What's your background in terms of home and family?
I moved from one end of the Lehigh Valley to the other and enjoy living on College Hill and all the access it offers to Easton. My name may be ringing a bell because I’m married to Ken Newquist, who works in web development in ITS. We have a senior and a freshman in high school, as well as a dog about to embark on puppy college.
How long have you been raising seeing-eye dogs?
Our family has been raising seeing-eye dogs for the past five years. We’ve raised four dogs so far: Olaf, Hank, Bob, and Recon. Puppy college is what we call it when our dog goes back to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, for further training. Recon has been with us since he was 7 weeks old, and he’s stayed longer than normal because coronavirus shut down The Seeing Eye for several weeks. We expect he’ll be off to puppy college by early next year.
What's it like when it's time for a dog to leave your household?
Folks often ask us if it’s hard to give them up after training them. Of course it is! But we take heart in knowing a few things: 1) We go into it knowing the dog is going to leave. 2) We never have to make end-of-life decisions. In our minds, the dog is always a 2-year-old, lively pup. 3) We can always get a new pup! Most importantly, 4) There is a mission. I don’t hope my kids go off to college and fail so they can come back home and live with me. I want them to be successful and change the lives of others. I have the same goal for our seeing-eye pups.
What are your other hobbies?
When I’m not working in Admissions I like to be outside anyway I can: hiking, gardening, kayaking.
How have your roles in Admissions changed?
I’ve worked at Lafayette College in the Office of Admissions for 14 years, most of it part time. My main responsibility has been crafting our personalized acceptance letter. I estimate that I’ve read more than 35,000 college essays during my time here.
In 2019, I switched to full time as the director of campus visitation and events. That was back in the day (also known as PC or pre-coronavirus) when people came to campus for their visits. I work with a team to develop, implement, and assess all aspects of prospective students/families’ experiences on campus. I also get to meet students from all over the world and hear their stories through interviews and personal interactions.
What do you find interesting about your work?
I like to say my job is equal parts giving students the experience that brings Lafayette to life and thinking through all the ways people can use the experience in a different way than we intended. We’ve had people sign up for a virtual tour and show up on campus. On Halloween last year a student pulled into Markle Parking Deck and left a message on our answering machine stating he was here for his visit, although we do not offer any in-person visits on Saturdays right now. I once had a dog in my info session while I also had a seeing-eye puppy in training presenting with me. That was interesting. And conducting an info session in which a spouse signed the entire session to his deaf wife made me realize what was most important to that family. It’s a study in human nature, for sure.
What else would you like to share?
My favorite quote: “Happiness is the place between too little and too much.”