Creating a welcoming vibe
Marcus Ross is coming to JCCC because “I immediately felt the vibe of belonging,” he said. It’s tough to do in school this size – unless you have two or three competent “vibe-makers.”
Casey Wallace, campus visit coordinator, and Mysti Byrd-Meiers, recruitment specialist, are responsible for student recruitment, but they also bring something else to the college, something hard to explain.
Maybe it’s the care they take with potential students of JCCC.
They can talk to hundreds of teenagers a week and yet still remember names. They meet students in their offices, in fast-food restaurants, in mall food courts and even (gasp!) accompanied by parents.
“The best part of our jobs is meeting with students,” Byrd-Meiers said. “We believe in Johnson County Community College, and we share with them why we think JCCC could be the best choice for them.”
Ross is the first person in his family to attend college, he said, so he needed direction. He met Wallace when she visited his high school, and he kept emailing her throughout the year, asking for advice.
Wallace was happy to help.
“We answer probably 20 to 40 emails a week, and that’s just the beginning,” she said. “There’s phone calls, drop-ins who need questions answered, campus tours to give, but we believe in what we’re doing here.”
Suleima Diaz chose to attend JCCC for the fall semester of 2012 in part because of the welcoming feeling she felt from Wallace.
“Casey was great,” she said. “She always took time to assist me the best way she could, and she helped me a lot with my financial aid forms. She was always there to answer my questions.”
Kennedy Lentz, who decided to delay her education for a while, nonetheless was happy Byrd-Meiers took such an interest in her.
“I was really intrigued by Mysti’s friendly attitude, which made her definitely easier to talk to,” Lenz said.
In the 2011-12 academic year, Wallace and Byrd-Meiers reached out to more than 15,000 students by either phone calls, emails, direct mailings or face-to-face meetings.
Melisa Jimenez, diversity recruiter, will be recruiting students in Sedgwick, Shawnee, Lyon and Wyandotte counties in Kansas in addition to high schools in Kansas City, Mo. She will be recruiting students in Sedgwick, Shawnee, Lyon and Wyandotte counties in Kansas in addition to high schools in Kansas City, Mo.Contact Casey Wallace at 913-469-8500 ext. 4398 or email. Contact Mysti Byrd-Meiers at ext. 4276 or email. Reach Melisa Jimenez at ext. 2304 or email.