Whether at a college fair, in your high school art classroom, or here on campus during orientation, if you're a student in the College of Fine Arts, chances are you've met Natalie Faculak. Or, if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her in person, you probably recognize her name from your email inbox or our blog, as Natalie frequently contributes tips and guidance for students during their college decision process and beyond.
As manager of recruitment and outreach for the College of Fine Arts, Natalie's job is to be a resource for prospective students, answering questions and providing information regarding the admissions process, our top-notch programs and the offerings of the university as a whole. Seeing that she's a two-time graduate of Western Michigan University, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better representative to speak with.
Get to know Natalie - from her daily duties to how she'd spend her dream day - in her responses below:
Where are you from, Natalie? How'd you end up in Kalamazoo?
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I came to Kalamzoo eight years ago when I started college. I completed both my bachelor's in public relations and English along with master's degree in organizational communication at Western Michigan University. I worked in the Office of Admissions as an undergraduate and graduate student, as well as a full-time employee before joining the College of Fine Arts.
What should we know about you?
I am the oldest of three kids, and I have two younger brothers. Despite having lived in Michigan for the past eight years, I root for my hometown team and follow every Chicago Blackhawks hockey game. I'm also a huge bookworm and never leave home without a book.
Talk a little bit about your role with the College of Fine Arts.
As manager of recruitment and outreach, I am responsible for interacting and engaging with prospective art, dance, music and theatre students and their families. I attend college fairs, visit high school classrooms, and participate in on-campus, university-wide events to represent the College of Fine Arts. I am the point person for prospective students to contact with questions or if they want to set up a tour of our facilities.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
A typical day differs depending on the season. In the fall, I travel for two solid months attending college fairs and high schools - traveling up to 8,000 miles during that time. During the winter and spring months, I continue to do a bit of travel, but definitely not as much. My responsibilities shift to communicating with the students I met during the fall and also giving tours of our facilities.
What are you up to in the summer months?
The month of June is dedicated to assisting with orientation activities. The rest of the summer is spent planning. I coordinate with the director of marketing to plan our communications and mailings in preparation for the new recruitment cycle. I contact teachers about visiting their classrooms and schedule out my fall travel.
What's your favorite thing about your job?
I loving interacting with both prospective and current students who are so passionate about their art. And when I'm able to show them first hand the facilities they will study in as WMU students, their eyes widen and excitement pours out of them.
Do you have any fun plans this summer?
I'll be heading Up North to Charlevoix, MI later this summer for my family's annual summer vacation. I'll have a separate bag for all the books I plan on bringing.
What's your favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Kalamazoo? What's your favorite thing on the menu?
For dinner, I'd say Erbelli's for a calzone with sausage and green olives. Coming from Chicago, it was hard to find a place where I could enjoy pizza. For a quick snack or appetizer, nothing beats the pretzel bites from Main Street Pub (be careful - they are filled with cheese and always hot).
If you could grab coffee with one person - living or dead - who would it be? Why?
I don't drink coffee, but I'd love to grab a smoothie with my late godmother. She passed early in my teens and I'd love to hear her life advice and stories now that I've gotten older.
What do you do in your free time? What's your favorite hobby or weekend activity?
This summer, when I'm not at work and if the sun is shining, you can find me reading by the pool.
What was your dream job as a child?
Until I was about 13, I wanted to be a marine biologist.
What fictional character do you wish you could meet? Why?
Hermoine Granger - do I even need to explain?