It is March 8 and things are in a state of flux in the Admissions Office. My colleagues and I have completed all first reads and now we begin the complicated task of committee reviews for the remainder of the month. The individuality of the first-read process and the convenience of working from home now morphs into organized group activities that lead to 18-hour office days and numerous debates. The change is a welcome one, as it means we are one step closer to the release of notifications and the finalization of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2015.
Change is also in order for the Hopkins Insider blog as last week we ended the 10-part “Get to Know the Admissions Committee” blog series. We hope you enjoyed getting to know the members of the Admissions Committee in a new way and it shed some light on how our minds work. I know I personally enjoyed reading my colleagues’ responses, especially their stories for question #7, funniest recruitment experiences. As we hunker down for the next few weeks in committee, we thought it would be interesting to write about some of our favorite Hopkins students, either current or recent alumni. We all feel that it is the students that make Johns Hopkins University so special, and one of the perks of working in Admissions is the amazing students who cross our paths on a daily basis.
For my contribution to this favorite student series, rather than discussing one student, I have chosen to feature 13 students that have meant the world to me during my seven years at Hopkins. They are what I have named the SAAB Legacy. The SAAB Legacy consists of nine students who have graduated within the last four years and four more students that will cross the stage at Commencement this May 26. Each of them has been a central figure to the student group I oversee, the Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB), and have left an indelible legacy as the inaugural members of all things Hopkins Interactive related. Not only do I consider each one of the 13 my friends, I consider them part of a unique family that has made coming to work every day an utter joy. I think each of them knows how much they have meant to me, but featuring their collective excellence here is just one additional way I can share the brilliance behind Hopkins Interactive on the micro-scale and Johns Hopkins University on the macro-scale.
Any discussion of the SAAB legacy must start at the beginning with the two Michelles, the godmothers of SAAB and Hopkins Interactive. The first Michelle is JHU_MichelleT, a 2007 cognitive science graduate, who later this spring will be finishing law school at Yale University. The second Michelle is JHU_MichelleB, a 2008 neuroscience graduate who has spent the last couple of years working for a tech company in San Francisco and will be starting medical school this fall. The two Michelles are in so many ways the originators of all the social media projects I work on daily with the current members of SAAB. They are the first two faces that would be carved into the Mount Rushmore of Hopkins Interactive. Not only did their creativity, initiative, and constant inspiration help fine-tune my embryonic idea of using blogs to help in Admissions recruitment, but their organizational skills and meticulous detail kept me sane and focused as we developed Hopkins Interactive for its launch. Without the two Michelles there would be no SAAB, there would be no Hopkins Interactive, and there would not be an Admissions_Daniel either. I owe so much to their collective drive and leadership, and feel honored to continue to be able to celebrate their post-Hopkins accomplishments.
Following on the heels of the two Michelles was a collection of five students (all 2009 graduates) that took SAAB to the next level. They were the first group of students that I knew from the recruitment stage all the way up to graduation, and to this day they are engraved in the fabric of Hopkins Interactive. If the two Michelles are the godmothers, these five students make up the first class of SAAB Hall of Famers and have so much to do with taking our early concepts to the next level. First there is JHU_Esther who took her international studies degree from Hopkins and leveraged it into a position with the Foreign Service and now serves in Ethiopia. Then there is JHU_Julia who is currently using her political science degree as a paralegal in NYC for the United States District Attorney’s Office and plans for law school are in the near future. JHU_Laura rounds out this triumvirate of amazing women, having returned home to the Pacific Northwest after graduation to use many of the skills she learned through SAAB as alumni and web coordinator for The Northwest School.
This 2009 “SAAB FAB 5” is not complete without discussing the two guys. JHU_Andrew graduated with an international studies degree, spent a year studying at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland and is now back home in New York with a pretty impressive government job that I really can’t talk about or he might come arrest me. And finally there is JHU_Tanmay, the first technical genius of SAAB, who took his BME degree down south to enroll in medical school at Duke. Each and every day I miss getting to hear the stories of these five amazing individuals and scholars, and I miss in a small way getting to live vicariously through them. Esther was the glue that held everything together, Julia was the social center, Laura was the creative genius, Andrew was the other point-of-view, and Tanmay made sure everything kept working.
The 2010 SAAB class consists of just two students but in their own right they bridged the gap between the originators of the group and foreshadowed the future. JHU_Jackie was a two-pronged SAABer contributing both to the creative perspective but also making sure we never forgot the all-important social element that led to the success of this diverse group of students. Jackie was the consummate humanities scholar during her time as an undergraduate and now she is using her drive and motivation to support No Labels, a social welfare advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. Jackie’s counterpart is JHU_Kate who can best be described as the SAAB encyclopedia. Any prospective students who ever asked a question in the early years of Hopkins Interactive can remember getting the most detailed and informative responses from Kate. She knows Hopkins backwards and forwards, and thankfully, after graduating with a neuroscience degree, she did not go far; Kate currently works as a research technologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. I think the great legacy of both Kate and Jackie is that many of the skills they used to better Hopkins Interactive are being echoed in the crop of new Class of 2014 SAAB members.
Later this May, I will say farewell to four members of the SAAB Class of 2011. In many ways I consider them a “Final Four” as they truly are the last remaining members of the early stages of SAAB and Hopkins Interactive. There is JHU_Josh, our SAAB director and producer. He has used his creativity and film and media studies experiences to bring Hopkins Interactive into the video era. Film school is in his future. There is JHU_Lauren, who embodies everything the humanities represents at Hopkins. For Hopkins Interactive she can be described as the creative genius, visual designer, forums guru, technical problem solver, and all-around magician. As Lauren departs, SAAB is losing its visual eye, but we know her creativity will appear in whichever career she chooses to pursue. The third member is JHU_Jessica, who will go down in the SAAB record books as having the longest official tenure, as she was granted her spot with the group during the second semester of her senior year in high school after being admitted ED. Without Jessica, Hopkins Interactive would not have an Academics Blog, would not have a presence on Facebook, and would not be nationally recognized as an example of the best way to use social media in admissions. Jessica departs Hopkins as the quintessential public health studies student and a true ambassador of that program. Her next endeavor will be a 4000-mile bike across the country to fight cancer. And finally there is JHU_Mandy. I could write another five pages of praise about Mandy but, simply put, she has become the Mom of SAAB. In many ways she has become the quintessential SAABer, embodying the strengths of the other 12 members of the SAAB Legacy, and becoming the model for all future SAABers. Mandy graduated with a public health studies degree this past December and has been working as an Admissions intern before attending law school this fall. When Mandy, Lauren, Jessica, and Josh cross the stage on Homewood Field this May, the SAAB Legacy will become complete and the tears will be flowing full stream from my eyes.
These 13 special students have meant the world to me and I consider them in many ways my children. I will look after them for as long as I can, and will provide them with any assistance they ever need. They have inspired me, they have challenged me, they have made me laugh, they have made me cry, they have displayed true creativity, and they have in the end created something memorable and unique. They have kept me in the loop and allowed me to be a small part of their successes. They have left a true legacy.