Assistant director of the First Year Experience office
Camp War Eagle
Melissa Dunn is the assistant director of the First Year Experience office. An Enterprise, Ala., native, Dunn enrolled in Auburn University in 1996, following in her family's footsteps. She received both her bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1999 and her master's degree in administration of higher education in 2000 from Auburn. As an undergrad, Dunn worked as a tour guide and student recruiter. She also worked in the Admissions Office as a graduate assistant. Inspired by the love and enthusiasm students have for Auburn University, she came to the First Year Experience office in 2002 and has been there since.
1. What is the best thing about working with Camp War Eagle every year?
Definitely the Camp War Eagle camp counselors and parent counselors! I have the opportunity to work alongside some of the greatest Auburn men and women each year. Their love for the university, unwavering work ethic and energetic attitude keep each summer of Camp War Eagle fun and exciting. They truly embody the Auburn Creed and make sure incoming freshmen, parents and guests receive a welcoming introduction to campus. Watching the counselors orient the new freshmen and parents reminds me of what a large responsibility our office has in ensuring the traditions of Auburn continue, the transition from high school to college is smooth and the academic ideals of Auburn are upheld.
2. How has Camp War Eagle changed over the years?
Each year, we evaluate our schedule and make sure we are doing what is best for our entering students, parents and guests. Two major changes just occurred last summer: We went from a two-night program to a one-night program and we added two additional sessions. We are now up to 10 sessions of Camp War Eagle! These changes have enabled us to better serve the incoming freshmen, their parents and guests.
3. What is your favorite story about a Camp War Eagle student and/or his or her parents?
In the summer of 2006, I met Erin Hutchins when she came through Camp War Eagle as a freshman. She was one of those students who immediately captivated you in conversation and I knew instantly she was going to go on to do great things at Auburn! Throughout her freshman and sophomore years, I periodically ran into her across campus as she got plugged into various campus organizations. We hired Erin to be a 2008 Camp War Eagle counselor and she did a phenomenal job that summer. She ensured her groups of freshmen were welcomed and felt comfortable. Throughout Erin's undergraduate and graduate school career at Auburn, I watched her grow and mature. She's now in her first professional job and I can't wait to see what she's going to do next!
It is students like these that continue to motivate me in my job! To see them go on to become successful Auburn women and men is an impressive thing to watch.
4. If you weren't doing your current job, what would you be doing?
I've always wanted to star on Broadway. My husband surprised me with a trip to New York City a few years ago and we saw several shows. We actually sat on the front row for one - it was all I could do not to jump on stage with the cast! Music has always been a part of my life, so that's why I am so enthralled with Broadway shows.
5. What is the greatest thing about Auburn University?
You hear about it all of the time - the Auburn Family is the greatest thing about Auburn. I've had the privilege of working alongside so many great Auburn people. I enjoy visiting with the former Camp War Eagle camp and parent counselors and Successfully Orienting Students (transfer orientation) leaders who stop by my office when they are back in town. It's always great to catch up with the Auburn Family!