Category Archives: Staff Spotlight

Meet the 2020-2021 University Housing Marketing Intern – Lydia Shaloka

My name is Lydia Shaloka, and I was the marketing intern for University Housing & Conference Services from May 2020 to May 2021. Being the marketing intern helped me learn more about the department and all of the work that goes into making the residence halls as incredible as they are. I gained valuable experience creating marketing content, analyzing marketing data, and working with others from my department, outside of my department, and even outside of MU. I am so grateful for this experience and believe it has helped me grow both professionally and personally.

What did you learn about marketing and blogging?

This internship provided me with the opportunity to apply what I was learning in my marketing courses in real-world scenarios and gain a lot of new knowledge about marketing as well. I learned much more about how to use social media sites like Instagram and Twitter for marketing purposes. Additionally, I gained valuable experience using Google Analytics to analyze marketing data and understand how it can be used to improve the effectiveness of our marketing efforts. I also learned how important effective marketing is, particularly in the higher education field.

The changes and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic meant the University Housing department needed to be able to quickly communicate important information to both current and incoming students and their parents. I learned how to communicate this information by creating quality content that delivered a consistent message across all platforms. Housing’s marketing efforts have helped keep the Millersville University community safe throughout this pandemic, and I was honored to be a part of those efforts.

Prior to this internship, I had very little blogging experience. I learned so much about how to create quality blog posts and how to maintain a WordPress blog site. I also learned that blogs can be a very beneficial marketing tool.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I really enjoy graphic design! I created graphics for our social media sites and the blog using Canva, a graphic design software. I also designed flyers that were hung in the residence halls and small cards that were distributed to students. I really enjoyed getting the chance to be creative and coming up with concepts for different marketing materials.

What is your favorite blog post that you wrote?

I liked writing blog posts that were creative and entertaining to read but that were also informative. One of my favorites is The ABC’s of Millersville University.  I went through the alphabet and wrote something about Millersville that started with each letter. Finding something for X and Z were tricky but I made it work! I also really liked writing the post, True or False: How Much Do You Know About Millersville’s History? I liked writing this post because I learned some fun facts about Millersville in the process.

I also liked one of my more informative posts, Should You Declare a Minor? I felt like this post contained useful information and doing research for it also helped me when I was deciding whether or not I should declare a minor. Another informative post I really enjoyed writing was What I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year. This post gave me the chance to reflect on my freshman year at Millersville and hopefully help other incoming freshman know what to expect.

What was your most memorable project?

My most memorable project was coming up with various events to hold in anticipation of room selection. We hosted Among Us games, Bingo, Jeopardy, and more. We gave away various prizes to students who participated in the events. I enjoyed this project because I got to collaborate with some amazing members of the Housing team for it and saw firsthand how we were able to host engaging and fun events virtually. Plus, who doesn’t love giveaways?

What are your plans for the future?

I am going to be working as a Marketing Specialist for Freedom Mortgage. I hope to continuing blogging on my personal blog site and mainly write about the things I’m passionate about, such as marketing and food.

University Housing and Conference Services Staff Spotlight: Gabby Vaxmonsky

Millersville’s Department of University Housing and Conference Services is proud to showcase our staff and all of the incredible work they do to make the residence halls at Millersville safe and a great environment for students to live and learn in. This week’s staff spotlight pick is graduate assistant Gabby Vaxmonsky. Continue reading to learn more about Gabby, what she loves about being a graduate assistant in South Village, and her advice to students.

Q: What made you want to become a Graduate Assistant (GA)?

Gabby: I’m originally from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area of PA so coming to grad school, I knew no one and I wanted a way to not only feel more connected to the University but also build stronger connections to fellow students. I felt becoming a GA would provide that opportunity and what better way than working with a team of students and professional staff members like that in Housing!

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of being a GA?

Gabby: By far the most rewarding part has been building connections and friendships with my fellow team members in South Village. Especially this past year, I think we have all been able to lean on and support each other through these challenging times. Building those connections and being able to learn and grow together has been both rewarding and also something I am extremely grateful for.

Q: How have you been handling everything caused by COVID-19?

Gabby: I have been leaning on my friends and family, but also my teammates in Housing. We are working in-person within the safety guidelines of COVID-19 so having others around that know what that is like can be beneficial if you need someone to talk too. I have also been remembering to be kind to myself and give myself/others grace when it comes to certain things. I keep myself accountable but also don’t beat myself up if I don’t get to something in a day. It is important to remember that we are all just doing the best we can with what we have.

Q: Do you have any tips for succeeding academically given the various changes?

Gabby: Most important is your mental health. If you aren’t taking care of that, and your basic needs, you won’t be able to be successful academically. Reach out early if you know you are starting to struggle and communicate that with your professors. They are more likely to be able to help if they know of concerns sooner rather than later. Also, even though the University is predominately virtual, there are still a wealth of academic and mental health resources available. As a plug for our amazing RA’s, they can connect you with any number of those resources.

Q: Why should students consider working as a Resident Assistant (RA) or GA in the residence halls?

Gabby: You will gain a rewarding experience and long-lasting relationships that will follow you into your career. Coming into Housing I wasn’t sure what to expect because it’s a new experience for me. I am constantly surprised with how much I learn with my GA that transfers over to my area of study, School Psychology. Additionally, you will gain and develop valuable skills that carry over into any career path, such as leadership, flexibility, responsibility, and time-management.

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Lydia Shaloka is a senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing at Millersville University. Her interests include digital marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing.  When she graduates in May 2021, Lydia hopes to work for a digital marketing agency either in or near her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

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Housing & Residential Programs Staff Spotlight: Hannah Stoner

Millersville’s Housing and Residential Programs is proud to showcase our staff and all of the incredible work they do to make the residence halls at Millersville safe and a great environment for students to live and learn in. This week’s staff spotlight pick is graduate assistant Hannah Stoner. Continue reading to learn more about Hannah, her tips for managing schoolwork, and what led her to become a graduate assistant!

What made you want to become a Graduate Assistant (GA)?

Hannah: I wanted to become a GA because I love working with students and want to do anything I can to allow them to feel at home here at Millersville!

What has been the most rewarding part of being a GA?

Hannah: The most rewarding part of being a GA has been building a close-knit family with my Desk Attendant and Resident Assistant staff.

How have you been handling everything caused by COVID-19?

Hannah: This is a chaotic and difficult time in the world, but I am hanging in there and doing what I can to stay safe during COVID-19. I have been spending my time cooking, playing Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch, and hiking during quarantine!

Do you have any tips for succeeding academically given the various changes?

Hannah: I know that it can be hard to focus on schoolwork when there is so much uncertainty in our country right now. I would recommend putting aside time to study and do homework away from distractions. Make sure that you are taking breaks and spending time outside or being active!

Do you have any advice for residents regarding how to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 this fall?

Hannah: Remember to wear your mask and continue to social distance in order to keep yourself and others safe!

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Housing & Residential Programs Staff Spotlight: Will Halko

Millersville’s Housing and Residential Programs is proud to showcase our staff and all of the incredible work they do to make the residence halls at Millersville safe and a great environment for students to live and learn in. This week’s staff spotlight pick is graduate assistant Will Halko. Continue reading to learn more about Will, what he loves about being a graduate assistant of west village, and his advice for students.

What made you want to become a Graduate Assistant (GA)?

Will: Honestly, the fact that it seemed so out of my realm! My whole life I had worked with children, behavior, and psychology – after a few years of doing that I realized I wanted a complete change-up, so I applied to work in housing. My goal in any job is to make people’s lives a little better in any way I can, and it makes me happy that I get to do that in the residence halls. If the people around me feel supported, then I’m doing my job.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a GA?

Will: That’s a tough question because there really is a lot. Overall, I’d say my favorite part of the experience is getting to learn and grow alongside my co-workers. I’ve learned so much from the great people that I work with and I think we have a really great network of support for each other. I love when my coworkers and I can guide each other through new or difficult situations. Everyone is so eager to lend a hand and it’s really refreshing!

How have you been handling everything caused by COVID-19?

Will: Day by day. A lot of things nowadays seem pretty far out of our hands, which can be overwhelming. Right now I’m staying grounded by leaning into things that I have control over and showing gratitude whenever it’s possible. My two friends and I have been watching horror movies outside on Friday nights or taking morning hikes on weekends. So staying social when it’s possible has been super important to me, I just usually have to improvise.

Do you have any tips for succeeding academically given the various changes?

Will: I think staying confident and motivated are the most challenging but useful things you can do right now. Confidence and motivation go hand in hand sometimes. Like, if you think that your effort isn’t going to pay off, it’s way more tempting to accept defeat. Be forgiving to yourself, but know that you are smart and capable – pandemic or no pandemic.

Do you have any advice for residents regarding how to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 this Fall?

Will: Do the easy stuff right: wash your hands, cover your mouth, you know! Are you going to stop every cause of COVID-19 by doing these things? Probably not! But if you keep a person or two from getting sick, missing school, or generally stressing out – then wasn’t the small effort worth it? Also, mental health care is always important, but especially right now. Show yourself and your neighbors a little extra love during these times, we all can use it.

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