COLA Connections Newsletter: Spring 2018

A New (Familiar) Face in Student Services

The College of Liberal Arts is excited to welcome a new Associate Director of Student Services!  Kristy Mooney Graves is a 2000 RIT alumna, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology right here in COLA.  Kristy completed her co-ops on-campus in the Learning Development Center (now known as the ASC), which helped her identify her passion for working in higher education. She lives in Rochester with her husband, Jeremy, also an RIT alumnus, and their dog, Tucker.

Since you graduated from RIT, where has your career taken you?

To both Florida and Finland for starters. I went to graduate school at Florida State University and earned my masters in Higher Education Administration. A few years ago, I traveled on a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Finland to learn from their vocational education system. Both were valuable life experiences.

I spent the last 13 years at MCC’s Applied Technologies Center – working almost exclusively with automotive majors. I was fortunate to oversee many of the academic processes at the West Henrietta campus, and to have great experiences traveling with General Motors & Toyota, who are national partners for automotive education at the collegiate level. I feel especially fortunate to have visited many of the top community colleges & vocational training facilities on those travels.

What are you most excited about in your new role as Associate Director of Student Services?

I am excited to help students understand their options for minor & immersion classes. There are so many fascinating choices, and I am glad to see one of my favorite classes, Psychology of Religion—taught by Brian Barry, is still on the schedule! I am told COLA has a great reputation at RIT when it comes to student services. I hope to keep this reputation and make certain that students know we are here to help them.

Every day I see a new class on the schedule that I hope is offered in the evening so I can enroll. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to be a lifelong learner. Working at MCC, I took classes on a variety of topics from engine repair to personal investing. I enjoy building new life skills.

What made you want to work at your alma mater?

I arrived at RIT at 17 as a first-generation student and built an amazing network of friends and mentors. I came from a rural town where there are still more cows than people. I was able to graduate on time, with honors, four years later. Nationally, statistics tell us that is not the case for many first generation students. RIT had – and still has - successful initiatives on campus to make graduation possible for me and many others. I am excited to be part of an organization that helps students achieve their goals.

What advice would you give students here in COLA?

Pursue a part-time job on campus within your field of interest. RIT serves as a microcosm of the “real world,” and whether you are interested in working in the Finger Lakes wine industry, being an event planner in government & community relations, or working to improve access to education, you can find part-time employment on campus to build your own unique skill set. The experience helps you grow a professional network and build your resume.

What’s you’re fondest college memory?

I cannot choose only one! I think my collection of on-campus jobs is a top contender.  I worked all over—in the College of Science Dean’s Office, purchasing, catering, SG, Res Life, Financial Aid… I even worked construction during the renovation of the residence halls!  Catering was the best job because I could make my schedule as busy or light as needed, depending on my classes.  It was always fun to work Liberty Hill events, too.  Dr. Simone, who was president at the time, always had us introduce ourselves before every dinner so the attendees could know us a little better.  Sunday brunches at Gracie’s also ranks pretty high.  Nothing like brunch with friends!

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

In graduate school, one of my professors and mentors, Dr. Lee Jones told me, “If the work you do is not fun, then why are you doing it?” That stuck with me. Having a job you love and that you feel matters is so important. It is one of the reasons I really love higher education—it is both fun and rewarding.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?

Travel is my life's passion. I plan to visit all 50 states before I turn 50. I am up to 36. Most recently, I crossed Utah off the list on a ski trip with my husband in December. Skiing is my secondary passion and accounts for a large portion of my yearly travel. One of my favorite fellow RIT alums lives in Europe and I have been fortunate enough to ski the French and Swiss Alps with her a number of times. Just one of the perks of RIT’s strong alumni network!