Senior Assistant Director of
Whether it's helping the student leaders of Boiler Gold Rush find their passion or keeping up-to-date with students in the news, Kasi Jones loves seeing young people succeed.
Jones, senior assistant director of Student Access, Transition and Success and coordinator of orientation, takes every opportunity to learn about others and turn Purdue's large campus into a small one.
How did you become interested in student services?
As an undergraduate at University of Central Arkansas, I was involved with the Student Activities Board, Public Relations Student Society of America and Alpha Sigma Alpha. These activities are what got me interested in higher education. I went to graduate school part time for college student personnel and administration while working full time in admissions recruiting, which is an entirely different area of student services than what I do now.
How did you end up in your current job at Purdue?
I was looking for a change, so I stepped out of my box and applied for this position. I knew I wanted to go to a larger institution for more opportunities, and I wanted to be in the North. The Midwest and the North are basically the same thing to me, so here I am.
I wanted to do something where I could work closely with students. With recruiting you get the students to the school, but then you're done. With a program like BGR, I am able to be involved in leadership development with current students and give new students the resources to be successful.
I absolutely never imagined myself living in Indiana, but I've been here for three years and love every minute of it.
What role do you play in Boiler Gold Rush?
I am the coordinator of BGR. Corey Thoss is the assistant director, and we form a leadership development program for our current students who will then, of course, run BGR.
I make sure we stay on budget and set up collaborations and sponsorships on campus and in the community.
I hate to say BGR is an easy week, but all the hard work is done, and we are able to watch the student leaders put into action what they've learned.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love working with our student leaders and watching them develop into more confident and poised students. It is great to see them have a passion for something and run with it.
When does planning start for BGR?
This weeklong event takes all year to plan. Typically, the Thursday of BGR week is our Student Orientation Committee callout for the following year. There really is no downtime. Our planning for next year starts the same day our structured programming for this year is complete.
Orientation isn't completely over after BGR, though. We have fall and winter welcomes at the beginning of each semester for students who couldn't attend BGR and an athletic orientation for new athletes who are already in season.
What else are you involved in at Purdue and in the community?
I'm the director of the Miss Purdue Pageant and a Faculty Fellow for Earhart Hall. I'm on the Leadership Lafayette Curriculum Committee and a part of Tippy Connect young professional network. I like to attend our student leader events like Purdue Dance Marathon, club team gymnastics meets and wrestling matches.