Faces of Pace: Meet Rachel S. Carpenter!

The inside scoop on Rachel S Carpenter, Assistant Dean for Assessment & Planning / Director of Student Development & Campus Activities at Pace University, Pleasantville Campus, but more importantly known as our very own Her Campus Advisor. Aside from being a world traveler, karaoke enthusiast and StrengthsQuest coach, Rachel is in her second year of getting her doctorate! She enjoys nature, learning and quotes because they are so powerful.

HC: What are you most excited about with the launch of Her Campus on our campus?

RC: One of the privileges of working on a college campus is seeing the creativity and innovation of students. This chapter of Her Campus is completely student driven. I am most excited to see what all the students produce as it’s their motivation, their content as it’s about what your world consists of and that's what I am most excited to see.

HC: What inspires you?

RC: Meaningful conversations. When people have a story that has taught them something. Seeing other people learning as they are making connections and allowing them to unlock their full potential inspires me. Another reason as to why I LOVE strengths so much.

HC: What is your proudest accomplishment?

RC: It was with my second job of higher education as Dean of Students at a study abroad campus. It was an hour North of London in an 1800’s Manor house where 170 students would come over for 15 weeks from 15 different US colleges. I was one of their youngest hires for the position and it was one of the best experiences I ever had. It was hard, it was challenging and I didn't think I was ready for it, and I got challenged every semester. It showed me that I am like a sponge. Every position I have taken after that was a little out of my reach, but I soak everything up and am better for it. I was there for two years and it was just awesome. I traveled, helped students in crisis and helped them understand intercultural relations.

HC: Do you have any secret talents?

RC: I am really good with foreign languages and accents. Not so much doing the accents but picking them up from other people. I can tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese and Korean but can speak Russian, Japanese and English. Although if you don’t use it you lose it!

HC: What are three words you would you to describe yourself?

RC: Oh my gosh I would say inquisitive, adventurous and understanding. I’ve had to move so many different times and have learned that everyone has a story. There’s always a reason for people's actions.

HC: Where is the best or most unique place you have ever visited? 

RC: I think that Moscow was one of the coolest places I have ever been because I felt like I wasn’t really supposed to be there, but it was all legal and legitimate and I had a visa and everything. I was there with other college students when I was abroad and didn't really know anybody. It was post 9/11 and at that point in time Russia's President was the first to reach out to President Bush. We met all these young Russians and when they found out we were American they would say “our President was the first to contact yours” with a sense of pride. To see the Red Square, landmarks and buildings that I had only seen in books and movies was such a great experience since Russia was closed off so it was really incredible.

HC: When did you start working for Pace?

RC: I began working for Pace in June of 2010 and that’s when I brought StrengthQuests to the Pace campus.

HC: What is StrengthsQuest?

RC: The identification of your top five talents. The things that come most naturally and unique to you. It’s those things that you do that you don't realize you do because it’s like breathing. Strengths are the things that make you excellent.

HC: How did you learn about it?

RC: One of the top ten days of my life. In 2007, I came back from overseas and hired an assistant for Greek life who came from a strengths-based campus. She gave me a code and from there is where my love for strengths began.  I wanted to know more about them and how I could incorporate that into my life as I fell in love with it, so I started to read more about them. I wanted to share it with other people as that part of my input strength and from there it continued to grow as people heard about it.

HC: This is something that is unique for Pace students and allows them to connect with one another. Do you think that other colleges or other professional environments should incorporate into trainings?

RC: Yes, but I say that hesitantly only because it costs money. You need a facilitator to learn it and then feel comfortable teaching it to others. Otherwise I think it is a great tool as strengths create a common language. It allows strangers to build connections and understand what others are feeling or thinking. Only a handful of schools do this, but Pace has StrengthQuest interns which is very unique for this program. They organize workshops, facilitate lessons for groups of students or teachers in the classroom along with other organizations.