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Passion for helping students

April 6, 2007

Passion for helping students

Shavon English has been a cornerstone of the Admissions Office at UC Merced for three years. Although her duties as an admissions officer have changed some over the years, one thing has remained the same her commitment to students. English’s passion for helping students began while attending UC Davis, where she worked for the Early Academic Education Outreach Program assisting elementary, junior high and high school students with the steps necessary to become eligible to attend a UC.

English, a Fresno native, said she was happy to return to the Central Valley after graduation. I feel like this is where I can impact people’s lives the most, she said. My passion is helping students, especially those who are disadvantaged or underserved.

As part of her current outreach at UC Merced, English oversees the Phone Call Campaign, which enlists 23 current students to call all freshman and transfer students who have been admitted to UC Merced. The students talk a little about themselves and reasons why they chose UC Merced. They even talk about some of the things they don’t like. The Phone Call Campaign started last year, but this year is the first year the university has employed students to make the calls.

The students are really amazing when they call and talk with prospective students, English said. They are able to make a connection with the admitted students in a way that staff members can’t. The goal for the campaign is to call every admitted student prior to the May 1 Student Intent to Register (SIR) deadline.

In addition to her Admissions duties, English has served as the staff advisor for the African-American Student Association for two years. She also serves on several committees including the Greek Task Force, Cultural Festival and Black History Month.

Last December, English was one of the main organizers for On the Spot Admissions Day on campus for students needing some extra guidance on eligibility. English remembers one student from Fresno in particular who was hoping to be the first one in his family to attend college. After reviewing his transcripts and test scores, English was pleased to inform him he was eligible for acceptance. His father and aunt were so thrilled to hear the news they jumped up and down with excitement. English recalls thinking, This is why I am here, for moments like this. Knowing that I am helping students and their families makes all of the hard work worthwhile.