Q&A: Alana Kaholokula
Tell us about yourself:
After graduating from Whitman in 2008 with a degree in English, I attended Brown University and earned my master’s degree in teaching, specializing in secondary English education. Missing the West Coast and wanting to work in education, my job search led me back to Walla Walla. I have found this job to be both challenging and fulfilling. Working as an admission officer allows me to give back to the college, while also providing an opportunity to work with high school students, which is where I believe my true calling lies.
What do you love about your job?
The prospective students make what I do worth all the work. While I may not know where five years down the road will take me, I do know that my passion is in working with students and helping them see the value of a liberal arts education in both the secondary and post-secondary setting. This past year I have been given the opportunity to work as both an admission officer and the coordinator for the Visit Scholarship Program, which provides students from under-represented groups the opportunity to visit campus during our Fall and Spring Visitors’ Days. Providing prospective students who cannot financially afford to visit campus with the chance to experience all that Whitman has to offer is a huge part of my experience of building relationships with students and is the most rewarding part of my job.
Describe one of your best recruiting experiences:
One student who came to campus through the Visit Scholarship Program had her mind set on another school before her visit here. She came hoping to hate Whitman and thereby reassure herself that the other school was the right choice for her. This student’s bigger-than-life personality made her stand out to me, but it was her enthusiasm for Whitman that truly landed her a place in my memory. After her 24-hour stay on campus during our Admitted Students’ Day, this young woman told me the community felt like it should be her home for the next four years. She quickly changed her mind regarding her initial college choice and submitted her enrollment deposit to Whitman. Without a doubt, this student and many others like her, benefit from the Visit Scholarship Program.