We hit the ground running from day one of the school year here in the Academic Advising and University Counselling office. It was like no other year in my professional career. From managing a high volume of timetable changes to getting our Grade 12s on track for university application season in a COVID-19 era, our office has been alive with energy, enthusiasm, and even a little nervous expectation for the weeks and months ahead.

With a new school year has come some personnel changes on our University Counselling team. We are ready to serve our students as they explore and plan for their life after high school. It is my pleasure to introduce to you the new (and new-ish!) members of our team.

Jen Graham joined University Counselling last year and has returned with passion and excitement to continue serving her advisees and welcoming students new to her caseload. Jen came with a wealth of experience from working as a university counsellor in Southeast Asia. She is a great advocate for our students and takes the lead on planning our Career Life Connections 11 course.

Returning to SMUS after a sabbatical year and rejoining our team is Jenn Bateman. She has served as an Academic Advisor in a part-time capacity since 2017, and we are happy to have her back in a full-time capacity. Jenn’s many years on the SMUS faculty as an ELL teacher and houseparent provide a strong institutional background to our team. She also takes the lead on planning our Career Life Connections 12 course.

We welcome Lindsey Doland to our team, after joining SMUS last year as an associate teacher at the Junior School and a boarding advisor. She brings with her a strong skill set from working as a university counsellor at a Canadian international school in Macau, as well as her own post-secondary experience as a varsity athlete. She has a particular passion for supporting students whatever their post-secondary goals, along with her knowledge of the process to apply to and play varsity athletics in university.

Also joining us is Megan Parry, who has migrated from the SMUS English department, and whose key expertise is the ever-important application writing that students will do for both university and scholarship applications in their Grade 12 year. Megan is keen to support students in all aspects of the planning process and will bring strong leadership to our team’s ability to support students’ application writing, an increasingly key part of their post-secondary application process.

Herbie Lai, who came to SMUS in the spring of 2019 is our talented and efficient office administrator who manages appointment booking, the tutoring program, and all major scholarship applications (receiving applications, sending documents/transcripts). Herbie also helps coordinate any campus visits with universities and colleges (all virtual this year). She is also our site administrator for MaiaLearning, to which all parents of Senior School students will be invited to set up an account as a way to see their child’s progress in their Career Education courses and their university applications.

And, while I am not new to the team (I joined in 2015), I am in a new role, as Interim Director of University Counselling and thrilled to be leading this incredible group of capable educators. Each member of our team brings expertise and experience to our work with students; equally important, each has a particular passion for walking alongside students in planning for their life after high school. We actively collaborate, supporting each other in the service of our students and their families. If our first month together is any indication, I am confident that you are well-served and that our students are in caring and capable hands.

In addition to the support we provide to our students here on campus, including in the Career Life Connections classes and one-on-one advising appointments, we provide resources for parents as well. We have a Google site just for parents of Grade 12 students, as well as a Google site for scholarships that our students can apply to. We occasionally host webinars on topics of interest to students and families, so stay tuned to those webpages for more information.

We look forward to communicating with you throughout the school year, to give you a glimpse into what we do day-to-day and week-to-week to support your students in post-secondary and career planning.