Saint Mary’s alumna begins role as hall director
Sara Schlecht | Wednesday, August 22, 2018
When Ally Strasen graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2016, she planned on being a teacher. However, Strasen’s life took a different turn as she has returned to the College this year to serve as the hall director for Holy Cross and Opus Halls.
After graduating with a degree in elementary education with a minor in mild intervention, Strasen attended the University of Vermont and completed a master’s degree in special education in December 2017. In the months following, however, she took some time to consider other professional possibilities.
“I wasn’t quite sure that teaching was for me at that point in my life,” she said. “Then this [job] posting popped up on the Saint Mary’s webpage, and I knew in my heart that I wanted to be back at Saint Mary’s, so I applied and here I am.”
While her position also includes serving as hall director for Opus Hall, Strasen moved into Holy Cross in mid-July. As a student, Strasen didn’t live in either of these halls.
“I was excited to get to be in a building that I hadn’t spent a lot of time in,” she said.
Strasen said she worried the idea of coming back to the College in this capacity might take away from “the magic that is Saint Mary’s” that she experienced as a student.
“It’s amazing to be able to see things from a different perspective and be able to reflect on what life was like as a student here and now what life is like as a professional here,” she said.
Strasen said she believes her background in elementary education will be helpful to her in her duties as hall director because it emphasized the diversity that can be found in a group of people, such as residents and hall staff. Additionally, she said having been a student at Saint Mary’s is beneficial to her in this position.
“You come out of here — a small, women’s liberal arts college — with such a well-rounded education that you haven’t just learned history facts or how to write an English paper,” she said. “You learn so many life skills and interpersonal skills.”
These products of her Saint Mary’s education are being put to use in her new role with Residence Life, Strasen said.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d be back as a hall director, but it just seemed right,” she said.
Strasen said she knew it would be an adjustment for returning resident assistants who worked with her predecessor but she has found the hall staff to be welcoming.
“Working with [hall staff] is very exciting,” she said. “They’re all awesome girls, and I’ve gotten to know some of them pretty well already.”
Strasen said she is most excited about being able to form relationships with students.
“Saint Mary’s did so much for me,” she said. “I’m excited to hopefully be able to give back to Saint Mary’s what it gave to me.”