Success Stories

Reed names alumna assistant dean

Serilda Summers

Grand Valley alumna Serilda Summers has found that working at a college in Portland, Oregon has allowed her to experience her joy of working with college students, something she found while attending Grand Valley. After only two years of working at Reed College, she is now the assistant dean of residence life.

Summers transferred to Grand Valley in 2002 through the Muskegon Partnership Program at Grand Valley. Originally she was pursuing a degree in biology and secondary education, but after working as a student assistant to Anne LeJeune in the Grand Valley Advising Resource Center, she decided to pursue a career in higher education.

Summers began working at Grand Valley as a math and science tutor. From there, she started assisting LeJeune in recruiting students through the Muskegon Partnership Program. The program helps students who receive their associate's degree from Muskegon Community College transfer to Grand Valley to complete their bachelor's degree.

“I absolutely loved to tutor adults and help them figure out what their life plans were going to be. They were always engaged in what they were studying, and I was passionate about helping them. Anne gave me a lot of responsibility and always told me what a good job I was doing so that inspired me to go into higher education,” said Summers

In 2005 Summers graduated from Grand Valley with a bachelor's degree in behavioral science, and then went directly to Ball State University and received a master's degree in higher education in 2006. She was then offered a position at Reed College as a hall director in residence life, and this past April was promoted as the assistant dean of residence life.

“I really didn't see myself in this position until about two weeks ago when I started receiving e-mails from the president's office, and it just sort of dawned on me,” Summers said as she laughed. “I work as the go-between to the ground workers and upper administration, and I also participate in a lot of meetings.”

In Summers' current position she supervises four resident directors and works with the finance, maintenance, community safety, student services and other various departments. She gives the associate dean and vice president feedback on student happiness and manages all of the student housing placements. Recently she also had the opportunity to direct the orientation program.

Eventually Summers says she would like to get her Ph.D. and become the president of a university, and she would also like to write a book.

“As of now, I could not have made a better decision for myself, and it's taught me to never be afraid to make a leap because it might be the best decision you can make for yourself,” Summers said.

by Leah Burns

This story was filed with the tags: Diversity, Impressive Jobs