It’s always tough being the new person on campus. For some, it’s hard to embrace. But for others like Yasamine Ziesler, Castleton’s new associate academic dean, they take the moment and run with it.
It’s not Ziesler’s first time being in a new environment. She has gone from Germany to Korea to Poland. She has her father to thank for her curiosity and desire to explore different cultures. He came to the U.S in 1956 at 9 years old as a World War II refugee from Croatia.
Speaking very little English that he happened to pick up off of a television, he then negotiated with a realtor at 12 years old so his family could buy a home. They settled down in a small northwestern town in Wisconsin, coincidentally not too far from where men’s hockey coach, Alex Todd grew up.
Ziesler, now married, with two dogs living in Huntington, Vt., decided to change her sense in direction and wanted to be apart of campus life here at Castleton. Working at the Community College of Vermont for eight years, she said she wanted to get more involved with the students and help them achieve their goals.
“People are really friendly, fun and are committed to students,” she said, adding that people here make it much easier to be the new person around campus.
As the associate academic dean, Ziesler’s duties include overseeing first year seminars and generally supporting faculty and all the various learning opportunities such as studying abroad.
After asking what goals she had as an individual she was so quick to respond, “help students figure out the challenges to be successful.”
Working only a desk away, the dean’s administrative assistant Meredith Fletcher spoke about how Ziesler makes the office happy and fun, bringing a lot of energy.
“I’m very impressed how she opens herself up to the Castleton Community and wants to learn as much as she can,” Fletcher said. After overhearing her comment, from an office away Associate Academic Dean Tony Pefler yelled “amen.”
Already Ziesler is trying to make a difference. Volunteering during the Rutland clean-up day for Hurricane Irene Victims, she spoke about how she didn’t see any complaining from the students who were also volunteering their time. She was impressed with how hard everyone was working even though some of the jobs were hard and dirty.
Ziesler said she wants to get to know everyone around campus so she can help them achieve their goals. She said she’s excited to see where they stand now and what she can do to guide them to where they want to go.