College Counseling Welcomes Mrs. Gray

Briana Fulciniti '20, Staff Writer

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During this past month, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Oakland Catholic’s newest college counselor, the wonderful Mrs. Katie Gray. She was recently hired here at OC to share her knowledge of the college process with our upperclassman. She has worked tirelessly with Mrs. Snyder to finalize applications, perfect college essays, and write many, many recommendation letters. During our interview, I wanted to really get to know Mrs. Gray and how she ended up here at our very own OC. 

 

  1. What was your life like growing up? 

I grew up near Pittsburgh about 20 minutes outside of the city. Pittsburgh has always been home. I loved coming to the city, whether it was sporting events or musicals. 

 

  1. What was your higher education like?

I went to Westminster College, which was very different than Pittsburgh, but I enjoyed it. There’s something very beautiful about the country and the sunsets and the fields. It gives you kind of a quaint but also academic feel, so I was really able to focus on my academics. It was a great exposure to things, but I am very excited to now be back closer to family. We would always make the drive down to Pittsburgh for a lot of different events. But now, I am here for a lot of them. When at Westminster, I studied elementary and special education for my undergrad years. Then, I got my masters in school counseling.

 

  1. What inspired and motivated you to become a college counselor? 

 

When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to do something different before being a teacher in the classroom for the next 35 years. So, I decided to stay at Westminster and work on my masters but also work in student affairs. As I was getting my masters, I was working in student affairs and academic affairs that gave me the experience which helps me in what I am doing today. It was really amazing to see how God opens doors, and you never know where they’re going to lead you to because I have yet to be in a classroom every day. In college, I was working with first year students who had never lived on their own. They didn’t know a lot about living by themselves or with a roommate. So I got to really help in those areas as well as help upperclassmen on work on grants for research or travel or community service. It was a really cool opportunity that I got while getting my masters.

 

  1. How has the adjustment to the Oakland Catholic Community been?

I loved it. It’s been great. You guys have so many opportunities that you probably don’t even realize you have. There are high expectations. But, I think you all as students, as young women, are able to raise and rise to those [expectations]. It’s been really cool to see that. You can [do it].This is a special place. It’s an important place, but I think there is a really important and special family that is here. So the transition has been wonderful. I mean I’ve come in every day, excited to be here. Traffic isn’t always great, but once I hit the parking lot, I know it’s going to be a good day.

 

  1. What is your favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part of my job is helping girls see the opportunities that they never thought were possible, or colleges that they had never heard of, or scholarships that they could get that weren’t even on their radar. Or, to introduce them to a major that they may have never heard of or never known anyone to have such a job. That’s really exciting to see girls say, “Oh, I love all of that and I didn’t even know that was a thing or that one day I could be very successful at.” 

 

  1. What is your least favorite part of your job?

Yes, letters of recommendation take a long time to write, but it does good because it just helps students shine. I would say my least favorite part is when students have expectations of going to a specific college, and, for whatever reason, their scores don’t get them to that school. I don’t like that, but I think there’s a learning curve in that. It’s a process and it’s definitely sometimes the first time a student has ever heard “no” before. 

I don’t want to call it a failure because it’s not. It’s a set-back. I am walking right beside all of you in this process. But, I know deep down that there’s a perfect fit for that girl, it’s just helping them find that place. 

 

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Expanding the college program. Mrs. Snyder has done a great job with what she’s had. But, I think we’ll be able to bring you guys so many more opportunities, especially to younger students: new opportunities in scholarships, exposure to programs that they may have never been able to hear about, and get you onto campuses. I think just building the college program and the opportunities that are available.

 

  1. Any words of wisdom to the underclassman for their future college endeavors?

I would say be yourself. Be willing and open to places you’ve never heard of or never thought possible. Visit where you can. Enjoy the journey, because that is what it is, a journey. You will end up where you’re supposed to be. 

 

  1. Do you have anything that you want OC to know about you? 

I love to bake, especially cookies or cupcakes. I like to be busy; I’m always learning and traveling. I also want to visit the 50 states by the time I’m 50. 

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