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Meet the ETSU Residence Life director

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Aug 27, 2019 at 11:15 PM

Adrianna Guram, associate director for residence life at East Tennessee State University, has been with the university for nearly six years now. In that time, she said she’s enjoyed working with an “incredible team” on a unique campus that feels “just right.”

The ETSU graduate and 2001 University Honors Scholar emailed the Johnson City Press to tell us more about her work, her opinions on higher education and her personal interests.

Fast Facts: 

Hobbies: “I like to read, spend time with family and friends, and play board games. I am also a sports fan, most strongly the Green Bay Packers.”

Favorite music genre: “I have an eclectic taste in music, ranging from Broadway show tunes to R&B. It truly depends on my mood that day.”

Favorite local restaurants: Sahib and Cootie Brown’s.

Dogs or cats: “I love both, but I am more of a cat person.”

Pet peeves: “I really dislike sitting in traffic. Although I’m not sure that I’ve ever met anyone who does!”

What do you like most about your work?

I work with an incredible team of people in the Department of Housing and Residence Life, who truly care about the experiences of our campus residents. We have created programs and initiatives that are focused on getting to know our residents personally so that we can connect them to the resources that best address their needs. My colleagues in the Division of Student Life and Enrollment, and those across Academic Affairs, work in collaboration with us in Housing and Residence Life to make a difference in the lives of students; we help them to become active on campus in and out of the classroom so that they stay enrolled and graduate from ETSU.

What do you think makes ETSU a unique campus?

I went to ETSU as an undergraduate, and I feel like we were “just right” – I still feel this way about it. ETSU offers the benefits of being at a larger institution (for example, access to undergraduate research, innovative academic and social programs, and a robust on-campus housing and dining experience), while also having the benefits of an institution that is small enough for people to get to know you. At ETSU, I want to get to know our students, so that we can offer them the support they need to help them succeed.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges at ETSU and higher ed campuses in general? 

I do not know that I would say issues at ETSU are any different than most campuses. Focuses on enrollment are issues everywhere, particularly as students have a variety of choices in their attendance. Student success, particularly retention to graduation, is a focus not only for ETSU but for all of higher education. Whether vocational/technical education or a 4-year degree, one challenge we all face is equipping students with the skills and abilities to be engaged citizens of the world, who are able to pursue a life they find fulfilling.

What qualities should people have to work at a university? 

Working at a university requires you to be a caring person who is interested in helping students to be successful. In my department, we work with students 24/7, which I consider a unique experience. Working at a university gives you the opportunity to be a part of shaping someone’s future. It is a career that I feel fortunate to have.

What are your plans after working at ETSU?

I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree (in higher education leadership at Colorado State University), but I do not have a plan to not be at ETSU. Working at my alma mater is something that I feel honored to do. 

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