April Perry wins ‘outstanding professional’ award from national association

April Perry (center) converses with graduate students in the program she directs.

Earlier this month, April Perry, assistant professor and director of the Higher Education Student Affairs Program, received an Outstanding Professional in Graduate and Professional Student Services award.

The award was presented by the Administrators in Graduate and Professional Student Services, a knowledge community within the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Perry received the award March 14 in San Antonio.

“It was really exciting,” Perry said. “I think that my department head (Phyllis Robertson) and some of my current students and past students nominated me because apparently someone thinks I’m good at working with graduate students.

“That’s kind of the best part of this whole thing. Sure, winning an award is great, but it’s knowing that people took time to submit an application. Just to take time to say, ‘Hey, she’s doing really good work.’ That’s what makes you feel so honored. It makes me feel validated that I’m doing something right amidst all the chaos.”

Perry not only teaches graduate courses, but as the program director, she also is involved in recruiting, admissions, professional development, graduate assistantships and internships, curriculum design, course sequencing and the hiring of adjunct professors.

Perry said her enjoyment comes from watching and helping students grow.

“That process is incredibly fulfilling to me,” she said. “Knowing that I’m not just coming into work and doing the daily grind, but I’m actually a part of the process of changing people’s lives, especially because all of the students in our graduate program go on to work in higher education and they then change student’s lives. It’s kind of that big picture ripple effect. That’s definitely my most favorite part of my job.”