Staff profiles: Mary Phillips
Mary Phillips says the best part about her job is her interactions with students.
Phillips is one of four area coordinators in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions. In this role, she works with intercultural aides who help students living in residence halls make successful social, cultural and academic transitions at MSU.
“(The intercultural aides are) really there to help students navigate the university,” she said. “They know a wealth of information, a ton of resources, and so they are that link, they are that resource, for those students in the hall.”
The coordinators work with aides — who are undergraduate students — in a different neighborhood each year. Phillips will oversee Brody Neighborhood in the fall.
Phillips also advises two major student organizations: Black Student Alliance and the African American Celebratory, which organizes an annual celebration to honor graduating students and their academic achievements.
“I have an open-door policy, and so students come in and out of my office all the time,” she said. “I’m supervising the cultural aides that I’m responsible for in my particular area. That involves numerous things like going to meetings and meeting one-on-one with students, as well as the organizations that I advise — attending those student meetings, helping students plan whatever programs they need.”
Phillips is now working with the Maximizing Academic Growth in College Student Transition Program, a week-long summer program for incoming students. The program teaches students how to navigate MSU’s resources and offers them an opportunity to meet other incoming students through a number of activities and workshops.
MAGIC will be held July 10-15 and July 17-22 this year. Phillips will be teaching a writing workshop, as well as workshops about difference and cultural awareness.
“We talk about time management, we talk about how to balance your classes, we talk about life outside of just the coursework,” she said. “We talk about stuff like that to help their transition go as smoothly as possible.”