The new additions to Ozarks' Student Life Office, Emma Bottorff, Jeff Massanelli, and Brittany Bergeron, share a vision of active and influential student programming at Ozarks and each brings a variety of experiences to help make that vision a reality.
Bottorff, a 2009 Ozarks graduate and new director of student activities, spent the last three years working with Best Buy, where she honed her skills as a leader and a professional.
Originally from Farmington, Ark., Bottorff received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing.
"I got involved in a lot of things early on at Ozarks, but Student Foundation Board (SFB) was the perfect fit for me. I loved being able to organize events on campus and work with prospective students. I developed a lot of important skills, especially during my senior year when I acted as SFB president and had to manage over 60 members," Bottorff said.
When Bottorff began her job search, it wasn’t her business experience that sold her to her prospective employers, but rather the leadership experience she had gained at Ozarks, particularly through SFB.
"About a month after graduation, I interviewed for a part-time position with Best Buy," she said. "They told me I was way over-qualified and asked if I might be interested in a supervisor position."
After three years and a steady climb up the retail ladder, Bottorff began to question her future in retail.
"I loved Best Buy and I loved the family I formed there, but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my career in retail. When I began thinking about making a career move, I realized that the happiest I had ever been and the things I had enjoyed most had happened at Ozarks, specifically working with Student Foundation Board and the student life office," Bottorff said.
When Bottorff was offered the position of director of student activities, she jumped at the chance to return to Ozarks.
Emma Bottorff, Jeff Massanelli, and Brittany Bergeron, share a vision of active and influential student programming at Ozarks and each brings a variety of experiences to help make that vision a reality.
"So many of my favorite memories are centered on student leadership, and now I get to work on the other side of that," she said. "Now, I get to see what I can bring to the table to help develop students’ skills the same way mine were."
Bottorff isn’t about to let any of her experience---at Ozarks or beyond---go un-utilized.
"One of things I’m really excited about is using some of the things that helped me be successful in the corporate world and incorporating those into student programming. I want to talk to business leaders to find out what they expect from college graduates and using that information to shape what kind of activities we offer our students," Bottorff said.
Bottorff knows that, given her myriad responsibilities, nothing would be accomplished without the help of the residential life staff.
"The resident assistants and residential directors are out in the residence halls with the students every day," she explained. "They keep a close eye on what our students are responding to…what works and what doesn’t."
Two such key people are new Resident Directors Massanelli and Bergeron.
Massanelli, originally from Scott, Ark., received his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Arkansas Tech University and is the new resident director of King Hall. Massanelli, along with his team of resident assistants, work with first-year students as they transition into college life.
"This is my first year as a resident director. I was a resident assistant during my time at Arkansas Tech but never a director, so I’m still transitioning into that leadership role," he said. "Being on a campus like Ozarks, though, makes it much easier. From the first day I stepped on campus, I loved it here. I also love working with freshmen. The want and need to be more involved. It makes my job fun."
Massanelli didn’t waste time getting his group of freshmen geared up to participate on campus.
"We’ve already done a lot of programs designed to really let students get to know one another and make everybody feel at home, like a massive Ping-Pong tournament, a dating questions panel, and setting up a coffee shop downstairs," Massanelli said.
The rest of the staff in the student life office has taken notice of the success.
"We’ve really noticed this freshman class stepping up to get involved on campus. They seem genuinely excited to be a part of Ozarks activities," Bottorff commented.
Across campus, Bergeron is pushing for the same success with the upperclassmen in MacLean Hall.
Bergeron, originally from Maryland, received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Coker College in Hartsville, S.C. and her master’s degree in social work from University of Maryland at Baltimore.
Bergeron, like Massanelli, may not have been an Ozarks student, but she is excited to be a part of campus life now.
"My goal for MacLean is to bring the students closer together," she said. "The upperclassmen don’t need as much guidance as freshman. They are pretty self-sufficient, so I really want to focus programs that will build a better community in MacLean Hall."
Bergeron’s social work background makes her particularly well-suited to working with college students.
"As an undergrad, I was a resident assistant and also involved in Student Government Association and Residence Hall Association, so I have experience dealing with college students on a residential basis. I also worked with the Child Advocacy Center in Baltimore, which taught me how to be compassionate when helping students solve personal issues," Bergeron said.
Bottorff, Massanelli, and Bergeron may be drawing from different experiences and using different techniques, but they are all working toward the same goal: a more involved, more effectual residential experience.