Introducing the Admissions Committee XIII: Dana Messinger

Name:  Dana Messinger Dana2

Territory:  Pennsylvania and Virginia

Education:  Johns Hopkins University, Class of 2001 – Political Science major; Georgetown University Law Center, Class of 2004

Johns Hopkins Start Date:  August 2009

Years in Admissions:  Less than one year

Why did you choose to enter the profession of College Admissions?:  I’ve always enjoyed recruiting – I used to be a tour guide, overnight host and student interviewer at Hopkins; an overnight host and recruiter at GULC; and a recruiter and interviewer at my old law firm in New York. Plus, I love working with students. During the last presidential election, I was in charge of Hillary Clinton’s youth outreach program in a couple of states. Working with high school and college students was by far the best part of the job; they were energetic, excited, innovative and – yes – idealistic.

What is the most enjoyable part of reading college applications?:  I love reading a good essay. For me, that usually means that the student is excited and passionate about something – almost anything. Their energy will literally jump off the page, or in this case, the screen. A good essay will also almost always make me think about the subject in a different way – either because the student has an interesting take on it or because it’s a subject I hadn’t previously invested much time in exploring. Don’t be afraid to be different! Quirky can also be memorable.

And the least enjoyable part?:  Reading an application to John Hopkins. It’s like nails on a chalk board!!!!!

Dana4 What is your personal approach to reading an application?:  In the back of my mind, I’m always thinking about what the class, as a whole, will look like. So when I read an application, I like to ask myself whether the student will bring something unique and interesting to the class – both academically and extra circularly.

What is your favorite thing about Johns Hopkins University?:  This is such a hard question – there are so many options to choose from! But as trite as it may sound, it’s really all of the friends I made here during my 4 years as an undergraduate (and my new friends in the office). I am still best friends with my college roommates, gchat with my college friends when I have a good story to tell, call them when I need advice, and hang out with them whenever I have a free moment. Dana1

If working in College Admissions wasn’t an option, what would you be doing as an occupation?:  Probably something in law or politics.

In your personal opinion, what is the top issue facing the field of higher education currently?:  I think Financial Aid is one of the biggest issues – a quality education should be available to everyone, regardless of their family’s income.

What is your top Johns Hopkins University memory to date?:  It’s impossible to pick just one! So in no particular order, they are:

  • Scoring my first (and only) tri as a flanker for the women’s rugby team
  • Sledding down the BIA field on “borrowed” cafeteria trays during the blizzard of 2000
  • Finding a hot pink Adidas warm up suit (100% polyester :-) for $4.10 at value village the day of our 80’s party
  • Spring Fair! 
  • Watching Preakness from the infield (and getting seats near the track, thanks to the swim team, who headed over right after practice) Dana3
  • Cheap tickets to any Yankees v. O’s game at Camden Yards (Go Yanks!)
  • Professor Ginsburg’s Intro to American Politics
  • My 21st birthday at CVP
  • The Birthright trip to Israel
  • Barnstormers’ parties at Vadim, Brian, and Cassidy’s house (theater people throw the most creative parties :-)
  • Any Buttered Niblets performance
  • Visiting Melissa in Oxford during her semester abroad
  • Painting Workshop 1 with Jen
  • Our Sunday night Iron Chef, Simpsons, Sopranos dinner partiesDana5

What book and what movie should all students have read and watched before enrolling in college?:  Hmmm…. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and almost any book by Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues or Still Life with Woodpecker are a good place to start).