Meet Jansen Rouillard educational leadership master’s student
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Media Contact: Katie Lacey | Communications Specialist | 405-744-9347 | email@example.com
Jansen Rouillard, an Oklahoma State University educational leadership master’s student, is passionate about college students. Rouillard’s goal is to make a positive impact on first-year students through valuing students' voices and empowering individuals. By focusing on effective leadership and promoting diversity and inclusion, Rouillard hopes to impact students the way professionals impacted him as a student.
Why did you choose to study at Oklahoma State University?
Choosing to study at Oklahoma State University was all about coming home. My father is an alumnus of OSU. Growing up, it felt like we were always coming to campus for football games, homecoming or to eat at Hideaway Pizza. When the time came to make a choice for graduate school, it was an easy decision because of how much the legacy of OSU means to me and my family. I have always felt a sense of tangible community spirit at OSU, and I wanted the opportunity to give back and participate in my community.
What are some highlights from your internship?
Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the University of Georgia in Athens to work in the New Student Orientation Program. This experience was a novel one in every way. I had the opportunity to guide and facilitate the transition experience of over 7,000 first-year students, expand the reach of our efforts through social media and pour into some of the best and brightest student orientation leaders that UGA had to offer. This experience was one of the highlights of my time in student affairs.
What is your favorite part about working with first-year students?
I have really enjoyed challenging myself personally and professionally through efforts to promote a positive and sustainable transition experience for first-year students. In my current role as a graduate assistant at OSU, I have had the opportunity to develop and shape the transition and first-year experiences of students from a variety of backgrounds and places. I have supplemented these students with lessons learned from my internship with New Student Orientation at UGA. I have observed how an effective transition experience can provide valuable opportunities for first-year students to create a sense of community, cultivate collaboration across differences, hone their identity and values, and exercise their passions.
Why did you choose educational leadership?
I have always felt at home on college campuses, so the opportunity to pursue an education that can “make college a career” has been really fruitful and exciting for me. When I think back to my most formative learning experiences, all of them happened in college, and all were guided by empowering, insightful professionals who helped me to make meaning of my experiences. I want to be that kind of professional for all students. However, I also want to be a part of the movement that is driving our profession forward and asking the types of questions that haven’t been asked before. While there is certainly a learning curve to this work, I have enjoyed what I have learned so far and look forward to continuing to expand my knowledge and experiences.
What advice would you give a student considering pursuing educational leadership as a career?
I would advise students to lean into their experiences outside of the formal academic space. While I have learned a lot from the engaging conversations within the classes I have taken, the most valuable learning experiences have occurred within my assistantship or internships. I have realized that these experiences are really what is valuable to potential employers, and being able to make connections between your experiences and what is needed by an employer.
Can you share how you plan on making an impact in educational leadership after graduation?
In coming to understand more about the profession and practices of educational leadership, I have come to recognize the responsibility I have as an aspiring professional to turn up the volume on student voices. While I have been learning how to ask questions and potentially offer feedback, I must focus my energy on listening to the answers that students give me. When student voices are properly valued, students develop a sense of agency and are better able to articulate what they want out of their college experience. In turn, this empowers them to think more transformatively about their college experience, where they are able to take a zoomed-out view of their development and make connections across experiences, relationships, and/values.
I’ve also learned that effective leadership in education that centers on student experience can enable students to acknowledge that there is space for diverse experiences, to approach their own experience through the lens of inclusion and equity and to regard themselves as individuals in community. As an aspiring student affairs professional, I believe that it is vital that we engage with students as partners and cultivate an ability to turn up the volume on student voices in their college experiences.
Story By: Sierra Walter | firstname.lastname@example.org