Q&A: Joshua Ian Smith
Tell us a little about yourself.
As a gregarious first-generation college student whose parents barely grossed $40,000 when I applied, I came to Whitman in 2003 eager to learn and eager to please. I’m originally from Glenwood, a small logging hamlet at the foot of Mt. Adams in southern Washington, and I was clueless as to what to expect. From my 4-East section-mates in Jewett Hall, to my Lyman House janitor, to my engaging faculty, the people of Whitman are what impacted me most deeply. Admission intrigued me then, for obvious reasons — I could directly influence the great legacy that is the community of Whitman College.
What do you love most about your job?
Now nearing the end of my second year as an admission officer, I feel as strongly as ever about the value of the Whitman community. I love meeting prospective Whitties, introducing them to a place so dear to me and feeling no pressure at all to sell a product. Nestled in idyllic Walla Walla, Whitman sells itself; or it doesn’t. Regardless, I am simply an enthusiastic advocate along the way.
Describe one of your most meaningful recruiting experiences.
People continue to provide my motivation, be they staff, current Whitties, prospective families or anyone else connected to the college. Take a student I’ll call Nico, for example, a Chilean-American from San Diego and the first in his family to attend college. We flew him in on a Fall Visitors’ Day last year to showcase Whitman, and he swept us all off our feet. Nico’s charm didn’t end with my interview. After dinner that night, President Bridges was deeply impressed with this young man. I’m telling you: charisma! Needless to say, Nico fared well in our application review. From his deeply felt Christian conviction to his strong cultural identity, Nico continues to bring wonderful perspective to rugby, Whitman Christian Fellowship, Beta House, lacrosse, Gospel Choir and a litany of other passions for which he’s found a home on campus. What’s not to love about that?