Leading the pack: Working from behind the scenes, Sutton’s goal is to make student’s dreams come true

Leading the Pack is a regular feature that highlights faculty and staff members who go above and beyond to fulfill SIU’s Mission. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured, fill out our nomination form.

After working in undergraduate admissions for over 15 years, Amanda Sutton knows a little bit about solving behind the scenes problems.

As the associate director of operations for undergraduate admissions, Sutton spends most of her time navigating records and reports. Yet, from her perspective, every file and piece of paper is just a representation of how far a student can go and how much they can achieve.

“The opportunities and experiences students get at SIU is what truly makes us stand out,” Sutton said. “This makes us unique, because even at an undergraduate level students get practical experience.”

Passionate about student experience

Graduating with two degrees in speech communication from SIU, Sutton is passionate because she knows how the hands-on work can pay off in the end.

“I had professors that helped me get experience,” Sutton said. “I walked out of here with more than just a degree; I left with things on my resume and in my portfolio.”

As Sutton spends most of her day with student records and paperwork, her favorite part is working with the information so students can reach their goals.

“So many times you have to look deeper and investigate to get everything set up for the student and the program,” Sutton said. “It’s a challenge, and there is something really rewarding about finally getting all the pieces together and solving the puzzle.”

Her perspective is unique, because not only does she have a part in the recruiting and initial communication, but at the end of it all she gets to look at the numbers and see the results. This keeps her optimistic about the future and focused on what matters the most.

“My main motivation is the students,” Sutton said. “I love seeing the students come and have their life changed and then go on to do great things as a result.”

Focused on the people around her

Sutton’s next passion is for the dedicated people who work alongside her. She not only leads in admissions, but she also oversees the admissions processing and communications teams made up of multiple full-time staff members and 20-25 student workers. She credits the inspiring work environment for much of the success in the department.

“I work with some of the hardest working people I have ever met in my life,” Sutton said. “They care so deeply about getting things right for the students; it really motivates you to do everything you can to help the team.”

Whether it is navigating a new tech program or uncovering buried records, Sutton knows her team is ready to face the challenge as long as they keep working together and remain dedicated to the students.

Rooted in the community

While originally from Alton, Illinois, Sutton came to Carbondale for school and then fell in love with the area. She purchased an old home that she is renovating and working to restore to its former glory. When she is not on campus or busy with a paintbrush, she loves exploring Giant City State Park and hanging out at the lodge.