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Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Ottino '15

stephanie ottino

MEd Higher Education Leadership


Cherry Hill, NJ

Current Position
Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Widener University


My Widener Experience

why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree in student affairs leadership at widener?

My undergraduate advisor informed me that if I wanted to work in higher education, as I mentioned I was interested in doing, that I should get my master’s degree in higher education administration. I was not aware that such a master’s degree existed. After I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I worked in business for over three years. However, during the end of my first year working in business, I knew in fact that I wanted to take the step of getting my master’s degree, so I could transition to a career in higher education.

what made you choose widener?

I chose Widener for a number of reasons, the first being the small size of the institution. My undergraduate institution was a large state university, and I felt that I would be the most successful in a graduate program of a smaller size. I also immediately connected with the faculty members when I met them at the open house. They were very excited to sit and answer my long list of questions and even went as far as connecting me with current students who could answer my questions even further. If faculty were going out of their way for a prospective student, I knew that my experience in the classroom would be transformative. When I spoke to current students in the program, they had nothing but positive comments about their experience. In the end, Widener just made sense.

My Professional Experience

what advice would you give a prospective student considering your graduate program?

My advice would be to make sure you are doing the research upfront about your different options and be sure to make the right decision for you. I know that I made the right decision. Once you are here, take advantage of every opportunity. Do research, study abroad, network with your classmates, and attend student organization events.

what do you like most about your current position?

I love that I set a goal for myself and accomplished it. I was working in business, decided that I needed a change, and here I am. I especially like that I was able to remain an active part of the Widener University community. I have the privilege of being a part of all aspects of higher education administration in my current role which helps provide a better overarching understanding of the university. Not to mention, I will have had experience in a number of various avenues that will make me successful wherever my career proceeds in the future.