Kara Gensamer

Kara (Gensamer) Uhrich

Assistant Director of First-Year Experience & Orientation,
Lehigh University

What was your favorite part about working in Rutgers Residence Life?
“I have so many fond memories of working on the Rutgers Residence Life staff – it’s so hard to choose! I worked and lived at Rutgers for three incredible years: two years as a graduate hall director while studying in the College Student Affairs (CSA) Master’s program and one year as a Residence Life Educator, a full-time professional staff member. Even though it is difficult to choose, I would say my favorite part about working in Rutgers Residence Life was seeing the personal and professional growth in the residents and student staff. During my time at Rutgers, I worked directly with the Resident Assistants, Residence Hall Association, and residents in first-year halls where I was able to see their passion and drive first hand. Rutgers students are incredibly bright and driven and I greatly enjoyed being a part of their experience. Through one-on-one conversations, staff meetings, and events, I was able to understand the students’ goals and assist in achieving them. There is nothing quite like that feeling that you are helping students to reach their potential!”

What other opportunities did you partake in while working at Rutgers?
“Rutgers Residence Life provides its staff (at all levels) with many opportunities to get involved and gain an understanding of both the breadth and depth of the field. As a professional, some of my most formative experiences include working with the Training and Personnel Unit where I assisted with preparing for summer training and the RA course, facilitating a section of the Honors Program’s

Colloquium Course, chairing the Graduate Student Professional Development Committee for Busch Campus, and serving on the First-Year Student Welcome Event Committee. As a graduate student, I was able to gain incredible experience that helped prepare me for my future in Student Affairs in areas such as supervision, managing a budget, crisis response, and program planning. All of these experiences, in addition to my Residence Life Educator responsibilities, helped me to be a competitive candidate for future opportunities.”

How did Rutgers Residence Life best prepare you for your current position?
“Rutgers Residence Life best prepared me for my current role in that it provided me with the autonomy and structure to be successful. I was provided with extensive training and ability to ask questions of my supervisor, peers, and mentors which was paired with the trust to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. This allowed me to understand the mission and purpose behind each policy and request while also leaving room for innovation to put my personal mark on each project. I currently work in the Office of First-Year Experience where I am responsible for planning Orientation which requires attention to detail, coordination of logistics, and creativity – all of which I had experience in while working in Rutgers Residence Life.”

Any words of advice or wisdom?
“The work of a residence life professional is incredibly important and essential to each residential student’s overall experience. Always remember that you are changing lives every day and making a difference!”