College Student Affairs students attend NASPA


By Abby Stoudt, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Each year the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) holds its annual conference offering professional development, education, and networking events for thousands of attendees who work in student affairs. This year, three Bloomsburg University second-year students from the College Student Affairs program, Nellie Forker, Rachel Shaffer, and Ashley Beam, attended the conference in Baltimore with faculty advisor Mindy Andino.

The annual NASPA conference holds hundreds of sessions where attendees can learn about every aspect of the field from how to work with non-traditional, or contemporary students, to diversity, equity, inclusion, and even TikTok.

“The NASPA national conference lets us, as student affairs practitioners, see what trends are up and coming within this field, learn new skills, and refine others as well as networking or even catch up with friends,” said Forker.

Several BU attendees were able to present their own sessions. Forker presented alongside Dr. Andino and her peer Jeri Fries on the universal design of inclusion. “It’s the idea that everyone should have access to the accommodations that they need,” explained Forker.

Shaffer presented along with Dr. Andino and her peer William Turner, a graduate student at BU, as well. They spoke about university and college mergers.

“Our presentation was called ‘The Good, Bad, and Ugly of a University/College Merger,’” said Shaffer, “It was a smaller session, so we were able to talk with the audience about their experiences with college integrations. It has been more than a little stressful the last few years as a staff member here, so the reassurance that other campuses are experiencing similar struggles was nice.”

In addition to professional development and education, the NASPA conference is also a valuable opportunity for those in student affairs to network and meet other people in the same field.

“My favorite part of the conference was being able to walk up to someone I had never met before and felt comfortable starting up a conversation with them,” said Beam. “I even made a connection with someone who works at UPenn while we were both coloring. These informal connections really stood out to me the most at the conference.”

With the end of the semester approaching, BU’s college student affairs students are working on their plans for after graduation. Shaffer plans to stay at BU, where she already has a full-time job as a Success Specialist.

“I want to stay here to continue to develop and improve our success program,” said Shaffer.

Forker plans to work in a Greek life office.

“After being an alumnus of a sorority and working with a fraternity for the past year, I’m just drawn to working with Greek organizations.” Beam is planning to work in student orientation, activities, or residence life. “I discovered that my calling in the profession is working directly with students,” said Beam.