Transitional Studies is living up to its name and made some significant transitions over the past half year. In the spring, former Director Tamara Toomey accepted a new position as Director of Student Transition & Retention. This summer, Caitlin Rovner took over as the new Director of Transitional Studies. Caitlin is a familiar face for anyone who worked with START last semester.
Caitlin grew up in Napier, New Zealand, a beautiful coastal town of about 50,000. Napier attracts many tourists because of its high-quality wines, lovely Art Deco architecture, and scenic seascapes. After acquiring a BA in English, she decided she wanted to travel. Her first overseas assignment was teaching English to 1st graders in Seoul, South Korea, a bustling city which proved to be an exciting change from her hometown. After teaching in South Korea for a year, she decided to pursue a Master’s in Applied Linguistics. So, Caitlin headed back to Australasia, settling in Melbourne, Australia for 3 years, working full-time whilst completing an online master’s degree through University of New England.
Upon graduation, the travel bug bit Caitlin again, and she began applying to numerous overseas posts. She landed in Slemani, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, as an English Lecturer at the American University of Iraq. It was here that Caitlin met her husband Jon, a fellow English Lecturer. After a few years in Slemani, ISIS starting popping up in the region. Although there were numerous advisories warning against travel to the area, Caitlin and Jon generally felt safe because their students and their families were privy to more accurate and up-to-date information than reported in the media. Eventually, though, Caitlin and Jon agreed that it would be best to leave and decided to move once their contracts ended in May 2017.
They settled in New Zealand, but there wasn’t much opportunity to work in higher education there, as New Zealand has significantly fewer universities than the United States. They decided to begin the American green card application process, and Caitlin was approved after 2 years. They got on a plane two days after receiving this good news. Their first stop was in Denver, Colorado, where Jon has family. This was a good place for them to figure out where in the USA would be a good fit for them. They liked the idea of living in a college town and they both wanted to remain in higher education. Jon loves Freshman Comp, so he wanted to find a job as an English Lecturer, but Caitlin felt a pull to the advising or academic side of higher education. After visiting with his grad school friend, Steve Coughlin, about the benefits of CSC the Rovners ended up in Chadron.
Caitlin’s first job at CSC was working as a START advisor, which she described as a great opportunity and a dream job. Her favorite part of the job was creating relationships with students. She is excited to carry over this passion to her new role as Director of Transitional Studies. She is really enjoying working with this specific demographic. When she was in Iraq, she worked with academic preparatory students, which is a very similar population to transitional students. She is relishing the opportunity to assist students in crafting realistic outcomes and helping them achieve their goals.
Caitlin, Jon, and their daughter are very much enjoying living in Chadron. They appreciate the sense of community and think it is a great place to raise a family.
If you have questions about Transitional Studies, you can contact Caitlin at email@example.com, 308-432-6488, or by stopping in to the Library Learning Commons.