Program Completed: Higher Education Administration, EdM
Job Title: Learning Center Associate
Maggie Herdzik, an alumna who received her EdM from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at UB, originally enrolled with an aspiration to become a physical therapist. However, Herdzik’s experiences allowed her to recognize her true interests. “The path that led to my decision to pursue a career in higher education was not linear,” said Herdzik. “I realized that I desired a career in which I could help students identify and achieve their own career and educational goals,” said Herdzik. “I wanted to be able to help students in a way that my academic advisors and career counselors helped me as a student.”
The discovery of Herdzik’s passion to help others sparked during a session with her undergraduate advisor when she changed her major from physical therapy to business. “My advisor’s caring nature and genuine interest in my personal success gave me the desire to help students,” said Herdzik. “Much like my advisor, I wanted to someday assume this guiding role for students as they work to achieve goals of their own.” Student run organizations, such as her membership in a professional business fraternity is what allowed Herdzik to develop mentoring and leadership skills.
Herdzik is currently a learning center associate in the School of Management’s undergraduate learning and community center at UB. She works with undergraduate School of Management students who are on academic probation, and supervise approximately 20 peer tutors. “While I enjoy all aspects of my new role in the undergraduate learning and community, I am especially grateful for the opportunity it provides me every day to work with our peer tutors, and all of School of Management undergraduate students to support their academic success,” Herdzik said. “I also enjoy helping students by facilitating workshops and presentations focused on academic skill-building.” The School of Management’s welcoming environment and collaborative efforts make each day enjoyable for Herdzik.
During her time in the higher education program, Herdzik learned the importance of identifying how to make a difference throughout her career. The program allowed her to develop a passion for working with today’s college students, and how she wanted to play a role in enhancing their own student experience. Higher education is a collaborative community and it is so important to establish a network that supports both your professional development, and the growth of students and colleagues,” Herdzik said. “The faculty members challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and to try new things, despite any fears or hesitations.”
Completing an independent study with one of the faculty members in her program was Herdzik’s most memorable experience in the LAI department. She worked with Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) college success centers to conduct research and implement best practices for the collection, management and analysis of student data from three different projects: Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), (New York Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (NYGEARUP) via a Google Form from each school and Say Yes Buffalo to support NYGEARUP and the FAFSA Completion project.
“The goal was to understand how to best manage and utilize the data collected from these programs to highlight their successes, build reports and disseminate their findings to enhance the impact in BPS,” said Herdzik. “This independent study allowed me to understand first-hand how higher education professionals positively influence the community.”
In 2019, she presented at the Western New York Advising Conference. Herdzik and her supervisor presented on “Building an Academic Learning Center,” which was a great opportunity for her to share her own expertise with colleagues across the region. She is currently enrolled in mindful counseling for wellness and engagement program at UB and hopes to implement the skills and knowledge gained through this program to her current work with today’s college students. Herdzik also wants to continue to learn from her peers in the field as she discovers the next steps of her career.
Herdzik encourages students to take advantage of their time as students, as there are so many opportunities (internships, experiential learning, workshops, etc.) in which students can participate. “In my opinion, the best way to discover your passion in higher education is to spend as much time as you can working with and learning from those currently in the field,” Herdzik said.