Introducing – Rachel

By Rachel Luna

"My story is important not because it is mine... but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is yours.” - Frederick Buechner

“My story is important not because it is mine… but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is yours.” – Frederick Buechner

Before discovering student affairs, I was a print newspaper journalist: I conducted interviews with a pen and notepad, consistently had ink smears on my fingers, and loved the smell of newsprint in the morning.  Nowadays, you can usually find me smartphone in hand, somewhere with wifi or 4G reception, and a battery charger (with extension cord) in my bag.

The technologies may have changed, but the connections haven’t.  By turning the pages of the newspaper, I met new people, discovered innovative ideas, and kept abreast of current trends – just like I do now by clicking through screens on my phone or computer.  Through engaging with other people’s blogs, tweets, and posts, I seek to understand who they are, and in doing so, can better understand who I am.  In this way, I most appreciate technology as a tool for community building.

Rachel typing on a smartphoneAs a new blogger, I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to learn with and from this community.  I particularly enjoy exploring tech’s relationship with accessibility, inclusion, and universal design, and am excited to engage in these conversations in this space.  I’m also interested in connecting with folks around multiraciality (shout out to ACPA’s Multiracial Network!), sports (curling, anyone?), and penguins (of all shapes and sizes).

Currently,  I spend my days at University of the Pacific’s Center for Community Involvement supporting folks in their social justice journeys, leadership development, and community engagement.  In June, I’ll be Student Services Coordinator for Samuel Merritt University – San Francisco Peninsula Learning Center.  You can follow me on Twitter @RachelHLuna.  I look forward to connecting!

Introducing – Rachel

New Blogger – Julia Golden

In 1992 my father brought home a delicate contraption. It was grey, bulky, and when this machine

Julia Golden

turned on it sounded like it was coming alive or breathing heavy. It was the family’s first computer. I remember playing, “Manhole” by the developers who would go on to create, “Myst”. I remember forgetting about the tv, as I did not own video games yet, and I could only read so many, ‘Babysitter Club” books. At 8 years old I would sit in a desk chair far too big and tried to solve electronic puzzles or games for hours. I was hooked.
Eventually 1997 rolled on by and AOL enabled me to talk to other people around the world. My parents tried hard to prevent this, but their password was my grandma’s first name. I learned two things in that moment: Having a strong password is important and that the computer was going to evolve into something amazing.
Years later I can say that I love technology for so many reasons. I love it because it has allowed me to connect with others, to be creative with amazing programs and made my life efficient.
When I am not playing my PS3, blogging, tweeting, FBing it up, I am most likely at work where I am an Assistant Director of Residence LIfe at Simmons College. On the job technology and social media is key! When I’m not at work I am totally working out (shout out to #safit) or roaming around Boston. I look forward to posting on this blog further as I believe technology and higher education can go hand in hand.
New Blogger – Julia Golden

Introducing — Valerie

by Valerie Heruska


My name is Valerie Heruska and I am a computer, social media and technology geek. I’ve broken many computers and crashed hard drives, but like Humpty Dumpty, I put them back together again. This is the very reason that I am infatuated with spiffy new hardware. I love that the computer/iPad/gadgets have revolutionized everything we do, and are fortunate enough to have access to these wonderful technologies.

When I’m not breaking computers, I’m a Residence Hall Director at Boston University. I love my job and my students, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my time at work – having great conversations with students. I also enjoy figuring how to connect with students in the virtual world, since most of them are connected via their mobile devices and/or computers.

I love writing, blogging, and tweeting. You can find me on Twitter @valerieheruska. My current adventure is graphic design, which I am thoroughly enjoying the learning process. When I was given the opportunity to blog about student affairs +women+ technology, I jumped at the opportunity. I would like to thank Kristen for the opportunity and I would like to thank Gateway for making a computer that was easy to break and put back together.

Introducing — Valerie

Meet the Blogger: Lysa Salsbury

When I read Anitra’s post on January 17, I had to laugh. Technological late bloomer doesn’t even begin to cover the state of affairs here. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even sprouted yet. I am definitely technologically challenged, and I don’t even have the excuse of being proud to be so. Which is why I’m here: to learn, and to share some occasionally amusing and sometimes pitiful stories of my lack of technological prowess. But I like to write and have been told I do a sort of reasonable job at it, so bear with me for a few hopefully not-too-painful minutes.

I’m the Program Coordinator at the University of Idaho Women’s Center. Students are always strangely intrigued (read: appalled) when I tell them that not only was there no Internet when I was in college, but that I never touched a computer before buying an overpriced, second-hand Mac Plus in 1994 (9-inch monochrome display and 4 whole MB of RAM). I handwrote all my papers. And here’s the thing: I’m Not That Old (really).

Last semester, I started supervising the students who write for our blog. Through this experience, I’ve started to make tentative forays into the mysterious world of blogging, an enjoyable if somewhat intimidating experience for someone who still writes in a leather-bound journal that I keep by the side of my bed. I use Facebook avidly as a means of connecting with the students we serve, Twitter not-so-much-ly. I don’t have a smart phone, an iPad, or a Kindle. Heck, I don’t even have TV. I’ve never played Angry Birds and I don’t really know what Spotify is all about. But I am genuinely fascinated by the opportunities that social media provide for increased connection and dialogue. At the Women’s Center, we’ve found social media to be an invaluable way of reaching our constituents. On the flip side, though, we also regularly reach a number of folks who simply don’t want to be reached, and therein lies the source of my sometime discontent with technology. I can’t help but occasionally feel dismayed and discouraged by the breakdown of courteous discourse that these online discussion forums often encourage.

How do we as Student Affairs professionals using social media set the tone to promote learning and a genuinely constructive exchange of ideas? How do we encourage productive conversations and foster accountability and civility in (mostly anonymous) respondents without invoking censorship? And how do we deal with those who refuse to engage in a respectful exchange of opinions?

Answers on a postcard, please…

Meet the Blogger: Lysa Salsbury

Meet the Blogger: Anitra

By Anitra Cottledge

I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of a technological late bloomer. I’ve bought nearly every gadget of the last 10-15 years significantly later than other people I know: cell phone (let’s not even get into when I got a smartphone), desktop computers, digital camera, laptop computer, e-reader, etc. At the same time, I consider myself a really fast learner and a very tech-savvy woman. I’m also really interested in exploring technology as a topic: how it enhances and detracts from our lives, who has access to it and what kinds of access they/we have, and how the view of technology changes depending on who’s interacting with it. In other words, what does technology mean when seen through the lens of race, gender, and class (and other identities)?

For me, technology is connected to being a writer and avid reader, being a nerd, and being someone who loves information. I always say that if I wasn’t the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center at the University of Minnesota, or in some other women’s and gender equity-related position, I’d be a librarian. Or an intellectual property lawyer. Or a librarian. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Of course, being techy serves me well at my day job, too. One of the things I’m responsible for is managing our website, so learning HTML in the mid-90s has served me well. I was an early blogger, although I haven’t blogged in a long while. Despite occasionally thinking that some of social media is a bit sketch (yes, I mean you, Foursquare), I do see its value and love working with folks in my office to figure out how we, as an organization, can best utilize things like blogs, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about what we do and why it’s important.

Technology is even all over my bookshelf. Right now I’m reading Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education and Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. It evens finds its way into the fiction I’m reading: Soulless, which is all alternate history and steampunky.

So I have questions, as a student affairs practitioner, as a sometimes instructor, as a black woman, as someone who is fascinated and repulsed by the Twilight phenomenon: how does the digital divide manifest itself in the classroom? How can Women’s Centers best use social media? Wouldn’t the world be a sad and empty place without the Buffy vs. Edward video?

I’m looking forward to answering these and other burning technology-related questions and very glad to join the fabulous women bloggers here at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech!

Meet the Blogger: Anitra

Blog Updates

By Brenda Bethman

Spring brings not only sunshine and flowers (although we are mighty happy to see both in KC, where it seemed winter would never end), but also changes to Student Affairs Women Talk Tech. Thanks to increased responsibilities at work, grad school, and just plain busy-ness, Daria Graham has had to step down as a blogger. We will miss her and wish her well.

We are also pleased to welcome two new bloggers to the site: Jess Faulk and Kathryn Magura. Both bring a strong background in technology and student affairs, and will be great additions to our already strong team of bloggers. Please join us in welcoming Jess and Kathryn to the site. You can also follow them on Twitter or check out their other blogs, listed on the right sidebar.

Blog Updates

Meet the Blogger: Melissa

By Melissa Johnson

Hard at work at the age of 1

So I’m a little late to the game, but many thanks to Kristen and Brenda for letting me join in the tech blogging fun. I’ve been at the University of Florida for a decade now, starting with New Student Programs, and for the past six years with the University Honors Program. Although I’m no longer technically working in student affairs, you could say that I run my own little student affairs division within Honors. Academic advising, career development, student organization advising, leadership, program planning, first year experience, housing, you name it – I’m somehow involved with it in this position. My passion, however, remains with first year experience courses, an area of interest since I was an undergraduate peer leader for UNS 101 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro back in 1998. I’m very proud of our professional development program for first-year honors students.

Although we did not get a computer at home until I was a senior in high school, I had spent a lot of time on computers starting in elementary school where I was a champion at blasting alien spaceships by solving math problems. And when I was in the 3rd grade (we’re talking mid-1980’s here), my mom sent me off to computer camp at East Carolina University. I’m pretty sure my bio in the camp newsletter we created included something about singing and dancing to the Monkees. Clearly, I was a very cool kid in elementary school.

Fast forward to now, and I’m usually the go-to person in the office for technology initiatives. I manage our office social media accounts and incorporate technology as appropriate with other daily tasks and teaching. I’m pursuing my PhD in educational technology at UF, with a specific interest in instructional design and pedagogical uses of technology. I have been blogging off and on since about 2005, and I’ve been incorporating blogs into my teaching for just as long. Our latest classroom adventure in blogging is the Swamp Survival Blog where my sophomore professional development students blog about first-year student success.

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on technology and student affairs! You can find me on Twitter.

Meet the Blogger: Melissa