Campus Closeup: Katie Berger
Katie Berger (Admissions) has served as an admissions counselor for a little more than a year, but her experience with Northern dates back to 2003. That's when she first arrived as a student. While enrolled, Berger gave campus tours to prospective students and their parents. She may not have realized it at the time, but sharing campus attributes with others helped to lay the foundation for her current occupation of promoting the benefits of attending her alma mater.
Berger works with freshmen, home-schooled and transfer students who are thinking of attending NMU. She manages the New York, New Jersey and Florida region remotely from campus. Occasionally her base of operation has shifted away from Marquette to cover for colleagues who are sick or on maternity leave.
“This semester’s been really interesting in the admissions office; they moved me down to Auburn Hills from late September to early November,” she said. “I’ve been working on my master’s degree and I didn’t take any classes while I was there, but I’m signed up for two next semester and I’m hoping to finish up in about two years. My number one priority is working here, though. I love Marquette and I’m happy to stay here.”
Berger also helps to decorate the admissions office to make it more welcoming to visitors and updates the “On the Road” flip chart. The chart is usually displayed at high school fairs and has pictures that depict life on Northern’s campus, along with important statistics and information about the university. She also helps to update the admissions portion of the undergraduate bulletin, going over it “with a fine-toothed comb.”
Her favorite part of the job is interacting with the students and helping them decide whether NMU is the right school for them.
“It’s exciting to see a student with a fresh idea who’s excited to come to Northern,” she said, adding that it’s a bit of a letdown when a student she’s built a relationship with ends up going to another university. “You have to learn not to take it personally. I want them to go to the best-fitting school, but it’s a personal challenge. You feel bad because either they changed their mind and picked another school or decided to attend a community college close to home for financial reasons.”
Berger's most memorable college experience at NMU was an overseas student teaching assignment. She taught physical education and health classes at a high school in New Zealand.
“There were 15 [physical education] teachers and they were all very lean,” she said. “If a student was 15 minutes late for class, he had to run a mile. I got to do so much there, from caving and whitewater rafting to climbing glaciers. Being immersed in another culture was an amazing experience. I was really thankful Northern set up my student teaching and allowed me to have this opportunity. It helped me grow as a person and as a teacher.”
After returning, Berger wasn’t ready to leave Michigan. She was only two weeks into working on her master’s degree when she was offered the job as admissions counselor.
In her spare time, she enjoys being physically active through snowshoeing, tennis and running. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, she likes to sit down with a good book. Berger also advises the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority on campus.
Born and raised below the Mackinac Bridge in Petoskey, most of Berger’s family still lives there. She enjoys visiting them on holidays and, despite her NMU position, holds no grudge against the brother who is currently attending another U.P. university that shall remain unnamed.