An academic advisor at Kelley Indianapolis, Loren oversees Kelley orientation, handles students’ internship-for-credit process and manages the technology tools for the advising team. She’s been an advisor for University College and Kelley, but initially, she’d planned to help youngsters in another field: social work.
Q: You went to graduate school for social work but decided instead to be an academic advisor. Why?
Loren: I worked in social work during graduate school, and I realized I didn’t want to pursue that field. I found it to be very emotionally challenging. It didn’t leave me with a lot of emotional energy at the end of the day. I was looking for something to help people and still work with young people. I discovered that I liked working with college-aged people because they still need some developmental growth, even as young adults with greater control over their life decisions. I liked appreciated that academic advising has a bit more structure to it and clearer boundaries between work and home life because I wanted to have a family. It was a better fit for me and complements my organized personality. I like to-do-lists and solving puzzles and I get to do that when I help students fit classes, internships and study abroad into their college plans.
Q: Both social work and advising seem like altruistic fields – why are you drawn to that?
Loren: I had a lot of trouble picking a major in undergrad. Part of it came from my faith. As a Christian, I felt called to help people but I didn’t know what that meant. I knew I didn’t want a medical career. I thought about mission work, and studied abroad in South America, but found that I didn’t like living abroad. I was always searching for a “helping” profession. I didn’t want it to just be a job, I wanted something fulfilling since I’d be spending a large portion of my life doing it. I really like college students and advising allows me to use my social work counseling skills while helping young people improve their lives.
Q: What’s been one of your most memorable experiences helping students?
Loren: I’d been the advisor for a student since his very first semester in 2011, when I started at University College. We got along well and he saw me every semester. He was accepted to Kelley and mentioned how sad he was to have to move on to a different advisor. Shortly after that, I accepted the job at Kelley and he remained my student. When he graduated last year, I wrote letters of recommendation for him to get into law school, which is where he is now. It was great to see him achieve a goal we’ve been planning for since his sophomore year.
Q: How do you spend your time outside Kelley?
Loren: My husband, Will, and I are totally homebodies. We have a two-year-old son, Collin, and we love spending time playing with him. I relax after Collin goes to bed and that’s when I watch Netflix or read YA (young adult) fiction. I also like to cross stich. I got into it when I was in graduate school. Social work doesn’t always have a “right” answer to problems or an easy conclusion but I discovered cross-stitching gave me an outlet for clear-cut solutions and simple instructions. I found it very soothing at the end of a challenging day.