California native, Tommy Raimondi, came to Ohio University in 2009 to complete his master’s degree because of his interest in good practical experience within his graduate program. Now, Tommy works at OMSAR. The Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR) is committed to attracting and retaining highly talented and capable students of diverse backgrounds to maximize their leadership potential through educational and service opportunities.

Graduation Date: June 2011, Masters
Area of study at OHIO: Masters of Education (College Student Personnel)
Current role: Coordinator for Leadership and Scholar Development in the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR)
From: Orange County, CA
Current Location: Athens, OH
Involvement(s) in Graduate School: Student Personnel Association (Vice President for Membership and Alumni)

What brought you out to Ohio?
When you’re from California that is always everyone’s first question. Why would you ever leave that wonderful warm place for a flyover state with snow and winter? I came to OU because my undergraduate mentors told me that the best graduate programs in education were in the Midwest and that you can live anywhere for two years so you can survive two winters.

“My search led me to Ohio University and I fell in love with the campus the minute my feet walked the bricks.”

The CSP program offered me an assistantship in the Campus Involvement Center working in the Amanda J. Cunningham Leadership Center and that was a job where I knew I could apply the theory I was learning to my practical experience. Eight years later, still a good life choice.

What was your experience like at the Leadership Center?
The leadership center was still relatively new so our role was to develop the structure and programming of the space. One of the nice things about being new was that our penalty for failure was pretty low. We could experiment with program development, assess our work, and make improvements as we went. I think it is really cool that much of the programming we developed then, such as the 21st Century Leadership series, is still used by the CLDC today.

The Campus Involvement Center was also a new space and watching our team come together was a great professional development experience. The CIC staff are awesome and they shaped who I am as a professional today.

What is your favorite thing about your role at OU?
I work with students every day and my job focuses on helping students achieve academic/personal success. My favorite moments come during the middle of the semester when a student who was struggling shares their recent success in the classroom. They typically doubt that the action plan we put together at the beginning of the term is going to lead to success, so when they see the positive evidence of their work and realize they can be successful, those are my favorite meetings.

What does your partnership with the CLDC entail?
OMSAR has a strong partnership with the CLDC and we regularly discuss how we can best connect the OMSAR scholars with the services the CLDC provides. We focus on helping our students form a one on one connection with the CLDC staff so that when the OMSAR scholars need career advice, they have a person to reach out to.  OMSAR encourages our students to use the CLDC coaches to fulfil their scholarship requirements.  We have incorporated the 21st Century Leadership and Professional Leadership series in our monthly enrichment session and are currently exploring how we can expand our partnership through online options.

What is your favorite thing about being a post graduate?
I consider myself very lucky to have found a career where I am actively pursuing my passion and work at an institution that I call home.  The scariest thing about life after college is there is no longer a prescribed path for success, you are free to be whatever you desire.  You have the opportunity to make what you want out of the experiences that you have. I get to do that every day.

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