ASHE is a Place for Master’s Students Too: 3 Ways to Engage in ASHE as a Master’s Student

By Lisa Combs, Coordinator for Campus Life at Illinois Tech in Chicago

I attended my first ASHE as a first year student in graduate school. The office that I worked in decided to register me for the conference since it was located in Columbus, Ohio a community I lived in for four years. I remember that doctoral students thought it was strange that I was attending since I was just a master’s student.

There were definitely spaces at the conference where I did not find too many graduate students and places that I was unsure if it was a space for me. However, this conference introduced me to the world of research and it was very influential in my development as a graduate student. I was able to engage in intellectual conversations about topics that were a very instrumental part of my field, have discussions with scholars who I read about in textbooks, and meet other graduate students on the journey to getting their degree.

I wanted to use this blog post as an empowering post to get more master’s students involved in the conference, but also in the organization. Below are three ways to find a professional home in ASHE as a master’s student.

Attend the ASHE Conference next year.

I am not going to lie and say that attending my first ASHE as a master’s student was not scary, because it definitely was. I often experienced imposter syndrome after discussing topics with doctoral students and faculty. However, like I mentioned above this conference introduced me to the world of research in a way that made me want to get involved. I was able to meet faculty members who contributed to higher education and also learn about topics in depth during sessions. I would not take this experience back so I say take a chance, don’t let fear stand in the way, and attend this conference.

Attend sessions that are catered toward graduate students.

These are spaces where you can find community at the conference. Last year during my experience, I was able to sit with other master’s students at my table and learn more about their journey in school and at the conference. I was also able to learn from doctoral students and some of who have served as mentors throughout my time at Miami. These sessions also deal with topics that graduate students like ourselves are talking about, learning about, and experiencing every day.

Get Involved with ASHEGrads

Provide a voice for master’s students in ASHEGrads, a page and a group for graduate members in ASHE. Read the blog posts. Write a blog post. Suggest programming. Apply for the Graduate Student Travel fund. Get involved with planning graduate student sessions or join the graduate mentoring program. Engage with ASHEGrads on social media or their Facebook forum. There are so many ways to get involved.

Lisa Combs works as a Coordinator for Campus Life at Illinois Tech in Chicago. She specifically works with diversity, leadership, and student organizations. Her research interests include identity development of multiracial students and leadership self-efficacy. She received her master’s degree from the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

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