New Editor Q&A: How to Become an Expert on Education

Here at The Niche Movement, we provide a core group of contributing editors with a platform to inspire people with words, tips and their real-world advice. These editors are the people who create new content for us to share with you on a weekly basis, and we are always looking for more young professionals to add to our contributing editor community. We have decided to introduce our new contributing editors with a Q&A, so that you can get to know them better and have context behind the content they are sharing. 

Meet Julie

Julie Cogley-Pifko, one of our newest contributing editors, is what one might call an expert on education. From her two degrees, to her current and past positions working in higher education, she knows higher ed from the inside out. She is from the Pittsburgh area and currently lives and works in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Julie is a two-time graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), where she received a B.A. in Disability Services and a M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education.

She currently works as Assistant Director of Enrollment and Student Services for Pharmacy Programs at Manchester University. Julie loves finding ways to connect with new people she meets. Spin class, yoga, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Gilmore Girls, running 5Ks, and coffee are a few of her favorite things! Connect with Julie on Twitter or Instagram @jacogs19. 

Q: How did you end up where you are today?

A: I ended up where I am today through my undergraduate work-study job in college within the Admissions/Transfer Services Office at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). I realized I love working with college students and being on a college campus. As junior year wrapped up, I realized I needed to pursue graduate school. I applied and was accepted into the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During those two years, I gained amazing experiences through an assistantship, three practicums, and attending conferences. My first job after graduate school was working as an Admissions Counselor at Radford University. Now, I am working at Manchester University as the Assistant Director of Enrollment and Student Services for Pharmacy Programs. I ended up where I am today from hardwork and the support of family, friends, professors, and mentors!

Q: How different was your life one year ago?

A: One year ago (March 2017) I was working as an Admissions Counselor for a university in Virginia. Southwest Virginia was a wonderful place to live and I was blessed with amazing colleagues, yet my fiancé was living 8 hours away and I was ready for us to live in the same city. I found myself going through the job search process for the second time since finishing graduate school.

Q: What was that like?

A: It was an amazing experience, personally and professionally. Personally - traveling for eight weeks of the fall semester to states, cities, and towns that I have never been to before and traveling on my own increased my confidence 100%! Navigating myself in and out of airports to hotels and to high schools and to colleges/universities was a great learning experience as a young adult. For those who know me well, my sense of direction was always lacking so taking on this new chapter was very different and rewarding. Professionally, job searching again was scary and exciting. I was more confident during interviews because I was able to refer to the experience I gained during my time at Radford University.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?

A: Wow, the next 10 years? Buying a house, seeing the master’s program that I recruit for grow bigger and better, Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics (a shameless plug), paying off student loans, and celebrating 10 years of marriage in 2028 with Jim!

Q: What are you absolutely determined to do?

A: I am absolutely determined to travel. This is one of the reasons I love my job because I get to travel to new places! This world is a beautiful place and I am determined to see as much of it as I can. I am headed to North Carolina the end of March for work and I’m determined to visit some unique local places while I am there!

Q: What is the #1 travel destination currently on your bucket list and why?

A: The #1 travel destination that is currently on my bucket list is Ireland! I have always wanted to go there since I was young - the pictures are BEAUTIFUL.  My fiancé has also wanted to visit there and we have recently learned about a restaurant located in Dublin, called Pifko Bar & Grill. Pifko is my fiancé’s last name!  

Q: Who inspires you to be better?

A: There are many people who inspire me to be better: my fiancé, parents, and grandparents. They have supported my decision to continue my education after college and pursue a master’s degree. They supported my decision to move to Virginia where I did not know a single person! Finally, they have supported me to leave my first job after graduate school (where I was only at for 9 months) and start a new job in Indiana. Their support and love is what inspires me to set new goals and strive to work hard each day.

Q: What would you tell your 18 year old self?

A: I would tell my 18 year old self to pay off student loan interest throughout college and graduate school, ha-ha! I would also tell my 18 year old self that college goes by faster than high school and to get involved as early as possible. Getting involved in a student organization, specifically Phi Sigma Pi (PSP) National Honor Fraternity, is 100% what made my college experience amazing. All of my memories from college include PSP, my fiancé and I met during our initiate semester in the spring of 2012!

Q: What was your very first job? How did that experience help you later on?

A: I was a cashier at a local grocery store for my first job. Two main life lessons came from this experience. The first one was to find a job that I love. I was determined that one day I would find a job that I love going to each and every single day. Customer service skills was the second life lesson that experience taught me. In my current position, customer service is a vital part of my daily job and learning how to communicate with others is a skill that I started learning as a cashier and still continue to refine.

Q: Do you do anything outside of your “9-5” that you love? If so, why is that important?

A: Technically, I have an 8-5! Yes, I have recently started working out in the morning before work, which is a big deal because I am not a morning person. I’ve started going to spin class twice a week at 5:15 am and I’ve fallen in love! This has become important because I get my workout done before my work day starts and it gives me my evenings to cook dinner and relax with my fiancé.

Q: Why are you becoming part of TNM community?

A: I am becoming part of the TNM community because I have found my passion and I want to help other young adults find theirs! I can’t imagine getting up in the mornings and dreading going to work. Becoming part of TNM community will give me the opportunity to share my experiences, meet new people, and hopefully make a difference in someone's life.

Q: Where is your “happy place”?

A: I have a lot of ‘happy places’! Outside training for a 5k race, home on my couch watching Netflix, being back in Western PA during the holidays with family and friends, working a Pharmacy Interview Day, and trying new coffee shops! I have recently finished binge watching The Flash and New Girl.  If anyone has new Netflix shows that are binge worthy, tweet them my way! @julianne_cogley