February 2019


Katie Huntzinger

Student Profile

Huntzinger Applies Lessons from UR Experience to Teaching Internship

As a student teacher at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Katie Huntzinger has the opportunity to impact the learning experience of high schoolers in a positive manner – even when obstacles present themselves. No two classes are the same. Some groups of students can be engaging and interactive, while others might be resistant and less willing to interact. 

In resolving these differences and breaking down barriers to reach her students, Huntzinger is often able to draw on experiences she had during her time living and working in University Residences. As a participant and student representative with Women’s Leadership Series, Huntzinger says she was able to absorb important lessons in providing an uplifting perspective, particularly towards women and in situations of adversity.  

“One of the things a lot of the speakers talked about was not seeing things as stop signs,” Huntzinger says. “Hearing people tell their stories puts your story into perspective and helps you see that you need to be moving forward while also helping others move forward. We need to have whatever conversations we need to have to keep everyone moving along together.” 

The area of University Residences Huntzinger was most involved in was through her work in the UR Alumni and Guest Center. She began work as a tour guide, before moving up to ambassador and later being promoted to coordinator. As she worked her way up the ladder, Huntzinger earned responsibilities that included hiring, training and evaluating tour guides and working closely with professional staff. Those processes, Huntzinger says, have been beneficial in understanding how to conduct herself in professional situations, including in a recent discussion with a student who had a question about his grade. 

“I remember when I was trained to give evaluations and how they taught us how to be understanding in explaining our point of view,” says Huntzinger. “I was going through those emotions as I was talking to him and we were able to come to an understanding.” 

Interviewing peers for student tour guide positions is something Huntzinger says she thinks will be helpful as she prepares to interview for teaching positions.

“I think asking the questions and thinking about what we wanted in a position, especially as a student, will really help me when I start interviewing for jobs,” says Huntzinger. “It will force me to think about what questions I’m going to be asked and how I want to answer them.”

Huntzinger will graduate in May with a degree in math education. She hopes to obtain a position teaching high school freshmen and sophomores, but won’t rule out returning to a college or university to work in the future. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the future, I pursued a degree in higher education and came back to work for a university for an organization like University Residences,” says Huntzinger. “ I really did enjoy my time in UR.”

   Frank Garofalo

Frank Garofalo (back row center, wearing yellow jersey) at a themed football watch party with members of the Purdue Alumni Club of San Diego.

Alumni Profile

Garofalo Shares Leadership, Professional Perspectives with Students

One of the ways in which a resident assistant might begin to learn about their residents is by holding an ice breaker at the beginning of a group meeting. Most often, these exercises consist of participants sharing a small fact about themselves – where they are from, an interest, a favorite food or hobby or something else. Participants might not realize it at the time, but the idea of learning even the smallest facts about their colleagues can serve as a boost in the workplace. 

For Frank Garofalo, the idea of personally knowing something about his coworkers is a trait he traces to his days as a resident assistant and staff resident in Cary Quadrangle. That knowledge might be as straightforward as knowing a coworker’s favorite candy bar and leaving one on that coworker’s desk as a way of saying thanks for accomplishing an important task. 

“It adds a personalized way of acknowledging people, rather than an announcement during a team meeting,” says Garofalo. “Sometimes, it’s as important to have individualized ways to acknowledge your team member’s accomplishments.”

Garofalo returned to Purdue in spring 2018 as part of the Rising Professionals program to share more of his professional experiences with current students. Garofalo has led teams both large and small within company structures and through his own entrepreneurial work. One of the things he emphasizes to current students is that many of the difficulties they may face in working in team projects for class will continue to manifest in their careers. Being a leader by staying true to one’s work ethic is one way Garofalo says students can succeed early in their careers, regardless of what challenges they face or what their role may be.  

“Someone can be a leader in an organization that your colleagues or your peers look up to even if they don’t have the designation of a title of manager or team leader,” says Garofalo. “Sometimes, that’s more important than being recognized as part of management.” 

In addition to serving as a resident assistant and staff resident, Garofalo was involved in numerous other activities on campus including Purdue Student Government, Purdue Athletic Promotions, Cary Club, WCCR Purdue Student Radio, Mortar Board and Iron Key. He earned a Bachelor of Science in computer graphics technology in 2008 and completed his Master of Science in computer graphics technology in 2010. 

Garofalo has been able to directly parlay his knowledge of residence life procedures from his days as a resident assistant and staff resident in an entrepreneurial way. He founded ResLife Portal, a company that helps connect residents with residential life staff by easing procedures for residential engagement. ResLife Portal assists residental life staff at numerous colleges and universities by streamlining communication and processes for tracking programming effectiveness and staff member performance expectations. 

As a recent alum, Garofalo understands the importance of having young alumni share parts of their career journey with current students. 

“Whether the students will have similar experiences or not, we’re trying to share these lessons we’ve had and the stumbling blocks that we’ve had to overcome so they’re more informed,” says Garofalo. “Hopefully, if they encounter a similar situation, they will then have some knowledge or ideas of how to approach the situation to make them more successful.”

In addition to sharing takeaways from the beginning of his professional journey, Garofalo also established the Frank Garofalo Award for residents of Cary Quad. The award offers a financial reward for an out-of-state resident assistant of the Cary community who excels in their line of work.  

Garofalo also maintains Purdue connections on the board of the Purdue Alumni Club of San Diego and as a member of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute Alumni Board.  


Purdue Day of Giving 2019

Upcoming Event

Impact a Student's Future on Purdue Day of Giving

For University Residences, Purdue Day of Giving is a chance for the UR community to come together and support student success. 

Each year, our goal during this 24-hour social media blitz is to raise funds for the many programs that provide leadership, professional development and career growth opportunities for our 14,000-plus residents. Donations can be directed towards leadership programs or awards benefitting financial assistance for resident assistants, gifted to a hall or hall club, or any other area a donor wishes. This is a chance for all to give in a way that helps us reach our goals to impact student success. 

We invite you to engage with University Residences over the coming weeks and on Purdue Day of Giving, scheduled for April 24. We will be holding an event on Day of Giving from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., featuring giveaways, food tasting and opportunities for service. Stay tuned for more details and stay informed on ways you can impact University Residences on Day of Giving through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic | Inquiries Contact:

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