart, Michelle Leak, Katie Peters]
Leak, a social work major, had continued ties to Anderson after graduation. “I initially took a social work job in Anderson, but then accepted the admissions position,” said Leak. “I see my job as a way of giving back to the professors, faculty, and staff that poured into me. I was in need of support, guidance, and grace while I was a student. I was given this and even more.”
Peters found her love for youth after graduating in 2009. With a degree in English, Peters had always envisioned herself in a freelance or technical editing career, but was open to alternative careers.
“I volunteered as a leader with Campus Life, a ministry organization, and with my church’s youth group,” said Peters. “I loved interacting with middle and high school students and building relationships with them. As I went through the interview process with the admissions staff, I became more and more excited about helping high school students with one of the biggest transitions of their lives.”
These recent graduates now hold staff positions among their former peers. “It is such an adjustment to see students walking to class while I sit in my office working. It is weird being on the other side of it now,” said Banwart. He had the easiest transition of the new hires. Having worked in the Admissions Office as an undergrad, Banwart had a level of comfort with his new position. “My degree and experience in the office as a student really helped make the transition easier,” said Banwart.
All three alumni were campus leaders during their student years on campus, serving as mentors, directors, and coordinators for the AU community.
Peters believes her time spent as an AU student has given her an upper hand as an admissions counselor. “I feel that an admissions counselor should not only promote AU to students, but should also help students decide if they are a good fit for AU. My experience is still relevant to the students I consult,” said Peters.
As part of the staff, these three alumni have found a new perspective and appreciation for administration and the work done behind the scenes. Having left the campus for an extended amount of time, Peters’ feelings have deepened toward AU.
“It’s a completely different experience as a staff member,” said Peters. “As a student I always felt like AU was home. With my new position, I feel an even deeper sense of ownership.”
— Kristen Schaap is a senior from Chicago, Ill., majoring in communication arts. Schaap is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.