Dani Hailey recently led a group of prospective students into CSU’s Animal Sciences Building, pausing at a large glass mural.
While admiring depictions of Colorado plants and animals, Hailey explained that a current student created the impressive art installation. “CSU brings students into everything we do,” she told the tour group.
Hailey, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, has unusual ability to introduce potential students to such campus gems. The young scientist is among a cadre of undergraduate leaders who have worked as ambassadors for the Office of Admissions, leading tours for some 30,000 CSU visitors each year.
Beyond working as tour guides, admissions ambassadors represent one of the university’s most persuasive assets: its energetic, intelligent and caring student body. In this way, Hailey has helped draw other students and families to campus.
In fact, Hailey was so successful during two years as an ambassador that she was just promoted to a coordinator role, now training and supervising 50 new ambassadors.
“Dani was a pivotal member of the ambassador team, and now as a student coordinator, she’s leading the team,” said Luke Contreras, senior admissions counselor for campus visits in the Office of Admissions. “She’s a biomedical sciences student, which is one of the toughest majors on campus, and she played Division 1 softball for CSU. She’s had a lot of great experiences in academics and leadership and will now be inspiring new admissions ambassadors to be the reason why a student chooses CSU.”
A commitment to higher-ed inclusion
When leading tours, ambassadors share facts about CSU and weave in personal stories to highlight opportunities at the university.
Hailey was immediately drawn to leading tours for underprivileged high school students. “These tours are about showing at-risk youth what college is like and presenting it to them as an option,” Hailey explained. “That’s what really got me passionate about this program.”
A Fort Collins native and 2012 graduate of Rocky Mountain High School, Hailey felt lost when it came time to choose a college. “I had no idea what I was doing,” she admitted. “I was always interested in health care, but I didn’t have anyone to show me the way.”
She found personalized attention and support in the biomedical sciences undergraduate program and is inspired to work toward a career as a physician assistant, she said.
“Visitors raved about Dani’s authenticity and ability to share how the academic experience and CSU community shaped her,” said Erika Ryan, senior assistant director for campus visits in the Office of Admissions.
Opening doors of opportunity
Hailey recalled one tour in particular for at-risk high school students. She worried during the outing that one young man was terribly bored. After the tour, he told her, “I never thought that college was for someone like me, but you showed me that I could do it, too.”
She thinks the training and experiences she’s gained as an ambassador, and now as a coordinator, will help her interact successfully with future patients.
“I hope to continue to have a positive impact on people and their families,” Hailey said.