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Someone asked me why I work at Juniata College

Kat Swantak, Assistant Dean of Admission

So, I thought that was kind of strange. It’s almost the kind of question you get in a job interview that forces you to spitball something about job satisfaction and professional development. But, the mother of a student that I’ve been working with since her junior year asked me this a while ago. They’re from NYC, and had their world completely flipped upside-down when they came to rural Pennsylvania. I get it, I grew up in a large town where you can get falafel, acupuncture, and Wegmans within a mile of each other.

“And then what did you do, Kat? We await your response with baited breath!” said no one. Well, I did as I was writing this. Internally though.

When she asked me, I paused, probably with a strange look on my face. Reflecting is hard to do when you’re on the spot. I’ve been at Juniata for five years now, so what keeps me here? I simply told her, “the people.” What I mean is, I’m surrounded by inquisitive students, candid faculty, and a community of supportive staff members. I guess we’re all kind of here for the same thing? We have a common goal maybe? We like working with unique students who just want to be their authentic selves unabashedly. I would know, I shaved my head in college (well, part of it. Sorry about that mom). It’s just a gut feeling, you know? It feels right.

Sometimes I think back on how I answered her question. It’s been two years now and it still pops up in my mind from time to time. While I’m sure I could have answered it more eloquently today, the answer is still the same. The people. That’s why I work here.