From student to staff member: alumna returns home

Favorite on-campus eatery: Mexicali
Favorite color: pink
Favorite professor: Karen Sorensen-Lang
Favorite animal: peacock
Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon

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With an intense passion and excitement for the university, class of 2013 alumna Shayna Youngs makes the leap from student to staff member as she takes on the position of the newest Freshman Admissions Counselor for the 2013-14 school year.

Youngs graduated with a degree in communication studies with an interpersonal emphasis, and a journalism minor. She was actively involved in campus life. She served as a resident advisor in two different living areas, a community advisor in Trinity Hall, an admissions receptionist and a campus tour guide. During her freshman year she was also on the cheerleading team.

During her brief period away from APU after graduation, Youngs pursued a managerial internship with Nordstrom in Santa Barbara but also applied for the job of admissions counselor.

“It had always been something that intrigued me, [to be] able to bring people to a place I love so much,” Youngs said. “I was contacted by a mentor about a month into my Nordstrom internship saying that there was an opening in the admissions office and that I should apply.”

After much prayer, Youngs applied and got the job within a month.

Youngs chose APU for very specific reasons when she was a prospective freshman and is excited to help new prospective students make the decisions themselves.

“The reason why I chose APU as a student was because I was looking at a bunch of different private Christian schools, and I was really new in my faith, and I knew that APU would be the perfect culture for me to be able to grow within my faith with the resources that they offered,” Youngs said.

Youngs said she was so transformed by her experiences at APU that at first she was scared to leave the place she called home.

“The thought of being able to come back and serve is a really exciting transition for me,” she said.

Youngs said that her work in admissions changes depending on the season. In the current season of recruiting, Youngs’ job is to make presentations at high schools and at college fairs in both the Bay Area and the Central Coast to promote and answer questions about APU.

“As an admissions counselor, you are bringing the life of APU to students who have never stepped foot on campus, and it’s really important to paint the picture of not only what it looks like to be a student, but also a part of this community,” Youngs said.

Youngs frequently gets questions about APU’s transition from an NAIA school to an NCAA school, and about specific major options offered here. Youngs said her biggest piece of advice for prospective freshmen is to visit the campus.

“It’s really important for them to come to the school and understand what the culture is like, and if that culture will be a culture that will enable them to grow as a student at the time that they’re done with their four years, or if it will not be the best fit for them,” Youngs said.

Although Youngs is excited about the transition from student to staff member, it doesn’t come without its difficulties, which at least have turned into great stories.

“I am learning how to use an office phone and just yesterday when I was dialing 91 to call an 800 number, I called 911 twice by accident and the dispatcher called me back,” Youngs said with a chuckle.

With a new challenge and new career path, Youngs is excited for the opportunity and growth ahead despite the difficult office phone.

“I’m really excited to develop relationships with potential students about a place that I have loved for so long, and then also grow in my professionalism and being a staff member on campus, which will be a completely different role for me,” Youngs said.

At the end of her job interview, Youngs was asked why she wanted to work at APU instead of furthering her future at Nordstrom. According to Youngs’ blog, she said, “I would much rather sell APU over a pair of shoes any day. APU is where I found my faith and it changed every ounce of who I am today.”