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Student Life welcomes new additions, experience to staff

October 8, 2009

This summer, Student Life staff welcomed three new members to its team: Paul Shepherd, Matt Levine and Ashley Olson, each bringing fresh ideas to their new roles.

Paul Shepherd, director of Student Life; Matt Levine, Student Organization and Greek Life coordinator; and Ashley Olson, socio cultural coordinator, each joined the UW-River Falls staff on Aug. 10. 

Shepherd has a Bachelor of Science in organizational communication with a minor in human resource management. Additionally, he has a Masters of Science in Education with an emphasis in college student development and university administration.

He uses this background in his duties, which include responsibility of the overall direction and administrative leadership of the Office of Student Life. This includes supervision of four coordinators working with leadership, service learning, multicultural education, Greek Life, student organizations and campus-wide events.

Before coming to UWRF, Shepherd worked at UW-La Crosse for five years as a graduate assistant and a professional residence hall director. In addition, he worked at UW-Eau Claire for four years as the assistant director of Residence Life for Leadership and Education. 

Shepherd said he came to UWRF because he was looking for a way to progress in his career while continuing to work with issues that he feels have a direct impact on students’ educational experience in college.

“I have always heard great things about UWRF from colleagues across the state,” Shepherd said, “and knew if an opportunity presented itself, I would apply to work here.”

Levine comes to the University from Iowa State, where he earned his Masters in Education with an emphasis on higher education. Before that, he attended Drake University where he earned his B.S. in Psychology. 

While at Iowa State, Levine was very involved with students and student life. He was an advisor for America Reads America Counts, tutored in the community of Ames, Iowa, and helped students with life skills training. He was also a part time academic advisor and was a mentor to first year and transfer student athletes. 
Levine’s duties include overseeing student organizations and making sure that they are following the proper procedures. He also makes sure that the records are kept up to date and that guidelines are being followed. Levine is also an advisor to the Greek councils and is working to build the Greek community.

Levine says he came to UWRF because of the people.

“As soon as I met some of the staff and faculty I knew I would fit in here,” he said.

He said he liked the potential he saw for student development and the energy from the staff working towards that goal. 

Olson is a 2007 graduate of UWRF. She then attended UW-La Crosse where she earned her Masters in student affairs administration in higher education. 

Olson’s main duties include advising the Falcon Programming Board’s Multicultural, LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning), and Social Justice programmers, and participating on campus and community committees to make sure that students feel welcomed and safe on campus. 

While attending UWRF, Olson was involved in the Diversity Awareness Committee, Student Senate as the diversity issues director, and she also maintained involvement in many of the diversity organizations on campus. 

Olson said that when she saw the posting for socio cultural coordinator at UWRF it was a “no-brainer” to apply. She said she loved her experience at UWRF and the UW System was one in which she wanted to work.

“The idea of coming back to UWRF to work on the very same issues that I worked on as a student was very intriguing to me,” Olson said.

Both Shepherd and Levine said they enjoy working in a university environment because it is different everyday. They said they like the high pace, energy, and that it allows them to work with a diverse group of people. 

Olson added that she enjoys working on committees and doing the behind-the-scenes activities on campus but also loves the opportunity to work with students.

Amy Lloyd, Leadership and Service coordinator, said having a full Student Life staff has been very welcomed, and she said that she is proud to work with a group of people who have a strong student focus.

“We are a cohesive team who are currently working to develop the mission, vision and values of the Student Life Department,” she said.

Student Life has many different events occurring throughout the year to help get students involved with activities on and off-campus, including the Greek Life-sponsored Blood Drive on Oct. 28 and 29, and the semester-long Social Justice Series. 

Olson said that working as an advisor to Falcon Programs involves continually reaching out to encourage students to become involved. Programmers are also working to build a network of students on

Facebook that allows students to stay informed about upcoming events.

“There has been a lot of change recently in the staff in Student Life,” Shepherd said. “We are looking forward to developing some new programs and services for students on campus.”