Kathleen Gargan - Hennepin Hall’s Residence Director

Residence directors—they’re people some of us may be very close with, but others pay no mind to. In an effort to highlight one of Siena’s well-known RDs, I conducted an interview with Kathleen Gargan of Hennepin Hall, and got a sneak peek into her world!

HC Siena: So, tell me a little bit about yourself.

KG: Well, this is my third year here, in community living. I graduated from Saint Rose with my Bachelors and Masters. I began at Siena in January 2014, when I was an intern for my Master’s program at the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center. I fell in love with the community, so I applied for this job and here I am!

HC Siena: What was your area of study?

KG: So, in undergrad, I switched my major three times, but I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in English and my Master of Science in education, my area of study being college student services administration.

HC Siena: How did you end up choosing those fields?

KG: I was initially early childhood/special education, but ended up switching to adolescent education. Around that time, though, common core was starting to surface, and I realized that what I loved about teaching wasn’t aligning with that. I was involved in a lot on campus and ended up switching my major to English three weeks before senior year. I took a leap of faith but still managed to graduate on time. I’m a first generation college student in my family, so I wanted to help other students the way I was helped. I’m originally from Staten Island, and moved all the way up here in 2008 to go to college…I was supposed to be here for only those four years, but it didn’t end up that way!

HC Siena: What is your favorite perk/aspect of being an RD?

KG: I would say working with the RAs. I think that this position is VERY unique in that we live and work here. It’s really special in that you get to be so close with the RAs, so that’s definitely one of the highlights of the position.

HC Siena: What is the most difficult part of your job?

KG: I guess it would be being woken up in the middle of the night for duty-related calls, because you’ve got to wake up and just go.

HC Siena: What’s one thing you’ve learned from being an RD that other people may not know, either about Hennepin or Siena in general?

KG: I would say that I have a unique perspective on the student body since I also live on this campus—I’m not just here 8:30 to 4:30. Students are very kind and care about one another, and you really get to see the sense of community between students.

HC Siena: Do you think this is generally undermined?

KG: I think it’s just different…you get to see it, but you don’t get to interact with them as well.

HC Siena: What is your favorite event on campus?

KG: I would say it’s a tie among three: I am the advisor for Colleges against Cancer, and they always put on Relay for Life, which is very important to me and I’ve always been involved in. I really enjoy that we do the Franciscan giving tree. People tend to be very selfless around this time, so it’s good to see that in action. The third is either a tie between Fall Fusion or Hip Hop Week. I like seeing the students showcase their talents and the high energy around this time.

HC Siena: What are some of your hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time?

KG: I recently (within the past two years) have gotten into musicals. My first love is Wicked, but I’ve recently been listening to Hamilton. I also like spending time with people I care about the most. Some of my best friends are RDs, actually. For example, I went to Disney World with RD Adrienne Victor (Ryan Hall) this past October—it was my first vacation, and it was so great!

HC Siena: Who is your favorite author and why?

KG: I think it would be J.K. Rowling—I loved the Harry Potter books growing up; it was always very exciting to get a new book. Harry Potter was a big part of my childhood, and I’m actually rereading them now. I love J.K. because she gives back to her community and really loves her fans. She started from the bottom and had a great struggle, but is a great role model to women.

HC Siena: If you could be a box of cereal, what would you be and why?

KG: I would say that I would be Honey Nut Cheerios, my favorite cereal, because they’re sweet and I try to be sweet, plus they’re a classic and everyone likes them. They’re good for whatever mood you're in!