We’d all like to think we bring rainbows and unicorns into people’s lives every day.
Jacqui Goldring puts most ordinary humans to shame in this category.
Meet this year’s Career Center Student Supervisor of the Year – one of nine Career Impact Award honorees selected by the Career Center out of 140 campus-wide nominations.
Officially, she is the Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment Programs for the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. Unofficially, she is the den mother of the college’s student ambassadors.
A beacon for student engagement
Pink metallic tinsel streamers in her doorway emote warm fuzzies along with glitter, pink feathery boas, gold accents and pictures of puppies scattered throughout her office. On the desk and in her bookcase? You guessed it: Unicorns and rainbows.
Her colleagues know when she’s having a meeting because there’s lots of loud laughter and silliness – anything to make students feel welcome and stress-free.
“Jacqui is the type of person who can light up a room in a second. When I am around her, I feel supported, optimistic and valued,” said Katie Gaughan, a senior Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering major who works for Goldring as a student ambassador. “One of the things I love most is that I know I can go to Jacqui with any concerns or questions I have, and she will talk to me with an open mind. Jacqui makes me feel empowered and confident as a student and ambassador.”
Added Rachael Johnson, Manager of Strategic Recruitment Initiatives, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by visiting students and families if Jacqui is ‘always this enthusiastic,’ or if it’s just for them. Of course, we all know that she is always this way! Her positivity, enthusiasm, and energy are so much fun, and also serve an important purpose: Jacqui is a pro at making those around her feel welcome and included. She provides a true experience for students and families versus a simple tour or presentation.”
Goldring says helping guide students through a complicated process motivates her after her own experiences in college. She decided she was going to study acting at Julliard. Her backup plan when she blew her callback? Er, there wasn’t one.
“I had literally no idea what I was doing through the whole college search process,” she said.
Connecting students to resources
She was introduced to university admissions – and her husband Sam – while studying acting in London. She worked as an admissions counselor at Middlesex University, a program that trained student nurses and midwives for the National Health Service.
“I got to see the impact people could have if you’re able to connect them to the right opportunities,” Goldring said. “I’m a connector. I think all of that just goes to my love of people.”
She’s a bit of a renaissance woman with a resume that includes event planning, owning her own pastry business and admissions marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree from CSU in Liberal Arts and will graduate in May with her master’s in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management. Over the winter break, she went to Ghana with her class to work with local communities.
“What keeps me coming back is the strength and resiliency that I see in our students and the capacity they have to make the world a better place,” she said. “Seeing the creative problem-solving and the innovation is really inspiring to me. If I can be that person to offer a scholarship or connect them to resources, to help a little bit, that makes it all worthwhile.”
Goldring has instituted two fun traditions at the student ambassador staff meetings: A Rammy statue goes to the student who has made the most Ram Calls to admitted or prospective students, which is a very coveted award in a friendly competition that inspires productivity. The Golden Pineapple service award (a spray-painted gold plastic pineapple) goes to a student who has exemplified customer service.
An encouraging mentor
“Jacqui is truly unique and our engineering program is so fortunate to have her on the team,” said Anthony Marchese, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. “She has boundless energy and enthusiasm, she develops strong relationships and becomes an instant advocate for every prospective student she meets, she is media and technology savvy and, most importantly, she is a magnificent role model and mentor for our engineering student ambassadors.”
The week before Spring Break, coronavirus forced Goldring and the entire Engineering Student Success Center team into a frenzy to prepare rattled students for a new world of online learning. That Friday, Goldring said goodbye to her student ambassadors and cried.
“Now, more than ever, we need each other,” she said. “I look at our ambassador team. There’s a true sense of family and people do care for one another. That’s the most important thing for me right now.”
In her nomination of Goldring for the Career Center award, Sami Fischer, a senior in Civil Engineering, mentioned a wonderful conversation she had with Goldring in the fall.
“I learned about her as more than just a supervisor, but as a person with her own background, passions, and dreams for the future. From then on, I think Jacqui has been more of a mentor and a great friend than simply my manager. I can talk to her about anything, and she is the most inviting, perceptive, and encouraging woman a student could ask for. I always walk away from our conversations full of joy and validation, with a smile spreading from ear-to-ear. We love Jacqui!”