Jennifer Malin becomes ‘dorm mom’ to 200
Jennifer Malin once walked across the campus of Seward County Community College as a music education major. Today, she serves as Director of Student Housing, a job she started just a month before students arrive on campus. The Liberal native says the position brings her full-circle in life.
“It’s a big change, going from mom of two to dorm mom of 200,” she said, “but it is the right thing at the right time.” This summer, Malin applied for the position after more than a decade in the retail cellular phone industry, left her spacious home and moved an apartment in the Student Living Center.
As director of housing, she will oversee daily life in the college’s three housing options, the Student Living Center, the Mansions, and Hale Court. In addition to keeping an eye on logistical details like key cards, laundry facilities, and the noise level, Malin will also be on the front lines of student life — that is, the lives of individual students. This aspect of her job is one close to her heart.
“Being a young adult wasn’t easy then, and I think it might be harder now,” she said. “I hope to be a positive figure in the lives of our students, being kind but also honest. I don’t sugar coat things.” Malin speaks from experience.
“I had some struggles,” she says. “When I was a student at SCCC, I quit when I was just a few classes away from my degree because I was pregnant.”
Malin treasures her daughters Jessica and Aspen, noting “I’m a mom first.” Even so, she points out, “hindsight is 20-20, and I wish I could tell my younger self a few things.”
Today, she said, “my daughters are still living at the house, and they have been teasing me, saying, ‘Who thought Mom would fly the nest before we did?’”
With housing assistants Paul Fischer and Tyler Mangels, and helpful tips from her predecessor Kate Mulligan, Malin is ready for her new adventure.
“They’ve all been wonderful, and know their stuff,” she said. “The dorms are really quiet right now but they’ve already told me that’s not going to last long. It’s going to be exciting.”
Vice president of student services Celeste Donovan agrees.
“We are very fortunate to have Jennifer come on board,” she said. “Someone with her life and professional experience will offer a lot to our students, who are in the process of learning to be independent adults. They’re lucky to have Jennifer as a resource.”