Harper returns to her first love — NKU

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Kelly Harper graduated from NKU in 1991 with degrees in International Studies and History. Nine months later, she came back to NKU, this time as a staff member. From International Students Affairs to the Dean of Students office to her current position as Cooperative Education Coordinator, Ms. Harper relies on lessons she learned as a student.

Q: How did you decide to major in International Studies? What were you looking to do? A: I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that I loved….I have a great love for England and traveling over seas and that just was kind of my love. It was the royalty aspect. So, that’s kind of what started it.

Q: When you first started NKU, what did you think? A: I first started in 1987. I took a summer class to get acclimated with where everything was. I think being involved helped me get acclimated. Unless you have some connections, you don’t get to know your faculty members, you don’t get to know people on campus, people like me that are just waiting for someone to come in. That’s what helped me like Northern. It started becoming a home to me.

Q: Is there anything you didn’t like about NKU? A: I think we all get frustrated with the people that don’t get involved and then complain and whine about it. That was the big thing that drove me nuts.

Q: What made you come back to NKU to look for a job? A: I saw it in the paper and knew I liked working and doing that kind of stuff. I loved being on campus and being involved with things. It had some event planning and it also helping student get acclimated.

Q: Do you ever regret this path? A: I’m having a good time. I have the getting to do things with people aspect. And I get to see the international students when they want jobs.

Q: Do you have any advice-for students in general or students in International Studies? A: Get involved on campus. Get to know people. You never know when things will come back to help you. You never know who may have a contact for something you’re dying to do. You never know when a faculty member may know about your dream job and be able to help you out or give you some advice. You have to step out and expose yourself a little bit because the rewards are there. They may not happen right away, but down the road things will start happening because you made an effort.

Q: Any final thoughts? A: I look back and I can say I had a good time. I enjoyed it and I learned a lot and had fun. I came away with some skills that I think I use in my current job. Things I’d been involved with on campus that I’m still using in my daily life. That’s what we all hope for our degree-that we can use it down the road. That you will really get something out of it and I feel like I really do.