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Sources: Dell Ann Claypool-Upp, 785-532-3790, dellann@k-state.edu;
and Tonya Wessel, 785-532-3790, twessel@k-state.edu
Photo available at http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/jul11/720STARScollege.jpg
News release prepared by: Megan Molitor, 785-532-3452, molitor@k-state.edu

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SHOOTING FOR THE STARS: TOPEKA SENIOR ATTENDS HOUSING HONORS PROGRAM IN NEW ORLEANS

MANHATTAN -- Working as a resident assistant isn't just a college job for Mitchell Kidd, but rather it's the beginning of what could be a meaningful career of helping students.

Kidd is a Kansas State University senior in sociology from Topeka who is entering his second year as a resident assistant at the Jardine Apartment Complex's West End Neighborhood. He was one of just 55 students selected to attend this year's Association of College and University Housing Officers-International STARS College, July 7-9, in New Orleans, La.

The college features group presentations, mentoring, role play situations and other activities geared toward promoting student affairs and the university housing profession as a viable career option.

Opportunities to grow professionally continue after the event is over as students can also participate in discussion lists and maintain the relationships formed during the conference. The program also creates an outlet to carry their new knowledge to the outside world, Kidd said.

"I feel I learned a great deal about many things within this field," he said. "However, my knowledge was most enhanced in the area of understanding how to take the concrete experience I had and represent it on a resume."

Kidd transferred to K-State two years ago from Washburn University. Tonya Wessel, area coordinator at Jardine Apartments, supervises Kidd and said his experiences as a transfer student have helped him serve the K-State community as a resource and leader.

"In his year as a resident assistant he has emerged as a leader among the staff and makes a commendable effort to connect with the residents," Wessel said. "Mitchell's positive attitude and genuine care for others is contagious. It will be exciting to see where he journeys to in his time after K-State. He will certainly continue to make an impact."

Kidd plans to graduate in May 2012 and then attend graduate school at a university yet to be determined. He said that he plans to pursue a career in an area of student life, after his interest was sparked by his enjoyment of being a resident assistant.

"I enjoy being a resident assistant because of the friendships I have built with residents and other staff, all in such a short period of time," he said.

STARS College was founded by Chuck Werring, former director of K-State housing and dining services.

"The intent was to create a program for juniors and seniors who showed potential for being effective in any area of student life," Werring said. "They can build upon a given skill set through STARS College and the potential to explore student life as a career."

The program's main focus is direct mentoring and coaching while encouraging the student to consider student life as a profession. Since its founding with Werring's vision nine years ago, STARS College has continued to give undergraduate students the opportunity to explore this profession, with 80-85 percent of participants choosing to pursue a career in student life.