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Ryan McKenney


Ryan McKenney
Class of 2015
History and Political Science
The Commons

Why did you apply to be an RA?

I applied to become an RA because I had a wonderful RA freshman year and his name was Trevor Gellar. He introduced me to so many different sides of Vanderbilt and I give him so much credit as I wouldn’t be as involved or happy at this school without his mentorship, guidance and, most importantly, friendship. I wanted to make a similar difference in the lives of my residents, to program with campus partners, and to be a leader on the Commons and the campus.

How has being an RA changed your experience at Vanderbilt?

Being a resident advisor and now an HR has vastly changed my Vanderbilt experience for the better. I have met so many amazing students, professors, and administrators, not to mention countless community leaders and philanthropist strictly through my role as an RA. I love being able to mentor residents and then have them become some of your best friends. I love making connections with faculty members when programming for house events, and I love seeing residents old and new around campus and having them say to their friends–”that’s my RA/HR.” The job gives me so much fulfillment on a variety of levels and I couldn’t be happier to be employed by Residential Education at Vanderbilt.

What are the best things about working in your area of campus?

I truly believe that the Commons is one of the most amazing residential experiences in the history of higher education and it puts Vanderbilt on another level than its peer institutions. Being a Commons RA and now HR allows me to work with a foot in Residential Education Department as well as the Dean of the Ingram Commons’ Office. It is a distinct pleasure to serve first years and introduce them to Vanderbilt at large as well as to the myriad of resources available to them and the organizations with which I am involved. Commons has so much support not only for the residents, but for the RAs as well. I am so lucky to be able to serve with an involved faculty head, engaged staff members, and residents who truly appreciate and love the Commons experience.

Why do you think others should apply to be an RA?

I cannot endorse the RA position enough. Being an RA opens so many doors socially and professionally and allows for growth in every level of a college student’s life. I am so happy to be an RA and recommend it to anyone who wants to grow their friend and social base, feel fulfilled as a mentor, and fully understand what it is like to work on a team of students dedicated to making their university better not only for themselves, but for all Vanderbilt students.