Kelley Adams Lips 02Ox 04C graduated from Oxford College, then Emory College, and now she works in the admission office at Oxford helping her alma mater recruit the next generation of Emory alumni ... students who will follow in her footsteps.
EAA Communications Coordinator Drew Dotson caught up with her and they discussed Lips' job, what makes Emory special and how she got to live in an pro-Emory household.
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DD: You’re an assistant dean of admission at Oxford. What are your primary responsibilities?
KAL: I began working at Oxford in 2004 upon graduating from Emory. I knew I wanted to pursue graduate school, but was not sure in what area. I interviewed for the position at Oxford and had originally planned to stay for two years before pursuing graduate school full-time. After my two years as an admission adviser passed, I was not ready to leave and, instead, began graduate school part-time. Seven years from when I began, I am still here and love my job more now than ever! Currently my primary responsibilities in the office are coordinating travel for recruitment purposes, staff development and new training, overseeing the application review process, and working with our Alumni Admission Network and Parent Recruitment Network.
DD: You graduated from Oxford in 2002. Is Oxford different now from the Oxford you remember?
KAL: The main difference is the new residence hall, East Village; I wish I could have lived there! Another difference is the emphasis on sustainability. East Village has some impressive features to reduce and reuse energy. We also have a community garden here at Oxford and the dining hall receives much of the food from local farmers. I think it is wonderful that students are more aware of the impact we have on our environment. Oxford continues to be a place where students grow and transform. There was always an emphasis on learning experiences outside of the classroom, but that has only increased with programs like the Pierce Institute, which emphasizes community engagement, leadership, and global engagement.
DD: When you continued to Emory College, what were some of the biggest adjustments you had to make?
KAL: When I continued to Emory, I immediately found new ways to be involved and joined the crew team. My biggest adjustment was waking up at 5:00 a.m. every morning for practice! Otherwise my transition was a smooth and positive experience. The experiences were different in many ways, but one wasn’t necessarily better than the other. I am really glad I was able to start my Emory education at Oxford.
DD: What makes the Oxford experience distinctive?
KAL: At the risk of sounding cliché, the community at Oxford isn’t like any other I have experienced. It has a friendly and inviting aura. Oxford was academically challenging, but I always felt supported and that the faculty truly cared about my success. I also liked the feeling of walking across campus and being surrounded by familiar faces.
DD: What is your favorite thing about your job?
KAL: My favorite things about my job are the same characteristics I enjoyed when I was a student. I am very much a part of a community and appreciate that connection I have with others. I work with wonderful people who are truly invested in me as a person, just like the faculty and staff were when I was a student. I also appreciate the opportunities I have to grow professionally and personally here at Oxford. Lastly, the students are a huge factor in my job satisfaction. Often I recruit them at their high schools and then see them all the way to graduation. It is amazing to think that, in a small way, I had a part in their decision to come to Oxford. I still keep in touch with many students who I met my first year here in 2004.
DD: What's been the biggest surprise about your job?
KAL: I met my husband, Erik, through my job. Erik currently works in the Office of Financial Aid at Emory, but up until a few months ago worked in the Admission Office. He came to Oxford for a meeting during my second year and we met for the first time. We didn’t talk again for almost a year, but eventually we began dating and then he proposed in the Chapel here at Oxford. Another big surprise was that we were able to use our hotel points accumulated from traveling for recruitment to stay in Aruba for 12 days for our honeymoon. Needless to say, we have a very pro-Emory household.