Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 00:05
Many students will walk across the stage Friday and Saturday with proud family and peers looking on. The members from Housing and Residential Education and Tara Schoenherr’s family will be no different as they watch her take those meaningful steps.
Schoenherr, a senior resident assistant in South Hall, began working as an RA in Harrison Hall her sophomore year and became a senior RA her junior year.
She is a human services major and was recently nominated for the Eric Harshbarger Distinguished Service Award, which is designated to reward students who dedicated their time and effort toward the different residence halls.
Schoenherr lived Harrison as a freshman and explained how she was the least likely student to become an RA the following year.
“I feel I bring the perspective to being an RA of the person who was not like your stereotypical RA,” Schoenherr said.
Schoenherr said Whitney Newman, coordinator of Academic Programs for Housing and Residential Education, has had an immense effect on her life and career working in HRE.
“I had this great woman that I worked with who really pressured me into applying and didn’t give up on me,” Schoenherr said. “She was the hall director for Harrison and is now an amazing mentor in my life.”
Schoenherr applied for the RA position, thinking it was only going to be for a year.
“Whitney and other people who have worked in housing with me really took an interest in me and didn’t give up on me,” she said. “They really changed my path and impacted me, and that’s my inspiration moving forward and be able to have that same role in students lives that I have been so fortunate to have.”
Schoenherr is highly enthusiastic when helping out the students on her floor and would engage them with activities like root beer pong and other games.
She also was awarded senior RA of the year, which is voted upon by different department supervisors and determine from which building’s senior RA should win.
“The biggest piece for me is the kind of mentorship toward other RAs in the hall,” Schoenherr. “I am a resource for them and be a role model for them.”
She was the only returning senior RA this semester and made it a point to being a good role model beyond her residence hall to the entire campus. She tries to not only be there for the other RAs when they have a crisis on their hands but also to be the one they can call looking for someone to do something fun with.
When she graduates Saturday, Schoenherr said she will miss the different people she has met with her position.
“I am also really excited because Whitney and the other hall directors I have worked with throughout my time at UNC will be there,” Schoenherr said. “A lot of people who have really invested in my success will be able to see it pay off, and that feels really good.”
She will attend the University of Utah to receive her master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy, which is another program Newman encouraged her to pursue.
She will also work as the assistant residential education coordinator, which is a hall director type of position. The tasks will include supervising the RAs and looking after the building.
After her master’s degree, she says she can see herself in a director of housing or dean of students’ office.
Schoenherr said she wouldn’t turn down working at UNC in the future but is excited to live in another state for a while. The added perk from the college job scene is the ability to really live anywhere there is a college.
During the summer, she will still be working for HRE and plans to move to Salt Lake City in July.