Kalena Michalec

MA in Higher Education Leadership


Braidwood, Illinois

Expected Graduation Date

Spring 2018

What do you hope to do with your degree and why?

My hope is to start my career and pursue my passions within student activities or new student programming!

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

I heard about SOLES through a general search of higher education programs within California. What really drew me to SOLES specifically was the leadership component of higher education. I chose to enroll in SOLES because the minute I stepped onto campus, I was embraced with open arms. Everyone I met on newly admitted students’ day made me feel very welcomed and gave me that sense of community that I was looking for in a graduate program.

Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?

Through SOLES, I have been afforded the opportunity to be a graduate assistant for student activities here at USD in the office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Changemaking. In the position, I co-advise the student programming board on campus, Torero Program Board, who create and execute campus-wide events for the undergraduate student body. The majority of my position is focused on holistic student development through one-on-one advising, along with helping students with the event process and execution. The impact of this position has been very strong for me because it has revealed my true passion within the field of student affairs. I have found a job that genuinely brings me joy every day and feels meaningful. I am thankful to have been able to have this experience.

Is there anything specific you would like to share with prospective students?

Being a part of SOLES is a great experience! Take full advantage of every opportunity and learn to embrace uncomfortability. This program has not only helped me gain knowledge and skills within my career but helped me grow as an individual. I have been challenged in many ways and am growing every day from it. Also, if you are not a So Cal native, take advantage of all the wonderful parts San Diego has to offer!