Saluki Pride: Rita Medina connects with students to help them succeed

Get to know RITA MEDINA

Name: Rita Medina

Department/Title: Undergraduate Advisement / academic adviser.

Years at SIU Carbondale: 7 years.

Give us the elevator pitch for your job.

I started at SIU in registration and admissions, then served as the recruitment and retention coordinator for the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. I started in advising for the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology and Mathematics in September of 2021 to have the opportunity to interact more with students one-on-one and hear more about their personal experiences at SIU. I also get to meet with faculty and learn about curriculum and the way it’s developed with students’ long-term success in mind.

What is the favorite part of your job?

I love working with students one-on-one. I’ve learned a lot in my seven years at SIU and I love being able to help solve problems, big and small. It can be a challenge to keep up with all the students and the emails coming in to try and get it all done in a timely fashion, but luckily, there’s a large network of colleagues to help me out when I’m in need.

Why did you choose SIU?

I’ve worked all over the country, but the opportunity came up to come a little closer to family in the Chicago area. At the time, I wasn’t sure where I’d fit here at SIU, but it’s been such a learning experience to be in an area of the country with such a diverse and unique makeup of students; people from rural and urban areas, first generation students and legacy students with several Salukis in the family — but all hungry to find their place, too.

If I had one wish it would be … and why.

I think it’s a common wish across campus. We wish we had more resources and time to be able to serve our students better. It would be amazing to have every student that starts at SIU walk across that stage at graduation and proudly say “I’m a Saluki!” It’s cheesy, I know, but student success equals SIU’s success and we’re all trying to do what we can to improve and reach the same goal.

My fondest memory as a child was …

Honestly, I was a very shy, sensitive and anxious kid, but with a lot of creativity. So, a lot of my childhood memories are pretty embarrassing and usually include me crying a lot. But, if I had to pick a positive one… Our family often hosted big family Christmas Eve gatherings for both sides of our very large family and I fondly remember my Tio Arturo coming downstairs dressed as Santa to hand out presents to all of us at midnight on Christmas Eve. He was always cracking jokes, purposely mispronouncing the kids’ names, making up stories. He was always the life of the party! He passed away when I was 12, but he made a big impression on me and I still miss him to this day.

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