Hailey Altena, is the Student Success Center Coordinator at LCC International University. Hailey is from the United States and is in her second year living in Klaipeda and working with LCC students. Take a glance into the work of the Student Life Department at LCC with Hailey Altena!
To begin, could you please share your story of how you came to LCC?
How did I get here? I have wanted to live or work in Europe for as long as I can remember. I actually have my masters degree in Russian and East European studies. I really just wanted to learn more about the history and politics of this part of the world. My husband and I talked for a long time about where we could both live and find meaningful work. We got involved in student life activities back in the US and we felt like student life was really “it” for us! So, we first came to LCC for the Summer Language Institute in 2018, that's how all it started for us.
Could you please expand on your job responsibilities at LCC International University?
My work consists of three parts: organizing freshman orientation, managing First Year Seminar (FYS) along with tutoring programs, and providing services for students on probation. At the beginning of the year, a lot of my focus is on welcoming freshmen to LCC, helping them get settled here and introducing them to staff and faculty, to other students, and helping them get used to the LCC environment.
After orientation each student is required to take a First Year Seminar course during their first semester at LCC. FYS is a course designed to help freshmen get acquainted more with LCC and with our values, specifically a Christian worldview, multiculturalism and servant leadership.
The second part of my job is academic support. I coordinate writing and math tutoring for all students, which is a free service that we provide at LCC. Basically, students tutoring students. Additionally, we do workshops for seniors, helping them with their thesis.
What do you like the most about your job?
I think my favorite part of this job is mentoring FYS leaders. We currently have 10 student leaders in FYS who are also a part of the leadership development program at LCC, working through leadership curriculum. I meet with my student leaders for an hour every other week, and much of that is focused on their own leadership development, what they're learning and applying as FYS leaders. We spend a lot of time processing their life, encouraging them to ask questions, and helping them to think more deeply about why they're doing this job and how they're growing through it.
I feel like my office is in the perfect location because I talk with possibly 15 to 20 students a day! People are coming in and asking questions. I have a feeling that I know at least a third of the students LCC personally just because I've met them at orientation, through FYS and tutoring. This definitely is my favorite part - knowing students and meeting with them!
What do you like the most about LCC?
Oh, I think what I like the most is the different cultures, countries and languages. LCC is so diverse! I love seeing people so excited about the place where they're from and wanting to share that with other people. The atmosphere during Cultural Day events is amazing and student performances are breathtaking.
Overall, I love talking to students about their countries, what makes them unique even if they're from the same city, they all have a different story and I think it's really interesting!