Meet Our Graduate Head Counselors

A message from Katrina
Hi, my name is Katrina and I want to welcome the parents and students of our Pre-College Programs to the University of Rochester! The University and Pre-College Programs have many opportunities and activities planned. I encourage everyone to take advantage of as many as possible. With the help of the Pre-College Counselors (PCCs) and the Graduate Head Counselors (GHCs), students can expect a well-rounded experience that will challenge body and mind in the spirit of the University’s motto—Meliora (ever better).

Since I’m a history major, I always think that it’s beneficial to share a bit of the history and legacy of Rochester so everyone is familiar with our community and the driving forces behind our academic, intellectual, and social lives.

First of all, what’s with “Meliora?”
Meliora is a major theme across campus. It’s not just our University’s motto; it’s an ethic that we share as a community, a way of life that unites us, and a powerful description of who we are and what we value. George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, and the University’s greatest benefactor, had a transformational vision that forever changed the meaning of “Meliora” to Rochester. My hope is that you leave our programs with a moment that makes you “ever better.”

Now for some quick facts:

  • History is alive and well in Rochester! The University is situated at an angle between the Erie Canal and the Genesee River that flows directly from Lake Ontario.
  • The land at this prime location was first settled by Native Americans who established a thriving fishing and trading village on the banks of the river on which the Iroquois, the Seneca, the Algonquin, and eventually European explorers traveled.
  • When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, emigrants from the east floated directly into the budding city of “Rochesterville.”
  • The University of Rochester was then founded in 1850 with just 60 students in downtown Rochester.
  • By 1900, and with the help of one of Rochester’s most famous residents, Susan B. Anthony, women were allowed to enroll at the University.
  • Since then, the University has produced eight Nobel Prize winners and twelve Pulitzer Prize winners. As you can see, the arts and sciences are strongly supported.

In summary, Rochester and its surrounding community have always been on the forefront of change and innovation, providing knowledge and an example for future generations. This great community now includes you! It’s a great honor to carry on our traditions. I know you can represent them well!

Katrina and Hayley on a bench

Pre-College Programs 2016 Graduate Head Counselors: Katrina (left) and Hayley (right)


A message from Hayley
Hi, everyone! My name is Hayley and I’m one of your Graduate Head Counselors for the Pre-College Programs this summer. I am so excited to engage in a collaborative effort unlike anything many of us have experienced previously. Katrina, the Pre-College Counselors, and I are looking forward to learning with and from you and to helping you find your niche in a collegiate environment.

I am a graduate student at the Warner School of Education at Rochester, and I have worked in many different aspects of higher education over the years, but residential life and summer programming are definitely in my wheelhouse! I’d like to share with you some of my personal goals for working with you this summer. I want to:

  • Create an atmosphere that allows for your feedback (and your family’s) and one that prioritizes individual ideas and needs.
  • Ensure that our activities are culturally sensitive and engaging, and provide a variety of events that introduce you to many aspects of college life.
  • Meet with you at mealtimes, in workshops, in the residence halls, and during events to check in and get to know you better.
  • Interact with your families during move-in and check-out days in order to better understand your perspectives and your reasons for attending Pre-College Programs.
  • Learn from you in terms of best practices in working with both residential and commuter students.
  • Have fun!

Overall, I can’t wait to meet you all and will do my best to make sure your needs are met! Whether you’ll be with us for one week or six, your safety and happiness are our priority!

About the author

Ursula Balent

I'm the assistant director for Pre-College Programs. I’m a Rochester native and currently live in Hilton, NY. Pre-College Programs are designed for high school students in grades 9–12 to get a taste of the college experience through rigorous coursework and life-changing experiences. From this blog, you will hear from faculty, students, and staff directly involved with Pre-College Programs.

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