Thursday, June 29, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student helps future Prairie Stars transition to college

The first time Marquiera Harris visited the University of Illinois Springfield she felt so welcomed that she instantly knew that UIS was her perfect fit. Now, the social work major is helping other students make the transition to UIS as an orientation coordinator.

“I love this campus,” she said. “It’s beautiful and definitely feels like home away from home. The professor’s care, they want you to get involved and I try my best to be involved.”

As a student orientation coordinator, Harris supervises 18 student orientation employees and helps to coordinate social media operations. On the day of orientation, she is responsible for supervising the help desk for new students and their parents.

“I make sure everything is going smoothly at the help desk in the mornings and make sure that students get to where they need to be,” she said.

UIS holds a total of six orientations for new students in June, July and August, which often means that Harris is working 50 to 60 hours a week to make sure everything goes as planned.

“We always get comments that ‘everything ran so smoothly’ and I’m always amazed because they don’t see the stuff that goes on behind the scenes, the little hiccups, but we make sure they don’t see it,” she said.

Harris says she has learned many lessons about leadership by supervising fellow student employees, many of whom she is friends with after hours.

“It’s been an amazing experience, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the initiative to be a leader,” she said.

On campus, Harris also serves as the organizational liaison for the Research Society at UIS where she helps to plan events. She recently presented her academic research at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago and at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Memphis, Tennessee.

“UIS has been an amazing fit for me,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great pay off in the end.”

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