A Q&A with Kellen Smith, Coordinator of Academic Success and Retention Programs
What was your first job at Montclair State?
I came to Montclair in March 2010 as the Assistant Director of Student Financial Aid. I handled all of the special populations and student outreach. Before coming here, I worked at Seton Hall University as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Social Media Coordinator.
How long have you held your current position?
I’ve been Coordinator of Academic Success and Retention Programs since November 2013.
What does your job involve?
I have two adult cohorts. The first is students in the Adult Learning Program. These students are older than 25 who are coming to the University to obtain their undergraduate degrees.
My second group is made up of Older Adult Students, who are over 65 years old, who come to Montclair State either to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree or attend classes for enrichment.
I am the secondary advisor for both groups. I run their orientations, register them for classes and assist them in picking classes and with general advising throughout their time here.
How large is the University’s adult learning population?
It’s around 256 students. Every semester, we enroll an additional 40 to 45 students into the Older Adult program.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
It’s definitely assisting students to work towards completing a lifelong goal of a college degree.
You’re a fan of Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh.” Why?
I like Tigger because he doesn’t allow anyone else’s opinion of what he “should” be doing affect him. He just does what feels good to him. He has a soft spot for helping Eeyore, he really likes teaching Roo and he never tries to change Pooh.
Do you have any pets?
I have a pet red-eared slider turtle named Peek-A-Boo. I also have a calico cat named Nalaa.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a big reader. I love fantasy books like the Harry Potter series and A Song of Ice and Fire from the Game of Thrones collection. I average two books a month! I love fiction – the last book I read was Gone Girl.
I also like really bad Syfy movies, especially if they have old 80s musicians in them! Mega Python vs. Gatoroid with Debbie Gibson and Tiffany come to mind.
I paint and write poetry. My husband and I just started a record collection of mostly oldies like Earth, Wind and Fire and Patti LaBelle. Right now, we’re looking for jazz albums.
Do you have a favorite TV show?
I like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Being Human and True Blood.
How did you spend your most recent vacation?
I went to Jamaica for a wedding of two of my college friends. It was a mini reunion and a lot of fun!