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Q&A with Class of 2016 Alumna: Meisha White

What was your favorite part of your Saint Martin experience?

I loved Saint Martin because of the small community. I felt like I knew everyone and was comfortable interacting with all students and staff. I learned to become very service oriented thanks to the staff at Saint Martin. Our teachers, deans, and staff laid an excellent foundation for us and taught us to see more in ourselves than where we came from and to explore the endless possibilities of our future. They showed me how to apply my skills and abilities to achieve something greater.

What is the number one thing you learned through Corporate Work Study?

Customer service is the most dominant thing I learned through Corporate Work Study. I was fortunate to have several jobs throughout my 4 years including: University Hospitals, Tucker Ellis, Lifebanc, The Cleveland Foundation, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. I was placed in several customer facing roles where I was the first point of contact for individuals, whether it was sitting at a front desk or answering phones. I value customer service thanks to my experience and that has helped me throughout college and even in my career now.

Where did you attend college? Tell us about your experience.

I attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama on the full ride Dewine Family scholarship. This truly was a full circle moment for me as I worked for Governor Mike Dewine at my Corporate Work Study job when he was the Ohio Attorney General. Growing up, my mom always encouraged me to go to school, receive good grades, and earn a college scholarship. This is exactly what I was able to do and she did not have to worry about anything.

I studied sociology and was super involved on campus. During my sophomore year, I remember talking with the Career Development Director and shared how I had no idea what career path I wanted to pursue. He reviewed my resume and after our conversation, he hired me for a job on the spot. He emphasized how unusual it was for a sophomore in college to have as much work experience that I did, all thanks to the Corporate Work Study program. This meeting honestly changed the course of my life. This job gave me experience in campus programming, orientation, first year student experiences, which led me to develop a desire to pursue a career in student affairs.

Did you feel prepared for college after leaving Saint Martin?

Saint Martin definitely prepared me for college! To have the courage to move almost 1,000 miles away to Alabama for college is a testament to how my mom and Saint Martin molded me. I had been consistently placed in new environments thanks to the Corporate Work Study Program so I felt ready to embrace another new environment as I entered college.

On an academic level, I was also well prepared. The Saint Martin grading scale mirrored that of a college, and I learned to write using ACE format which made writing papers in college a breeze. Many of my classmates had to seek out writing tutors, but I never felt I needed to thanks to how well prepared I was at Saint Martin. I even look back on my Capstone experience. Although it was a headache in high school, the Capstone project taught me how to do a year long research project and connect data from multiple sources to then argue my point. This is exactly what I do in graduate school now and I got a head start thanks to my Saint Martin education.

Tell us about your career in Student Affairs.

I started my career in Student Affairs at Notre Dame College here in Cleveland. As a member of the Resident Life Department, my job was to deal with all things related to student housing. After a month in to that position, my other team member left the job, leaving me solely responsible for all resident life activities. As a young professional this was scary, but I hit the ground running, learned a lot, and experienced dramatic growth in my role.

In July 2022, I moved down south, and I now serve as the Resident Director for a local college as well as the co-advisor of the Resident Hall Association. My job is to ensure all of our residents and resident assistants have what they need to succeed. I oversee 400 residents in my building and have 12 direct report resident assistants. On a daily basis my role consists of submitting key or maintenance requests, overseeing building programming, conflict mediation, room open and closures, and so much more. I also serve on various committees within the department which keeps me very busy. Outside of work, I also am pursing my Master’s in Organizational Leadership through an online program at Goodwin University.

Wow! You definitely keep busy. What are your plans for your future once you finish up your Master’s Degree?

I always joke that I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up. To some people that may sound childish, but I think there is still so much to grow and learn from. I do see myself advancing within student affairs, specifically in housing. I chose to pursue organizational leadership for my master’s program because of how broad it is. I could apply it to a career similar to what I am doing today or I could enter a different field such as consulting on how to build more effective leaders, retaining company staff and more. We will see what the future holds!

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