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      New Chief of Staff

      Get to Know Dr. Katie Herschede in the Office of the President

      Emma Irving, English '18

      Dr. Katie Herschede

      Dr. Katie Herschede

      Chief of Staff, Office of the President

      It's been a busy few weeks for Dr. Katie Herschede, the new chief of staff in the Office of the President appointed just after the start of the school year. This Kentucky native agreed to sit down with me to discuss her journey to this position and why she's already proud to be a part of the Pride. As a student, I was especially interested in learning about how she plans to involve herself in daily campus life as she works directly with the president to make significant decisions about university policy.

      Give me an overview of your job— what is your involvement in the big picture and your day-to-day activities?

      So my title is chief of staff, and at the most general level that means my job is to help President Wollman implement her goals and the university’s goals and strategies. This job can be a little like being a train conductor, just helping to open up channels of communication. I can hear great things happening on campus and share those with the president, and I can hear some of the things the president is interested in and give people a heads up.

      I’ve been here two and a half weeks now, and I’ve attended a couple of student events already, which have been awesome. I went to the School of Engineering’s spaghetti challenge and to an event sponsored by the sorority and fraternity councils. I’ve also attended a volleyball game and a football game, and it was great to cheer on the Pride and to see our student athletes in action. The best part of my job by far is the opportunity to work with students, so I’m looking forward to meeting many, many more students and going to their events and being a great resource for them.

      What are some of your best memories as an undergraduate at Northern Kentucky University?

      I loved college! I was president of the student government association for two years, so that meant I was on the Board of Regents for two years as well. I was president of my sorority; I was involved in the leadership organization; I was involved in the programming organization; I was a presidential ambassador; I worked on campus in admissions; and I was homecoming queen. And, so like a lot of involved students, I thought, 'Wow, this college thing is pretty great. I wonder if I can make a go of this for a career?!'

      How did you find yourself in Southeast Pennsylvania?

      I came to Widener because I have a number of friends who have graduated from here, so it was not a new institution to me. The two big things that attracted me in addition to knowing people who had had great experiences here were the focus on civic engagement and the focus on leadership.

      Speaking of leadership, who is your favorite historical leader?

      I’ve always been fascinated with Eleanor Roosevelt, as she really took on a pretty significant role within her husband’s administration. Our world was in a dark place, and as the role of women in the workforce was dramatically different, the idea that the president’s wife might have some policy ideas of her own was probably not that popular at the time, but that did not stop her.

      Finally, on your journey to this executive position, what's the best piece of advice you've received?

      Don’t be afraid to take a risk, especially when you’re at a place in life when you have some flexibility and you can do something new and different and fun. I think that any time you do something new, whether it’s going to college, it’s your first job, it’s your ninth job, when you’re doing something new, it’s a rush. So, just take a risk because most times, it’s really worth it.


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