Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, October 17, 2018

#AwayFromTheNest: Eamon Martin, Orientation Chair

Last summer’s experience as an OL motivated this junior to become an orientation chair

#AwayFromTheNest: Eamon Martin, Orientation Chair

AU students are on the go year-round, and that only intensifies as the temperature gets warmer and the spring semester ends. From political conventions in California to volunteer trips in South America and beyond, summer takes students away from AU and into the world around them. This summer, the Eagle is launching a summer series chronicling their adventures. Join us in our new weekly series on how students are spending their summers #AwayFromTheNest before they return to campus in the fall.

While most AU students only attend Eagle Summit as incoming freshmen, this will be junior Eamon Martin’s third summer in attendance.

Martin will serve as one of three student orientation chairs, specializing as the orientation chair of communications and technology. He is responsible for coordinating social media strategies for the office of orientation, transition, and retention. Additionally, Martin is in charge of reaching out to incoming students and their families, working with registration systems, acting as a mentor for this year’s group of orientation leaders and more.

He will work alongside junior Michael Mannello who handles programming, and junior Gregory Pratt who specializes in Eagle Summit publications and logistical components.

Eagle: Why did you want to be one of the orientation chairs for Eagle Summit?

EM: So last year I worked as an orientation leader and it was, you know this is very cliché, but it was a life changing experience in a way. It was the best summer I’ve ever had in my life. I worked with an incredible staff of 15 other orientation leaders and they were just incredible people that I came to consider a family and I think what really inspired me to be an orientation chair is wanting to help foster that same sort of connection for the next group of orientation leaders. And then also because I’ve really started to think that higher education is a possible career opportunity for me, and getting more experience in that area I think is very important and very critical for me. And also it just seemed like a really fun and exciting opportunity.

Eagle: Many students have different experiences going through Eagle Summit. Some really like it and others don’t necessarily like it as much. What was your personal experience when you went through Eagle Summit as an incoming freshman?

EM: So just to give context, when I was coming into college there was a sense of uncertainty that I was feeling. I think I was feeling like a lot of students who are coming into college for their first time. When it came to college, I had never been to American before going to Eagle Summit.

It was one of the most reaffirming opportunities I have ever really experienced in my life because I had come to an environment that was so welcoming, that was so fun and exciting and useful, and it hit all the right notes for me as a student who was very interested in seeing where they were going to be. I mean, I’ve always been a very political and academic sort of person, so I’ve always sort of been fascinated by hearing other people speak, and I was coming to a campus where I had met people that were interested in the same things that I was interested in.

Eagle: How do you feel about being on campus and in D.C. all summer?

EM: It’s very exciting. I love D.C. I think it’s an amazing city. I’m from the great state of Vermont so I’ll probably miss my family a lot, I’ll miss my cats dearly, but being in D.C. is such a blessing. It’s an amazing opportunity to be in one of the world’s premier cities and to experience so many cool events that are going on. Like a couple days ago, I attended an Irish music and arts festival and that was so cool because I would never have experienced that back home. So being able to come to a city and to be able to experience a city that is so in tune with the world, and in tune with what’s happening in America politically speaking, but really in other areas as well, is such a cool experience and I’m so excited for the rest of the summer.

Eagle: What made you want to be an orientation chair over another possible internship for your major?

EM: I mean if I’m considering higher education and student affairs as a potential career, getting experience in this field in my undergraduate years is to me something that I would consider very vital. But also because I think having a student position on campus, and I’ve talked about this with my coworkers Greg and Michael, it offers a lot of flexibility and a lot of opportunity for us to self-author our experience. So we have a lot of freedom in what we do and what we propose, and how we lead as orientation chairs, and I think that’s a very unique and very powerful tool in any job. If I were to work as an intern, say on the hill or at some business firm or something, and I’ve never done that so I can’t speak to the exact details of that, but from what I’ve heard, you know it seems like it’s a more passive experience where you’re receiving the directions from a superior and you’re doing just minute, sort of repetitive tasks or work, whatever it may be.

Eagle: Do you have any specific goals for your position that you want to accomplish by the end of the summer?

EM: I really want to create more ways for incoming students, both first years and transfers and other types of students, to interact with our office, the Office of Orientation, Transition and Retention. To do that during the school year, I had this idea that I would reach out to the AU Game Lab which is like the part of AU that handles the program and game design, and I wanted to see if there was a way in which the Office of Orientation, Transition and Retention could create a way for students to interactively learn and engage with our campus and our department and get them excited about coming to our campus in the fall. So essentially how that would work,would be to create some sort of game or interactive form of technology or a website or something online, in which students could learn more about their campus, learn more about the department and the organizations and the facets of American University before they come to campus, so they’re more knowledgeable and more ready to take on the school year.


Eamon Martin is a rising third year student in Kogod School of Business. He will serve as one of this year’s orientation chairs for Eagle Summit, the University’s new student orientation program.


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