Posted on Apr 25, 2014 in Alumni News and News
Alumni play an important role in helping to recruit new students to the University of Kansas, and the KU Alumni Association works closely with the KU Office of Admissions in these efforts. Each year, the Office of Admissions staffs recruiters to represent KU throughout the state of Kansas an in key territories across the country. We asked each of the admissions reps to share a little information with us so alumni can get to know them.
Today’s post features Lacey Koester, c’08 a native of Hoisington. Lacey is the Admissions Rep for Johnson County, Kansas City’s private schools, and the states of Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. UPDATE: Lacey’s last day with the Office of Admissions is May 20, 2014.
The haunting melody of the Rock Chalk Chant filled the humid air and eerily escaped the confines of the expansive white tent. The heads of all present swiveled to take in the handful of recent graduates emitting this odd and mournful sound on such a festive summer day. No, I wasn’t gathered with my fellow students on the slopes of Mount Oread, or in the crimson and blue bleachers of Allen Fieldhouse; I was huddled with a few other Jayhawks as we celebrated our graduation from the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla.
Coincidentally, my fondest memories of my time at KU didn’t even take place in Lawrence. Rather, my favorite KU memories are of my two study abroad experiences in Granada, Spain, and Puebla, Mexico. These were formative times in my life when I truly became independent as I sojourned to foreign lands alone. I embraced adventure and scaled pyramids, gobbled down grasshoppers, danced among the costume-clad throngs at Carnaval and raucously cheered along with the impassioned masses of fans during the World Cup. I also began to perfect my Spanish and learned about the world from the perspective of my Spanish and Mexican host families and friends. Study abroad was truly a time when the foreign became familiar, and the familiar became foreign.
What clubs, organizations or traditions did you participate in as a student?
My college affiliations that I hold dearest are Sellards Scholarship Hall, my involvement in Latin American Solidarity, my student jobs at the Spencer Research Library and the Office of Admissions, and the summer I spent as an Orientation Assistant helping incoming students to make the transition to KU. These organizations are where I forged lifelong friendships and learned about my personal passions.
Name one class you think every KU student should take and why.
HIST 370 – Violence & Conflict in Latin America: This history class delves into topics such as the drug trade, poverty, civil wars, and military corruption, while exploring America’s role in the region and the influence of this violence upon immigration to the United States.
LAA 332 – Language & Society of Latin America: The history of the United States is inextricably linked with Latin America and this class explores the linguistic, cultural, and historical nuances of the countries and people beyond our southern border. More so, Mexico and Brazil are among the most important trading partners for the United States and this class lends a deeper understanding to these relationships.
When did you know you loved KU?
I think it took a bit longer for me as compared to most students to realize my profound affection for KU. This realization came the day that my younger sister wrecked into my already shoddy sedan with one of our farm tractors and delayed my return to Lawrence to begin my sophomore year. I was absolutely devastated that I wouldn’t be able to move back early as planned to join the other members of the executive committee of my scholarship hall and to reunite with my friends as planned. Through the tears and a few angry barbs hurled at my sis, it struck me that I was so emotional because KU had come to mean so much to me in just a year’s time.
Describe your perfect day in Lawrence.
My perfect, jammed-packed day in Lawrence consists of the following activities: strolling around the Farmer’s Market early in the morning and consuming some homemade tamales, swinging by The Merc to munch on some mochi ice cream, jostling with the crowds along the sidewalks of Mount Oread to cheer on yet another of my younger sisters during their walk down the Hill, bicycling along the Kansas River levee, catching a recently released indie flick at Liberty Hall, cheering on my favorite Kaw Valley Kickball team under the lights at Hobbs Field and dancing the remainder of the night away to the tunes of a live band in a crowded basement on Massachusetts Street. The days are still 24 hours long, right?
What’s the most important piece of advice you give to prospective students?
I’ve got three pieces of advice: Do something daring, start sooner rather than later, and document it all. In my time at KU, I’ve learned that you experience the most growth when you push yourself to tackle the unimaginable. Whether it’s a new language, a sport you’ve secretly always wanted to try, or a class to which you’ve never had any previous exposure, I guarantee that the result will be worth the endeavor.
Of course, the sooner that you push yourself to take these chances, the more quickly that you’ll reap the rewards. Finally, each time that I open a photo album, read an old research project, or decipher my notes to friends from the margins of an old UDK, I am instantly transported back to my college years.
You’ll create lots of rich memories in your four years as a Jayhawk and you’ll want to remember them all. So, snap lots of photos and be sure to keep your favorite college mementos for the years down yonder.
How do you show your Jayhawk pride?
I make creative costumes to don at the basketball games, including at the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans and the final KU vs. Mizzou game in Allen Fieldhouse. My friends are always slightly embarrassed to be spotted with me at these sporting events but my enthusiasm is infectious, or so I’d like to think.
How does your KU degree help you in your career and daily life?
My KU degree has equipped me for the future and set me up to achieve my personal and academic goals. I’ve actually returned to the university again in the role of a student this past fall as I work toward a Master of Social Work degree with the ultimate goal of working with immigrants and refugees upon my graduation. More so, KU allowed me to explore my interest in languages and the world, which I yearned to do as a youngster growing up in a rural community in the exact center of the state of Kansas. I’ve endeavored to learn three languages, have traveled to eighteen countries, and even spent an entire year in Mérida, Spain, teaching English to middle and high school students. KU helped me to claim my curiosity.
Click here to visit Lacey’s page on the Office of Admissions website, which includes her recruitment territories and school visit schedule. Contact Lacey at 785.864.5407 or by email at email@example.com.