BOONE—Jackie Cetera’s job can sometimes keep her busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but having a job that is never the same from one day to the next is what keeps Cetera energized about working in the field of college student development.
Cetera, a graduate student and residence hall director at Appalachian State University, has received the North Carolina Housing Officers’ Graduate Student of the Year award.
The award recognizes the contributions of a graduate student in housing or residence life, particularly those made to their campus position and/or academic program which are considered to be above the expectations of a graduate student.
Cetera of Palm Harbor, Fla., is the residence director for Lovill Hall, a 224-bed facility at Appalachian.
A student at Appalachian since 2006, she plans to graduate in May with a master of arts degree in college student development and a concentration in student affairs.
Cetera earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in April 2006 from the University of North Florida. Her three years as a resident assistant at UNF convinced Cetera to pursue a career in student affairs.
“My supervisor (at UNF) told me that there was a career called student affairs and that I could do this forever,” Cetera said. “I knew that the next step for me would be a graduate program where I could become a residence director and supervise resident assistants.”
A visit to Appalachian convinced her that the university was where she wanted to pursue her graduate degree.
“When I was on campus, and from the interactions with the people, I knew that this was right for me,” Cetera said. “It really was a good choice for me to make.”
Cetera oversees the daily operations of Lovill Hall and supervises five resident assistants (RAs). Together, they help students make the transition to college during their first years on campus through a variety of programming and activities developed for the students.
Last year, Cetera helped her staff in Belk Hall plan a number of programs designed to create a sense of community in her building. These included Body Image Week – a week to promote positive self image and self awareness for residents in her all-female building. She also presented a breast cancer awareness program, led Homecoming weekend activities for her residents and organized a Mother/Daughter Weekend in which the women in her residence hall invited their mothers to attend activities together for a weekend at the university.
Cetera also volunteered to co-teach a course for new resident assistants, and she advises Lovill Hall’s Resident Student Association.
“In her position as a residence director, Jackie has been a model for others to follow,” wrote Jeff Doyle, director of residence life at Appalachian. “She is determined to serve her students and provide them with a quality experience while living on campus. In her second year as a graduate residence director, it is apparent that our new staff members look to Jackie and consult with her as they learn how to do their jobs,” Doyle wrote.
“I like to get my hands into a lot of different things to get as much experience as I can while I am here,” Cetera said. “I absolutely love what I do. Even though there are set administrative duties, every day is a little bit different. You never know what problems or issues will occur, and you never know when you can really make somebody’s day and make them smile,” she said.