Q and A with Stephanie Grates

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by Erica Doherty
Staff Writer

Stephanie Grates, admissions recruiter, site coordinator Macomb Community College

What brought you to RC and why do you choose to work here?

“So I moved to the Rochester area after I graduated college and I knew that I wanted to work somewhere in higher education. So, I saw that Rochester College had an opening for admissions recruiter and I wanted to work in something that was recruiting or HR and so I was very happy to see that this position was open, and I love it here.”

What’s the easiest and hardest part of your job?

“So, I guess with recruiting there’s highs and lows depending on what time of year. I do the accelerated program usually the most, so my semesters are shorter like eight weeks. So, my recruiting is a lot more frequent than traditional students, but just kind of adjusting to that kind of turn around and the different structure of the classes has been a challenge sometimes. Then, trying to constantly find new students in a creative way, but it’s been exciting. The easiest job has probably just been the day to day stuff that I do. So, contacting with students all the time, reaching out to professors and other college leaders. So, it’s just been exciting and I enjoy it.”

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

“Rewarding would probably be having the ability to make such an impact on students. So, helping them find a university that works best for them because not every college works for every student. So trying to find how Rochester College would benefit each of our students for a bachelor’s degree which can impact their life forever. So, having that degree in helping them find the best way to utilize their degree just has been so rewarding.

What do you do outside your job to stay sane, relieve stress, etc.?

“Probably the most sane thing I do is to play with my dog. I’m obsessed with him. I take him for walks, we go to dog parks and just take him around the town to the different things that you can do in the area. So, probably playing with my dog and just relaxing has definitely been a great way to relieve stress.”

Where did you grow up? Describe.

“I grew up in Shelby Township, Michigan. So, it seems like it’s right around the corner, but I went to Utica High School so not too far up.”

What is your favorite thing to do in the Rochester area? Or in Michigan?

“For Michigan I love going to the Great Lakes and being able to go to the beaches and see the water and the sand and that’s fun. There’s always a lake nearby. In Rochester, I like all the festive things that happen. So, whether that’s the lights in downtown Rochester or the Yates Cider Mill in the fall I love that. Just having that slice of fall in winter when you want to experience it.”

What is your most prized possession?

“I would say for my work I don’t really have one yet just because I’m just starting off in my career, but I have my grandmother’s engagement ring, so that I like to, it’s special to me. So, I enjoy that. It’s probably my most prized possession.”

What is your most embarrassing moment?

“I don’t, I was thinking about this one. I don’t have one at Rochester yet. I know it’ll happen. I’ll eventually fall or trip on a tour or something that’s bound to happen to me. At my university, I remember one day I ran into a glass window because I thought it was the glass door and that was just in front of the student center so of course tons of people are around, but that was embarrassing.”

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

“In general I was really sick a few years ago so I had to overcome that, but in this job the biggest thing that I had to overcome is just getting used to higher education and the recruitment cycle because it’s not like anything I’ve ever done before. So, it’s definitely been an exciting challenge to get to keep learning and I’m still learning today, but that’s just something I had to overcome, but I’ve enjoyed it.”

Who is your biggest influence?

“My mom is probably definitely my biggest influence. She’s always working. She’s always held our family together and just been so supportive of everyone. So, she’s definitely the biggest influence in my life. On Rochester I’d say my biggest influence is one of our directors, Katy Busam. She just does everything, and I don’t know how she continues to breathe or have time to keep doing everything. She does so much for Rochester and it’s just amazing to see her do it all.”