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Benita Allen, a 1998 graduate from UW-Superior, is now putting her education to work as the Dean of Students at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Ashland, WI. Graduating with a Master of Science Degree in Education and a minor in Guidance and Counseling, Allen was eager to pursue her interests. Being the go-getter that she was, Allen took the opportunity to enroll in any classes that sparked her interest. She was also a member of the university's Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society.
Allen's calling has always been to help other people and to make their lives successful. Before she pursued her career as the Dean of Students, she worked as a counselor and a mental health therapist. The skills she developed in these jobs allowed her to further her career and take a different approach to making a difference for others. When asked about what attracted her to her newest profession as the Dean of Students, Allen commented, "I enjoy working in higher education and I was interested in making a difference in the lives of students by finding ways to promote and enhance their success."
Although she aspired to make a positive impact on the lives of others, making it into her current position was no easy task. Even meeting the job qualifications posed a significant challenge. Not only was a master's degree and multiple years of field experience required, but there was also the need for someone who could work well with students through skills in leadership and creativity, as well as someone who could prove their abilities to plan, manage, and supervise. Being the organized and dedicated individual she was, Allen was up for the challenge. She stepped up to the plate and took on the multiple responsibilities required for the job, balancing everything efficiently.
While it took a lot of work for Allen to get the position, she knew that the expectations while she was on the job were not going to get any easier. As the Dean of Students, Allen is responsible for leading the college in providing support services for students. Every day she works with a variety of people, from students and faculty, to other deans and administrators.
Allen has held her current job for three years, which has allowed her to become familiar with the position and everything it entails. However, she is still looking to advance her career and take on a higher leadership role. In order to do this, Allen is prepared to further her education by obtaining her doctoral degree. For anyone who is looking to pursue a similar career, Allen feels that in order to even receive consideration from an employer, a master's or doctoral degree is a necessity.
A valued piece of advice Allen was given was from one of her supervisors. She was told to be true to herself, since the decisions she makes will be influenced by the things she values. She feels that this advice certainly has helped her in her career, and it has allowed her to remain ethical while making decisions. As for her own words of guidance, she advises students to make the most of any experiences that come their way. She also encourages people not to just settle into what is easy for them. She recommends that "when you feel you need more of a challenge, find one, and take it."
Benita Allen was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. Her full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/a-day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Tashina Martinson on April 10, 2012. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.
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