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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Staff spotlight: Getting to know Pam Allen Ambler

The Emory Alumni Association likes to highlight faculty, staff and administration that help make Emory the thriving community it is.

Pam Allen Ambler, Senior Admission Counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, is one such person here at Emory. Here's a bit of insight into what she does:

You're a Senior Admission Counselor at Emory College. What are your primary responsibilities?

As a senior admission counselor, I lead information sessions, speak at high school parent nights, mentor new counselors, and maintain membership with a few professional organizations. In addition, I am a member of the Admission Committee, and I collaborate with the Emory Alumni Association.

How did you first become interested in admissions?

I’ve been interested in admission (as a necessary next step to college and as a profession) since my senior year of high school. I had an amazing college counselor who is still a mentor to me today. I enjoy meeting with people, and I love to feel as though my contributions and insights impact people’s lives. A career in admissions helped me satisfy these desires.

How long have you held this position and what positions have you held prior to your current one?

I have worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admission for just over five years. When I began, I helped plan our open house programs. In five years, these programs have taken on a great, new shape. I currently arrange several counselor programs, and I assist with numerous admissions-related alumni projects. Prior to my career on this campus, I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. My experiences in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate shaped the person I am today, and they will stay with me forever.

What is your favorite aspect about your job?

I take pleasure in explaining the application review process to prospective students and parents. Applicants always seem to leave this campus feeling refreshed and renewed because our visit experience is more authentic than many of our peer institutions' tours and information sessions. My favorite month in the admission cycle is April. Each spring, we honor the students who were accepted to Emory. It’s always fun to celebrate our efforts to build a dynamic, diverse freshmen class.

What have you found to be most surprising about your job?

I get very excited when students stop me on campus to say hello. I am sure they’re all so busy with school and campus life, and it makes my day when they let me know I played a part in their decision to attend.

Do you have any funny anecdotes about your experience as an Emory admission counselor or about your involvement with Emory admissions in general?

Travel season brings up all sorts of funny stories. In the fall months, we feel like traveling salesmen. We have Emory materials in our back seat as we commute from one high school visit to the next. For this reason, I always reserve a compact four-door car. One fall, I was "upgraded" to a sporty Mustang convertible. Not only was this two-door car inconvenient for work travel, but it was really, really loud. I still remember receiving an email after a visit to a boarding school in Maryland. The student used the salutation, "nice mustang."

How has Emory changed since you first started working here?

I love how Emory balances rich traditions with progressive change. Since I started five years ago, we have a new freshmen village, a new psychology building, and a new admission building (among other construction projects). In addition, Emory Advantage has made Emory a possibility for students with higher financial need. The sustainability initiatives have gained ground, and our office now reviews applications on computer screens.

--Lindsey Bomnin, communications assistant, EAA

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