By Daniel Makauskas
Bret Shambo, 24, has been a lead manager in Kutztown University’s Telecounseling Program since its inception two years ago. KU’s admissions department created the program to address the growing enrollment and retention issues at the university.
Shambo plays a key role in managing the students who make phone calls and helping high school seniors get their first taste of KU. Thanks to Shambo’s leadership and efforts, Telecounseling has quickly grown from a project into a fully established program.
With the end of the academic year, the Telecounseling Program made a high volume of calls to recruit the high school seniors who still have not decided their academic future. Whether the potential student says “yes” or “no” to attending KU, these calls still provide information that the university can use to plan housing, dining and academic arrangements for the upcoming year.
In his first year of graduate school at KU, Shambo was recognized as a “student leader” on campus and was asked to join the, then experimental, Telecounseling Project. He thought it was a great opportunity and immediately accepted.
Shambo manages a team of over 15 telecounselors who work five days a week on the fifth floor of Old Main. These students are using a very advanced computer program to keep record of all the calls called “Velocify.”
When asked what she thought of working in the vacant fifth floor of Old Main, sophomore telecounselor Kelsey Hanlon said, “I think it’s a little creepy up there, but it is quiet and peaceful. It’s a great environment to get work done and make calls!”
Whether or not the telecounselors find the Old Main to be “creepy,” they have nothing but positive words for Shambo.
Junior telecounselor Samantha Dornauer said, “I love working with Bret. He is a very efficient and knowledgeable manager. He really helps to keep this program thriving.”
Shambo is originally from Catasauqua, Pa. and even though he did not always want to work with students, he is currently in KU’s graduate program majoring in Student Affairs.
Shambo said that he originally came to KU because it was “cheap and close to home.” After Shambo switched his major from communication design to sociology in his sophomore year, he realized that he had always wanted to work with people.
Shortly after switching to sociology, he applied for the KU Connections Orientation Program. His love for student affairs almost instantaneously developed while working with Connections because he was able to work with new students and help them get their first taste of the university. Connections became the driving force that inspired Shambo to enroll in the Student Affairs graduate program.
Shambo uses a lot of his experiences from Connections to mentor and manage his team of telecounselors.
“My favorite part of this job is giving students their first positive experience at Kutztown,” he said.
He also believes “Kutztown is on the right track toward improving life on campus for first year students and the university as a whole.”