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Candidate for NACAC Delegate – Postsecondary 2013-2014

DJ MenifeeDJ Menifee Tony MinestraTony Minestra Stephanie SzczepanskiStephanie Szczepanski



DJ Menifee

DJ Menifee

Admission Counselor, Western Illinois University

B.S., Lees-McRae College; MS, Instructional Design and Technology, Western Illinois University (Spring 2013);
Certificate, Leadership in Enrollment Management, University of Southern California (Spring 2013)

IACAC Member: 5 years

Previous Employment:
Lees-McRae College, Assistant Director of Admission (2008);
wBall-State University, Assistant Director of Admission (2008–2011)

IACAC Activities:
Mentorship Committee: Member (2009–2012), Mentor/Mentee (2009–present);
Annual Conference: Attendee (2010–present), First-timers Luncheon Table Host (2009–2012), Entertainment Committee Member (2011–present), Entertainment
Committee Tri-Chair (2012–present);
College Awareness and Preparation Committee Member (2011–present);
Middle Management Institute: Attendee (2012), Committee Member (2012–present);
Summer Institute Committee Member (2012–present);
NACAC Chicago Fair Volunteer (2012);
Motivate Me—Young Men’s Conference Coordinator (2012–present)

NACAC Activities:

Other Professional Activities:
Chicago Area Regional Representatives Member (2011–present)

Candidate Statement:
It is an honor and a blessing to be considered for NACAC College Delegate and IACAC Executive Board. It is not every day that we are recognized by our fellow peers for our contribution to our profession. This moment will always be cherished and serve as motivation to continue being a thoughtful and impactful voice for my institution, the association, the prospective student dream, and our profession.

IACAC has assisted in broadening my views on higher education, developing my communication and networking skills, and expanding my roles and responsibilities. The association has also provided opportunities for me to learn from a stellar group of mentors, advisors, and colleagues. I have been able to help others grow and develop with committees like Mentorship and College Awareness & Preparation, while seeking my own development through the Annual Conference, Middle Management Institute, and Mentorship. My experiences have motivated me to continue to develop professionally by pursuing my master’s degree and a certificate in Enrollment Management, proposing new initiatives such as the young men’s conference, seeking out additional professionals I can learn from, and embracing opportunities to serve in a leadership capacity.

Our nation is facing a variety of challenges in higher education; the rise of tuition, demographic trends, the inflation of the GPA, and the disparity amongst race, socioeconomic status, and “the Have versus the Have not” institutions. On the other hand, bright ideas like “incentive plans” to push persistence and graduation, income- based loan plans to assist with default rates, non-cognitive assessments being used for admission decisions, the rise of “massive open online courses” and a variety of fixed-cost initiatives to assist students and families with managing cost, represent change. We have a responsibility as admission professionals to educate/inform students to the best of our abilities, prioritize student need and fit over quantified enrollment goals, and operate with integrity and transparency.

Serving as a NACAC Delegate will allow me to represent my institution, the association, and provide another opportunity to develop as an admission professional. My passion to guide students and my perspective on bringing upon change in an environment stuck on the status quo, will allow me to contribute to IACAC now and into the future. My goal is to be an advocate for change, improvement, and leveling the playing field as it relates to student access. Being recognized for such a position, serves as a tribute to those who helped me become the person I am today.


Tony MinestraTony Minestra

Assistant Director of Admissions, Elmhurst College

Bachelor’s Degree, Business and Urban Studies, Elmhurst College (2001);
M.B.A. in Management, Elmhurst College (Spring 2013)

IACAC Member: 5 years

Previous Employment:
Prior to my time in Admissions, I spent 4 years as an assistant football coach at my alma mater.

I transitioned to the Admissions Office in 2008 and I currently serve as the “voice of Bluejay football” as one half of the video/cable broadcast team.

IACAC Activities:
This year’s IACAC conference marks my 5th in as many years;
Moderated my first IACAC Conference session in 2010;
Annual Conference Session Presenter (2013);
Mentorship Committee Member;
Government Relations Committee Member;
Summer Institute Committee Member (NCC, WIU, and EC);
Summer Institute Session Presenter and Moderator (NCC and WIU);
Summer Institute Co-Chair (2012);
Summer Institute 2008 Alum, DePaul University

NACAC Activities:
Chicago National Fair Committee Member (2011, 2012, 2013);
MACAC (Michigan) Member (2008–present);
NACAC Conferences Attendee (St. Louis and New Orleans)

Other Professional Activities:
Staff leader for new student orientation;
Staff Mentor for Steps to Success Program for Academically At-Risk Students;
Family cluster facilitator for Leadershape Institute (National college student-focused leadership organization);
Habitat for Humanity On-Site Supervisor for Alternative Spring Break

Candidate Statement:
Music can be a powerful metaphor. Weaving classic Beatles lyrics throughout my candidate statement in last year’s program, I drew on the lads from Liverpool for inspiration to tell my IACAC tale. A year later, I’ll let another musician help sail my story to shore (so to speak)…

“Where it all ends I can’t fathom, my friends, if I knew, I just might toss out my anchor.” In 1978, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band recorded this little ditty on Son of a Sailor, the title track of their 9th studio album. Like a wayward traveler drifting the open seas, I found my port of call in higher education 5 years ago. And while I can’t be sure where these waves will guide me professionally, I have learned to trust my inner compass.

On finding your way in the world, Buffett once said, “If life gives you limes, make margaritas.” Lost in open waters in my younger years, I washed ashore in College

Admissions by chance, and in the process, reconnected with myself and discovered my passion. It’s a passion rooted in genuine concern for young learners still finding their way in the world (searching for their own “lost shaker of salt”). It’s a passion to provide a path to those that seek enrichment through education and experience. Like many in our organization, College Admissions was never on my map, but my soul needed some fresh air… so I took a deep breath and set a new course.

On the 1977 classic, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, the Mayor of Margaritaville spun this line: “Oh, yesterdays are over my shoulder, so I can’t look back for too long. There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can’t go wrong.” Now wading into deeper waters in my 5th year as a counselor, I have developed some perspective, a stronger sense of solidarity and direction. I can’t wait to discover what islands are on the horizon—guided by passion, purpose, and a little bit of chance—As the Prince of the Parrotheads crooned on his 1999 live album: “With a little love and luck, you will get by.”

Through it all, IACAC has been the lighthouse breaking the fog, guiding me through the storm, past the reef, and towards my island in the sun. And without my incredible team at Elmhurst, I would still be drifting on the trade winds—no one can sail the seas alone. So, it humbles me to be considered for this position among the folks whom I respect and lean on most often. I look forward to giving back to the organization that has helped me to discover my path, and to hopefully help a few others find the same inspiration along the way.

Buffett puts it best on his 1996 album Banana Wind with this lyric: “Some people never find it, some only pretend, but I just want to live… happily ever after, now and then.”

Thank you so much for the consideration.


Stephanie SzczepanskiStephanie Szczepanski

Program Coordinator, Saint Louis University

B.S., Loyola University Chicago;
M.Ed., Loyola University Chicago

IACAC Member: 11 years

Previous Employment:
Mother McAuley High School, College Counselor (2005–2008);
Loyola University Chicago, Admission Counselor, Program Coordinator (2002–2005)

IACAC Activities:
Evaluations Committee: Member (2012–present), Co-Chair (2013);
Tellers Committee: Member (2003–present), Co-Chair (2011, 2012);
First Timers Committee Member, (2011, 2013);
Membership Committee (2011–present);
Registration Committee Member (2004–2010);
Annual Conference: Attendee (2003-present), Presenter (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)

NACAC Activities:
Attended NACAC (Milwaukee, St. Louis and New Orleans);
Volunteered in St. Louis

Other Professional Activities:
Chicago Area Regional Representative (C.A.R.R.) Member (2005–present), Executive Board Social Chair (2011–present);
Noel Levitz Conference (2012);
ACT Conference (2004);
Annapolis Institute (2004);
IACAC Summer Institute (2002)

Candidate Statement:
I feel truly blessed and honored to be nominated as a potential delegate to represent IACAC on the national level. There are so many things that I am thankful for within this profession. I started my career in admissions on my birthday in the summer of 2002.

I made a career change and went from an insurance adjuster to an admission counselor for Loyola University Chicago. My first day at Loyola coincided with the first day of the IACAC Summer Institute. I knew I made the right decision when Molly Arnold spoke to us about how she came into this career from the insurance field. I felt a connection to her story and I knew I was in the right place. My first year, I fell in love with this profession and the people within it. This ignited a fire in me to be involved. Since that point, I have volunteered at every conference. I have been privileged to work on both the high school and college side of the admission process. I feel working on both sides of the desk has given me a unique understanding and provided mentors that have truly helped shape me into who I am today. Over the years, I have worked with students from various states and backgrounds. I have had the opportunity to work with the entire spectrum of socioeconomic levels, first generation and undocumented students. I understand their various issues and concerns and have always made it a priority to keep the student at the heart of the situation.

I have served for the past year and a half on the executive board of the Chicago Area Regional Representatives and as a conference committee co-chair at IACAC for the past three years. These leadership positions have given me the outstanding opportunity to serve a large number of students within the state of Illinois. I hope to work for the students and families learning and researching issues that affect all of us on a state and national level. As your NACAC delegate, I will make sure to continue to put the needs of IACAC and our students first. I will represent you with compassion, sensitivity and excitement for our future. I look forward to many continuous years of growth and opportunity through my involvement with IACAC, CARR and NACAC. Thank you again for your consideration.

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