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Friday, November 09, 2012 - Take 5 with Casey Berkshire
By Katie Land, news editor

Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.

“Take 5 with Casey Berkshire”

Casey Berkshire is the assistant director of advising outreach for the First Year Advising Center. She is a recent addition to the Oakland University community, having come on board this July. Casey is new to the state as well, having grown up, gone to school and worked in the Carolinas. In her previous post, Casey served as the director of Freshman Academic Programs at Clemson University, a position that translates well to her new responsibilities. In the new First Year Advising Center, Casey has a number of administrative and managerial responsibilities, in addition to advising new students. She has now settled in Troy with her fiancé Cary, and two Bassett hounds, Elka Mae and Wilshire Monroe.

1) Why is it important to have a center dedicated to working with students through their first year at school?

Students make a decision about where they want to graduate from in their first year of college. The first year gives them a taste of what’s to come, what the expectations are, and now to best navigate this great, big world—and it is not at all what they expect. College doesn’t necessarily look and feel the way many students imagine it will. In the First Year Advising Center, we represent what a student knows as OU. We take that responsibility seriously, so the interaction students have with us must be positive, helpful and supportive. There are really great students here that I want to see them become Oakland alumni. The first year each student spends at school will decide the rest of their college experience.

2) What are your top three favorite fictional characters (in movies, books, television, comics, cartoons)?

  • The Little Mermaid because she was such a dreamer and wanted to “break the mold” of her circumstances!
  • The Giving Tree, was he/she an actual character!? 
  • Clair Dunphy because she always finds a way to hold that crazy "Modern Family" together!

3) What do you enjoy most about working at Oakland?

When I first saw the posting, I knew that this would be a job worth coming to Michigan for. Having never lived anywhere but the south, I knew it would be different here, but I love it! The people are genuinely nice and authentically warm and welcoming. Hands down, the best part of my job is working with the students. I prefer to be working with students to anything else I do. We are all here to serve them, and they are all so great. I learn so much from the students here! It’s never a boring day in the FYAC! Each freshman student has their own adviser in our office, and they often come in when they hit a bump in the road and need some help, but they the also come to celebrate with us when they do well. We are able to build relationships and get to know each student through a really personalized approach. We try to remember students’ interests so we can send them new or interesting information or events they may want to attend. I personally advise 168 students, but an academic adviser in the FYAC typically works with roughly 350 students. We want students to know that we are here to support them through challenges, and to advocate for them as they navigate the first year at OU.

4) What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?

Oh I’d like to get up late and go out to breakfast. I like to spend time with my Cary, take the dogs for a walk through downtown Birmingham or catch a movie. Sunday is life at a relaxed pace, where we don’t have to go or be or do. It can be difficult to carve out that nice quality time with each other during the week, and Sundays are a time we can focus on those interactions that are important. I can cook dinner and relax. Sundays are one 24-hour period where I get to do as I please.

5) What is something you are looking forward to? Event, holiday, movie, meal, anything!

The Michigan winter, and all it encompasses! I’ve never had a real winter before and I am looking forward to experiencing the cider, donuts, snow, new boots, the bitter cold, and all that entails, and some things I don’t even know about yet—the adventure of experiencing something new. Our hound dogs have never seen snow, so it will be interesting for them too!