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Orientation leaders win awards

June 14, 2007

Kingsbury and Arnone pose in front of the largest collection of gators at San Francisco State At any university, new students face the challenge of making a smooth transition into an unfamiliar environment. Lucky for SF State freshmen and transfer students, on-campus orientation programs offer award-winning professionals to assist fledgling Gators.

Karen Kingsbury (B.A. '88, M.A. '89), director of new student programs, was named Outstanding Orientation Professional of the Year and senior Michele Arnone received the Outstanding Orientation Student Leadership Award from the National Orientation Directors Association. The nationally-recognized award winners are chosen from such universities as Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Southern California.

"San Francisco State is one of the leading innovators in campus orientations, both technical and the nuts and bolts," Kingsbury said, adding that SF State's virtual orientation is a model for other campuses to follow.

Kingsbury began as a student assistant in the Advising Center 18 years ago and now runs the GatorAider program, a group of students trained to act as peer advisers for new students and their families during summer and winter orientations. GatorAiders conduct campus tours, explain University requirements, check new student academic progress records and, above all, provide a positive role model for incoming students.

"They do a phenomenal ambassador job for San Francisco State, and they always make the campus look good," Kingsbury said. "Helping people has to be your top priority."

"I have nothing but praise for both Karen and Michele," Frieda Lee, Director of Student Outreach Services (SOS) said. "Having Michele singled out really makes us proud to be associated with her. Her campus tours are unsurpassed. She's a wonderful University outreach representative."

Arnone, GatorAider funding coordinator and former club president, juggles pre-med classes, a part-time job at SOS and regular campus tours. A delighted parent recently sent SOS a thank-you letter, noting Arnone as a positive, exemplary SF State student. "I really like interacting with people," Arnone said, adding that her fellow GatorAiders create a home away from home.

"The GatorAiders are more like a family than just a bunch of people who take a class together," Kingsbury said. "I've been to marriages of GatorAiders. They frequently become roommates and lifelong friends."

-- Student Writer Lisa Rau with Miles Orkin


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Last modified June 14, 2007 by University Communications