This past fall, Anikka returned to Fay seven years after her graduation to join the staff as a dorm parent and Admissions Officer. Being on the other side of the student/faculty relationship has been exciting and inspiring for her. She has been pleased to see many skills she developed at Fay become important parts of her growing professional identity.
Anikka first joined Fay to work in the residential life program, and she now lives in the Dining Hall dorms and values her time with the students. “I was one of them,” Anikka reflected, “and I understand their hopes and worries.” Even in the short seven years since Anikka was a student here, there have been significant changes in the student experience. Changes in technology and the pandemic have added pressure to students’ lives, and Anikka hopes to help them build the meaningful connections she so valued during her boarding experience. She does her best to motivate the students in her dorm to look past some of the academic and social pressures and live in the moment to truly appreciate their junior boarding experience.
When she thinks back on her time as a Fay student, Anikka points to athletics, basketball, and volleyball in particular, and to the ninth-grade program as the core sources of many of her leadership skills today. Indeed, having been the captain of her basketball and volleyball teams after Fay just helped reinforce for her the importance of sports in building focus, discipline, and community. She added that her work with the color competition and as a campus leader here helped her hone her leadership skills before she even realized it.
Now working in the admissions office, Anikka feels uniquely qualified to discuss the Fay experience with prospective students and families. Her own educational and professional journey has its roots in experiences she had here on campus. “In high school and college,” Anikka shared, “I would travel back to Iringa, Tanzania, and work in an orphanage called ‘Upendo’ (also Anikka’s middle name!).” She also worked in afterschool programs in Newport, Rhode Island, during her college years, always seeking to help children in less privileged situations connect with adults and feel inspired and hopeful. Her time with her class teaching young children in the Dominican Republic engendered in her a real drive to serve.
Anikka also notes that, over the past ten years, she has learned responsibility and important life skills that are serving her well as a young adult. “I have a serious work ethic,” she added, “that comes from working evenings and weekends to support myself, pay my rent, and put myself through school.” She noted, with a smile, that some of her peers of the same age are struggling with such “life skills” right now since they are entering the workforce for the first time.
In so many ways, Anikka feels happy and hopeful to be back on campus. She loves connecting with younger students again, both in the dorms and in admissions, and she sees how much working at Fay right now makes sense for her professionally. “I want to make the most of Fay,” Anikka said near the end of our conversation, and it’s clear that wherever her professional life takes her, Anikka will always see the school as a source of her strengths and a place where she feels she can make a meaningful difference. With the students’ obvious respect and affection for her, she is clearly already well on her way.