Hillary Vamstad

Headshot of Hillary VamstadHillary Vamstad - Senior Admissions Counselor

Hometown: Ionia, MI - a "troll" turned Yooper!

Professional/personal biography: I earned a Bachelors of Science in Media Production and New Technology from NMU in 2007. After graduation, I decided to explore the different ways I could use my degree and eventually realized that being in higher education, whether as a student or staff, was really where my passion was. So I completed a Masters of Science degree in Higher Education and focused on College Administration and Leadership with the hope of using that knowledge to encourage and inspire others in the field. I'm very excited to be once again involved and working with Northern. It feels like my education and passion are coming full circle! Being active in the outdoors is important to me and hiking, kayaking, fishing and cross country skiing are some of my hobbies, so living in Minnesota is the perfect fit! 

Most memorable college experience: When I look back on my college career and how much I learned and grew during that time, the memory that stands out the most was one of my first hikes up Sugarloaf Mountain. I was a freshman and it was the second week of school, about 11:00 p.m. and our house president and RA came around to each room and said, "Let's go on a house hike up Sugarloaf!" I remember being shocked - we were supposed to be going to bed soon for classes tomorrow. When I asked if they were serious, they looked at me and said, "Well, why not?" So I went. What was the most memorable was the feeling at the top, the beauty of Lake Superior at night, the stars, the acknowledgement of my newly found independence and the camaraderie of my housemates around me, many of whom I keep in contact with still. 

Favorite Marquette activity: It is really hard to pick just one and it depends on the season. In the summer, nothing beats taking a dip in Lake Superior or hiking on one of the many trails for an awesome view. Hiking in autumn to one of the nearby waterfalls, or up to Sugarloaf to get a panoramic view of the changing colors is also spectacular. In the winter, and yes, early spring, I love skiing at Blueberry Ridge and the Noquemenon Trail Network. I also love to cook and eat! Marquette has some phenomenal local restaurants that serve both interesting food and local friendliness. 

Best advice you received regarding college or would give someone entering college: Don't be afraid to try something new and get involved. This is your opportunity to explore what you're passionate about while making friendships and memories that last a lifetime. Don't worry about someone else's vision of who you are, find what you want and be who you want to be. Then follow that! Trust yourself and be the best version of you, held to your own standards. One of my favorite quotes is "You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." This can be applied literally or figuratively - have courage to try something new or go someplace new because you never know where you'll end up or what you'll learn along the way.