Pictured: Mary H. Pelkowski (R.) wirh Morgan Wright, community development manager for the American Cancer Society.
Promoting Student Leadership
Mary H. Pelkowsi has had a busy first year at New York Tech. The Box visited with her recently to discuss a few of its highlights and look ahead at the coming academic year, including plans for leading the institution’s first virtual orientation for new students.
Why did you join New York Tech?
I joined New York Tech for the mission, vision, and opportunity to work with doers, makers and innovators. I am humbled to be part of a community that is so focused on student success.
What are your responsibilities?
I currently serve as the interim dean of students and oversee the following areas on both New York campuses: Residence Life, Student Conduct, Students of Concern, Student Engagement, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, First-Year Leadership Experience Program (FYE), Fraternity and Sorority Life, Leadership Development, New Student Orientation, School Spirit and Tradition, Student Government Association, and Honor Societies.
What did you do prior to becoming interim dean of students?
I served as associate dean of students and director of student engagement since joining New York Tech in June 2019. Prior to that I was associate dean and director of veteran affairs at St. John’s University.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, a Master of Science degree in School Psychology, and Professional Diploma in Student Development Practices in Higher Education. I also served as an adjunct professor in psychology at Nassau Community College, St. John’s University, and Farmingdale State College.
Tell us about the virtual orientation being held this year for newly enrolled students.
Due to COVID-19, we have contracted with a virtual orientation company called Go 2 Orientation. We are building our platforms from the ground up to fit the needs of our newest students. Besides the virtual model, we will also be hosting some programs and events to engage our newest Bears while also offering the opportunity for Zoom appointments with orientation leaders, members from the student life team and the university community.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
There are numerous areas that I want to focus on. I would like to concentrate on providing educational or student support services that develop students who are experiencing academic or university-related difficulties within a culture of care. I am committed to educating, aiding, and supporting all students to become not only respected and trusted leaders, but also change leaders—individuals ready to reinvent the future through advocacy and invoke new outcomes and opportunities for all. I also want to focus on promoting development and leadership opportunities that our students will experience through intentional intervention and guidance, programs, services, collaboration, and other opportunities that speak to the overall experience and student success.
To facilitate education, advocacy, and support to encourage and empower all students to achieve success in their academic, social, and personal development, we plan to create a robust calendar of heritage, diversity, and inclusion dialogues and celebrations for the upcoming academic year. We are also launching two newly created and designed leadership programs—one for first-year students and the other for upper class students—and building a year-round Relay For Life fundraising campaign. I will work on building upon more traditions and events with athletics and enhance the “Tech Tuesday” weekly programming series.