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Staff Spotlight: Caitlin Mullins

Five years and still going strong. Caitlin Mullins started working at Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) while in college and needed a part-time job. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Anthropology but has stayed on with SDI, playing an increasingly important role in the school.

A lot of college students seek part-time work just to earn some money while attending school. These positions are usually vacated after the student graduates and they decide to move on to a position related to their degree. Caitlin has taken a different route. She has fallen in love with the school, her co-workers, and the overall culture at SDI. The reward has been an increased level of responsibility as well as making many friends along the way.

You might not recognize Caitlin’s name, but if you are currently a student, chances are she has seen yours. Caitlin has taken on an increasing role in student services and is one of the engines that make the school work. One of her primary duties is to update student information, help with acclimation to the school, and process transfer credits. If you have enrolled at SDI or if you have transferred credits into an SDI program, Caitlin is the person to thank.

One of Caitlin’s favorite parts of working for SDI has been helping students who have never taken courses in higher education or students who have not attended school in a long time. She makes sure everybody has all the information on hand to help them succeed. Caitlin stated, “While we put students’ success at our school in their own hands, I take a lot of pride in making sure they have everything they need to do so.” This part of giving responsibility to students can be a bit of a tightrope. There is a delicate balance between trying to help everybody and making sure that students are taking their own initiative.

Between the work that Caitlin does in admissions as well as in student services, she wears a lot of hats. “I can definitely say that no day is ever the same.” Whether it is updating student information, transferring their credits, answering their questions, or addressing concerns by sending out informational packets, Caitlin takes pride in the help that she provides. The enjoyment that she gets out of the job is reflected in the many success stories of SDI’s graduates. It’s one of her favorite parts of the job—seeing a student graduate and find success after attending the school.

SDI, being a school that revolves around gunsmithing, also gives Caitlin an opportunity to immerse herself in the firearms culture of American society. This is a cultural segment that Caitlin is familiar with. She grew up in Kentucky, shooting with her father and her friends. While she does not do her own gunsmithing, firearms have always been a part of her life. This aspect of the job has been a large part of why she has spent five years working for Sonoran Desert Institute.

Caitlin loves her job, which is evident in her enthusiasm and commitment to the school. But when it comes time to decompress, she enjoys attending concerts in the Arizona area, gardening, and, as she stated, “Lots of reading.” Caitlin also has a special interest in sign language and seeks out opportunities to volunteer for interpreting.

While you may not know her name, if you attend SDI or if you have already graduated, you can be assured that Caitlin Mullins has put in a lot of hard work on your behalf. She has seen the school grow from students having to mail in projects to now being able to use the dynamic online environment offered. And she is excited to see what the future holds for Sonoran Desert Institute.

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