A Conversation with Kim Pagano

By | September 5, 2023

Kim Pagano leaning against the fireplace in Rosary Hall Sun RoomOrientation is an important part of the college experience for first-year students and their parents. Here at Daemen, Kim Pagano, the assistant dean for student and family engagement, plays an integral role in making it a success. With another orientation in the books, we caught up with Kim… 

Can you explain your role as the assistant dean for student and family engagement?

Of course! In my role, I oversee the Student Activities Office, the Career Services Center, and facilitate the orientation programs for first-year students, transfer students, and families. I also work to keep families engaged with the campus through a monthly family e-newsletter and oversee the coordination of Daemen’s Founders Celebration which combines Homecoming, Family Weekend, Alumni Weekend, and Founders Day.

The orientation process is so important for new students and their parents. What goes into planning a successful orientation?

There is a lot of attention to detail. Orientation is a transition for not only our students but also their families. We know this will be a new experience for everyone, and we want to make that transition as easy and as successful as possible. To make this happen, we offer a mid-summer virtual Academic Kick Off where students log in to learn about their course schedules from the Student Success Center and then meet with faculty from their specific major to discuss major requirements and what to expect in their first year. The weekend before classes start, we have a very robust in-person Move-in and Orientation weekend. This weekend includes meetings focused on residence life and commuter life, understanding the student support services available on campus, an introduction to their learning community, and meeting with the academic deans from each College to address academic expectations. There are also a lot of fun events that students can attend to get to know each other and their orientation leaders. The orientation leaders are current students who act as mentors to our new students throughout their first year. During the first day of orientation, we also offer a Family Orientation to help families understand what their student’s first year will look like and how they and the campus can support them. To supplement all of the presentations, we provide students with an Information Guide for NewStudents and families with a Parent and Family Guide. Both pieces are available to assist them throughout their time at Daemen.

You are one of the first leaders at Daemen to make an impression on first-year students. What advice do you have for anyone starting their college journey with us this week?

This is a new experience for everyone and it will take a little time to get comfortable. That is normal.

Next is to ask for help. There are so many people on the campus available to assist. Refer to the  Information Guide for NewStudents  to see what services are available and how to contact them. Meet with your faculty member if something seems confusing. Schedule a meeting with an academic coach (tutor) if you need assistance with coursework. Reach out to your orientation leader if you have a question and are more comfortable talking to a peer. If you are not sure where to start to get help, email orientation@daemen.edu and we can point you in the right direction.

Get involved outside of the classroom. A lot of learning happens in the classroom, but just as much learning and growth can happen outside the classroom. Go to TGIF, join a club or organization, apply for a student leadership position, or support our Wildcats at a sporting event.  There are so many great opportunities for students to find their niche and get involved. Events are listed on Mydaemen and in the Daemen Connect smartphone app. Student Activities will be holding a Student Organization Fair on September 14 from 11:30am-12:45 p.m. in the social room at the John R. Yurtchuk Student Center. Students can stop by and learn about the vast opportunities available to them.

Lastly, take the time to take it all in and enjoy your college experience. The time goes by quickly, and before you know it, you will be graduating. Make sure to make the most of your time at Daemen! Good Luck Wildcats!