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Enrollment Coordinator, Administrative Assistant
New Student Engagement
Bella Perry and Karen Alleyne work side by side in the Office of New Student Engagement where they provide resources and tools to new students, from the time of their acceptance through their first semester.
“We put ourselves in their shoes,” said Perry, who has been at the College for more than 15 years. “Students need to feel a sense of belonging before they enter a classroom for the first time. We are a one-stop shop with an open-door policy for whatever a student may be looking for, even just a friendly face.”
Alleyne, at the college for 5 years, added that “pre-covid there was a reliable structure in place to help students connect with the resources they need to begin their academic career at the College and also to connect with each other.”
Now, she said, things are different.
CUNY mandates all students taking in-person and hybrid classes get vaccinated and upload proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst. “This new system can be confusing,” she continued, “and students who do not meet the upload deadlines are dropped from their classes.”
To save students from being dropped unnecessarily, Perry and Alleyne joined creative forces to facilitate a “Vaccination Upload Day” Zoom Room. They proactively reached out to the Covid Liaison to request the names and phone numbers of students who had not yet uploaded proof of their Covid vaccination and invited these students to join the forum of 20 breakout rooms to ask questions and receive real-time guidance. They encouraged students not to give up and stayed on the phone with them no matter the challenge, providing them with the technological and caring support they needed so they could make it to campus for the first day of classes.
As a result, some 80 students successfully uploaded their vaccination cards!
Bella added, “It was such inspiring teamwork, not just between us, but with the students as well. We all had a common goal—to help one another succeed.”
“Bella and Karen routinely work behind the scenes to ensure students have a full understanding of their schedules, and they have worked evenings and weekends to support populations that traditionally do not have regular support. Their approach and demeanor with students are how we should aspire to be. They truly epitomize the CARES award,” said Dr. Brian R. Mitra, Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.
Alleyne said, “I always talk about QCC, our sense of community and care—we want students to feel valued by people who genuinely want to see them succeed. It is a rewarding feeling to know they will have a seamless and positive experience when they arrive at the front gate for their first class!”
Perry and Alleyne expressed their gratitude to their project partners from the Office of Information Technology and Academic Computing Center.