The Mission of NAGAP is to support, advance and engage graduate enrollment professionals by promoting integrity, excellence and collaboration through education and professional development.
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, Sam Houston State University
Education: BA in English from the University of Kansas
Mary Pascarella, NAGAP Conference Committee member, serves as the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions at Same Houston State University, where she has worked for the past five years. As Associate Director, Mary’s primary responsibilities include overseeing the office’s CRM system for application processes and providing support to the university’s graduate faculty. One of her favorite parts of the job is the relationships and collegiality developed within her work group. She also enjoys the software implementation projects she has worked on over the years.
Mary has been a NAGAP member for 7 years. She joined because of NAGAP’s reputation as the leading association for graduate enrollment management professionals. In addition to her affiliation with the national organization, Mary is a member of TXGAP (Texas Graduate Enrollment Management Professionals) and tries to attend their annual meeting every year. She has attended three annual conferences and each year learned something new. She also quickly came to the realization that graduate enrollment management (GEM) is a very broad field and there is not a “one size fits all” approach to the work. Mary values NAGAP because of the networking opportunities a membership provides – whether it’s a group of colleagues to reach out to for help or a safe place to share information and new ideas. “Each year I’ve met new people that are smart, talented, interesting and genuine. I love this organization and the people in it.” Her favorite NAGAP memory is hearing Tererai Trent at NAGAP’s Annual Conference in New Orleans in 2018. “Hearing about her commitment through so many hardships to achieve her education was very powerful,” said Mary about the keynote speaker.
Like many others, Mary’s path to a career in GEM was non-traditional. She’s a computer trainer and technical writer by trade and entered into higher education via a consulting gig in the field. “I ended up staying because I liked the chaos,” she says. Clearly she found her passion by combining her technical prowess with the human side of GEM.
When asked what advice she might give to someone new to graduate enrollment, Mary said: “Ask questions – that dialog is more important than having the answer.” This advice would be well-suited to prospective and admitted student as well.
Mary is more than just a GEM professional. She confesses that at 52 her hobbies are waning and her “homebody mode” is kicking in. That said – she is a bit of a backyard bird enthusiast and helped establish the “Save the Jones State Forest” organization in her community. While Mary may have arrived at her GEM position via a somewhat circuitous route, she clearly found her calling (work, not bird) and is excelling in her role at Sam Houston State University. And, when not supporting her faculty – she is home supporting her bucolic surroundings in Jones State Park.