Alumni Meghan Frum ’09 and Robert Quarles ’11 have returned to West Virginia Wesleyan College to fill the vacancies of Coordinator of Student Programming and Conferencing and Director of Multicultural Programs and Services, respectfully.
Frum ’09, a Clarksburg, WV native, completed her master of education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN in 2011 after graduating magna cum laude from Wesleyan with a bachelor of arts in public relations and minors in English, business, and Honors. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt, Frum began working at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA as a residence hall director in 2011, eventually moving up to the assistant director student activities in 2013.
However, Frum felt the calling for a new opportunity closer to home.
“I was in Virginia and looking for new opportunities,” Frum stated. “I was open to moving, and I have friends and family here. I have lived away since I graduated, so I have been missing this area. This opportunity became available, and it was perfect timing, location, and institution for me.”
Student life is no stranger to Frum, as she completed many internships during her master’s degree that have well-prepared her for her duties at Wesleyan. She worked at Vanderbilt as a graduate assistant at Peabody Career Services and as a student organizations and governance intern. At Belmont University, also in Nashville, Frum was the Greek life graduate assistant. She also served as the graduate assistant for the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) at the University of New England in Biddeford, ME.
Stepping into this position in the middle of the year has presented some challenges, but Frum has a clear plan on how she will attack this new role. As the director of campus life, Frum will be responsible for scheduling activities for students during the year such as comedians and game shows. She will also be responsible for BE, or Bobcat Entertainment, the student-let campus activities group.
“I am learning how things have been done here,” she commented. “Every university does this position differently, and I want to develop this position to be more student-focused. I want to work with students to teach them how to plan events and really empower them to take the lead. The purpose of this position is to create an environment on campus of which students want to be a part.”
Quarles, who is currently working on his master of education in Organizational Leadership from Belmont University in Nashville, returned to Wesleyan after working as a Student Support Specialist at Belmont University where he assisted in the creation of “Bridges to Belmont,” an academic program that provides full-ride scholarships to low income students in the Nashville area.
Quarles, who began in this role at the beginning of January, has created programs to meet the needs of Wesleyan’s diverse population.
“I want to create and continue the student-centered environment I felt as a student,” stated Quarles. “As a student, my needs were always put at the forefront of my education. I want students to have the same resources that I had to ensure that our diverse students have a place to be heard, exercise their lifestyles, and advocate for themselves.”
One of the new programs Quarles has been working to put into place is a barber program. Quarles explained his struggles with finding a barber in Buckhannon that had experience cutting African-American hair.
“As a student, I was unable to get a haircut similar to those I got when I was home in Lusby, Maryland,” he explained. “Because of that, I never really felt my best, so this is a service we want to provide to African-American men. When you look good, you feel better about yourself.”
Therefore, a barber will be making a trip to Buckhannon once a week as part of the program, which Quarles hopes will expand in the future.
Another program Quarles is looking to reinstate is bus trips for prospective minority students. He hopes to arrange buses to pick up minority students in the Maryland area and bring them back to Buckhannon to visit Wesleyan’s campus. Quarles explained that this would be a big recruiting boost for the school.
“Minority students typically do not visit a college or university until accepted student days or even move-in day,” Quarles said. “The vast majority of minority students choose a college base on images they can find on the internet. This program will allow us to expand into more urban areas offering these students a chance to have an actual visit to a college campus.”
Quarles is also excited to work with the Black Student Union and has programming scheduled during Black History Month. He is also looking to start a Men’s League, which would be a cohort mentorship program he hopes faculty and staff will take part.
For Frum and Quarles, returning home to their alma mater as administrators is a comfortable yet different experience.
“It is different to see people I knew as a student and reconnect with them in a different role,” commented Frum. “It feels familiar and comfortable, but I am looking at everything from a different perspective.”
“I always thought I would come back,” stated Quarles, “but I did not know it would be so soon. I loved being a student here and making connections with this community. I am just as excited to do this in my new role.”