Student Life associate director named LeadMN Student Senate Advisor of the Year
If Minnesota Vikings fans bleed purple, then Anna Voight must bleed Pantone Reflex Blue, the official primary color of Dakota County Technical College. Anna might object to that comparison not because she doesn’t love DCTC (she does), but because she is devoted to the Green Bay Packers, who favor colors of a more cheesy variety.
The enthusiasm, professionalism, compassion and expertise Anna brings to her role as associate director of student life at DCTC make one wonder why everyone on campus has not become a Packers fan. Anna’s unswerving commitment to the students, faculty and staff she serves has led to her selection as LeadMN 2018 Student Senate Advisor of the Year.
Anna began her DCTC experience in 2007 as a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student in the Executive Assistant program. The following year, she became a home-school graduate. She went on to earn her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) from DCTC in 2009.
“I was a student worker in the Office Careers area and had a fantastic experience in the program,” Anna recalled. “I also got involved in Student Life activities and served as campus liaison for the Student Senate. I founded Christians on Campus at DCTC and joined the Multicultural Student Leadership Association. I served as a student ambassador on the recommendation of my executive assistant instructor, Charlotte Kodner.”
After earning her A.A.S. degree, Anna continued to follow Charlotte’s advice. She remained at DCTC and completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) while navigating a 2+2 Distance Learning program at Southwest Minnesota State University. She earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in Management from SMSU in 2011.
“After concluding my classes at DCTC, I accepted an internship in Student Life working for the department’s director, Nicole Meulemans,” Anna said. “Not long after I started my internship, an opportunity came along to work with Deb Newberry, director of the college’s Nanoscience Technology program, and her assistant, Billie Copley.”
Anna provided administrative support for the Nano-Link Center for Nanotechnology Education, which was made possible by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. During her internship, the college posted a new position on campus: assistant director of student life.
“That was my true dream job,” Anna said. “I applied and was hired in December 2011.”
Five years later, Anna took on the role of associate director after the Student Life departments at DCTC and Inver Hills Community College began shared services.
LeadMN 2018 Student Senate Advisor of the Year
This annual award recognizes a student senate advisor at a two-year college who has gone above and beyond the role and responsibilities of advising student senators on senatorial operations while serving as their day-to-day advocate. The awardee also functions as a mentor to student leaders, helping them grow and prosper on their academic and career pathways.
“I am honored to receive this recognition from LeadMN, yet what means the most to me is not the award itself, but the kind and thoughtful words shared by students and colleagues,” Anna said. “My teachers and other staff did so much to support me as a student and help me feel that DCTC was my home. I am happy to have the opportunity to do the same for other students now.”
LeadMN connects college students for the change. We represent the 180,000 two-year college students in Minnesota to help them transform their lives and their communities. Our students LeadMN by developing leadership skills to realize their potential, see beyond what they thought was possible for personal success, and to drive community-wide change.
— Courtesy of the LeadMN website
Anna reported that advisors understand how student organizations are only as robust and influential as their membership.
“Led by Susan Garcia, student senate president, we have a very strong group of student senators this year,” she said. “The passion, dedication, positivity and commitment they demonstrate each day to their fellow students make our campus a better place. I can’t speak highly enough of our student leaders. We have made a great team this year!”
Being recognized by students as the LeadMN Student Senate Advisor of the Year is one of the most meaningful awards you can ever receive. Anna has positively impacted the lives of countless students. Her tireless efforts making DCTC a better college community for students, staff and faculty are admired by those who have had the privilege to work with her.
I am so proud of all Anna’s accomplishments and know she will continue to influence those around her in a positive way.
— Nicole Meulemans
Director of Student Life
Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College
More about Anna…
Originally from Farmington, Minnesota, Anna is currently pursuing her Master of Arts (M.A.) in Educational Leadership at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with plans to graduate in December 2018. Her parents are Bryan and Faith Voight. She has four brothers, Joel, Nathan, Daniel and Abram, and one sister, Rebekah. Her sister, two of her brothers, and three sisters-in law also attended DCTC. Kristen Pahl, the college’s front desk coordinator is Anna’s first cousin.
“I come from a blue-collar family,” Anna said. “My dad and three brothers work in the construction industry; my other brother is a heavy construction equipment mechanic. Growing up in a blue-collar family helps me relate to our students in the college’s Construction & Manufacturing and Transportation programs. My dad has been self-employed for more than forty years. My siblings and I all worked for him growing up and we learned the value of hard work.”
When she’s not working or studying for her master’s degree, Anna enjoys spending time with her nieces, nephews and friends. She also enjoys going to country music concerts, reading, organizing things and playing with her new puppy, a Shih Tzu-Lhaso apso mix named Lacy.
Anna Voight Q & A
What are your long-range higher education plans?
I am on track to finish my Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in December of this year. After that, I would also like to take Harold Torrence’s Spanish class—and someday I would like to take classes or get a degree in industrial organizational psychology.
What are your long-range career plans?
I don’t have a specific position I’d like to be in long-term, but I really enjoy working in a role where I can support effective leaders. I love my job working at DCTC, and one of the biggest reasons is because I have a great boss in Nicole Meulemans. Nicole has been there for me through some of the toughest times in my life.
I would not be where I am today if not for her caring about me as a student, and mentoring me as an employee. There’s no one I’d rather work alongside than Nicole. I hope my long-term career includes continuing to work her, whether it be at DCTC or somewhere else.
Why did you choose your career path?
My own college experience in student activities is what lead me to pursue this career. The time I spent participating in student activities were some of the best memories of my time in college. I met several of my best friends while a member of the Student Senate. I learned how to work in a team environment and gained a lot of great experiences to add to my resume.
I felt that any student who didn’t get involved in student activities wasn’t getting the most they could out of their DCTC experience. I wanted to see more students participate in activities outside the classroom and benefit from them like I did, and felt I could help make that happen by working in Student Life.
What did you like best about your DCTC student experience?
Being a student ambassador was the highlight of my student experience on campus. I loved working with the faculty and staff to recruit and welcome new students to campus (and still do!). I knew back then I wanted to work here someday and help students the way others had helped me.
What are your duties as associate director of student life?
I serve as the lead worker in sthe DCTC Student Life department, supporting Student Life Director Nicole Meulemans, who is a shared manager between DCTC and Inver Hills. My responsibilities include making sure the department is running smoothly in Nicole’s absence, being the point of contact for club advisors and students, advising the Student Senate, supervising student workers, assisting Nicole with budget management and planning graduation, and coordinating the Student Life components of Student Orientation and Registration.
I also serve as chair of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee; I previously served on Diversity Council, Strategic Planning Committee, Strategic Enrollment Management Task Force, and other ad hoc groups focused on improving the student experience.
Three words that describe you as a person:
RESPONSIBLE. LOYAL. THOUGHTFUL.
What do you like best about your job as associate director of student life?
I most enjoy working on projects aimed at improving an aspect of the student experience.
Why should students become involved in Student Life, including campus clubs and activities?
Being involved in student activities can help students get a job through the added skills learned, experienced gained and network built.
What’s one thing every DCTC student should know?
No matter what challenges you go through while a student, you’re likely not the first student who has gone through something similar and you won’t be the last—so you’re not alone. Reach out to your support network of faculty and staff; we are all here to help you succeed.
What has been your toughest challenge in life?
The toughest challenge in my life (that I am willing to share publicly) would be learning to navigate a relationship-orientated, extroverted work environment as a task-focused introvert.
What person has influenced you the most in life?
I can’t pick just one…
Charlotte Kodner for encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone as a student and encouraging me every step of the way. I wouldn’t have gotten involved in Student Life if it wasn’t for her. She is also the first person who encouraged me to get my bachelor and master’s degrees. She believed in me and my abilities from day one as a student. Charlotte was also LeadMN (formerly MSCSA) 2010 Instructor of the Year.
“Anna is a shining star,” Charlotte said. “She is dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives every single day. She is a joy to work with both as a student and a colleague. I am very proud of and have great respect for Anna. She has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and she is always looking for ways to better herself and be of service to those around her. Like a true leader, Anna helps those she works with develop their own leadership skills. When Anna works with others, she is patient and positive.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Dakota County Technical College is an outstanding educational institution due in part to having Anna as the associate director of student life and student senate advisor. It would not surprise me in the least if Anna went on to earn a doctorate degree. I would be honored to call her Doctor Anna Voight—and maybe take a class or two from her. Congratulations, Anna, on being named LeadMN Student Senate Advisor of the Year.”
Nicole Meulemans has had a big influence on my life and how I approach work. When I was a student and intern, Nicole set the example for what it takes to be an employee in Student Life. She was the LeadMN 2012 Student Senate Advisor of the Year, and she taught me everything I know about advising the Student Senate. She continually challenges me to do things out of my comfort zone and grow from the experiences.
Whenever I go to her with a question or problem, she always takes the time to talk me through it and teach me through the process instead of just providing the solution. She has mentored me through countless situations that have not only made me a better employee, but a better person. I always keep an eye out for the people around me I can learn something from, and Nicole is one of those people who has taught me the most.
Dave Thorson led a young adult Bible study I attended in my early 20s. Dave taught me how to apply biblical principles to everyday situations we face. My Christian faith is my compass in my daily work, and helps me see the bigger picture in life and how my words and actions can impact others. Dave has been my biggest mentor in this and strengthening my relationship with God.
I would not be where I am today without these three people.
LeadMN Student Senate Advisor of the Year nominator excerpts…
Anna shows commitment in every work assignment she gets. We can always count on not only her, but her quality of work, attention to detail, and overall, her commitment to the students of DCTC. Most importantly, Anna goes above and beyond to make sure that every voice is heard, every contribution is recognized, and every person is important.
— Susan Garcia, Student Senate President
Anna is SO very nice and a very hard-working individual. Personally, she helped me in many ways, she helped to get involved with the DCTC Student Senate and becoming a student ambassador. I met Anna from a family friend who connected me an opportunity to play soccer for the DCTC soccer team.
— Micheal Ziwa, Student and Blue Knight Soccer Player
Anna does a lot at the campus to help students succeed. She chairs the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee and helps veterans be successful at DCTC.
— Dave Hannen, Student Senate Treasurer
Anna is passionate and involved in what I call the heart of DCTC Student Life, a place many gather to attend senate meetings, relax, study and eat much like a home. Anna is informed about policies and procedures with firsthand knowledge and experience as a graduate from DCTC.
— Margaret Steeves, Student Senate Campus Liaison
Anna is a lovely person who has always wears a smile on her face no matter how many things she is juggling in a given day. She is an enthusiastic and creative role model who inspires anyone with her energetic and contagious personality.
— Ana Khakural, Student Senator and Student Ambassador
Anna has a gift of making everyone feel welcome as they walk into Student Life. She advocates for the students on campus. She brings out the best in the students and holds them accountable. She is consistently encouraging all of the senate members and ambassadors on campus to take on new roles and step out of their comfort zone as she did with me. She is the backbone of our Student Life.
— Cheryl Brogger, Alumna and Employee
Anna is so helpful. I had never served as the Student Senate secretary until 2017. She helped by answering any questions that I had. She has a positive energy about her. She is also very kind.
— Abby Anderson, Former Student Senate Secretary
Anna Voight is a great leader and a good mentor. She loves serving other and taking time to listen to what others have to say. I can proudly and humbly say that, working under her leadership as a student worker and new immigrant from Liberia, West Africa in the United States was one of the best things that happened to me. She is humble, committed and loves helping her staff and everyone working with her develop and build their capacities.
— Branko Saah Tambah, Alumnus and Foundation Board Member
Anna always has a heart for helping others. She has been giving me helpful input into a smooth transition as the new student senate secretary. Her desire is helping students have an enjoyable time at school through different events has made an impact in campus.
— Daisy Mairura, Student Senate Secretary
Anna has been a great advisor and mentor not only to our current batch of students, but since she commenced her role as an adviser. Her dedication and support has led to the successful implementation of a lot of student-driven projects here at the college. Her commitment to student success cannot be emphasized enough. Anna is passionate about her job and takes great pride in the success of her students.
— Israel Gray, Student Senate Vice President
Anna has been a major influence in my success as a student at DCTC. From the first DCTC Student Senate meeting I attended, Anna has proven to be a mentor to me. She encouraged me to join different committees, and as a result, I became more than just a student. I became an active participant in the DCTC community. Anna has been a sounding board for me.
— Chris Myrah, Student Senator
Anna is a dedicated advisor who cares deeply about the success of the DCTC Student Senate. She provides clear direction to student senators in a caring, compassionate, and professional manner. Anna has been involved in college-wide planning and understands the DCTC Strategic Plan as well as the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan and other relevant plans which provides direction to Student Senate initiatives. Anna sees the larger vision of the college and connects it to her work as an advisor in meaningful and relevant ways.
— Anne Johnson, Vice President of Student Affairs
Anna Voight Student Life gallery
Anna Voight | 21 Answers
- Favorite season: Football season
- Favorite sport or physical activity: NFL football
- Place you would most like to visit: WWII sites in Europe, especially Normandy
- Greatest accomplishment: First person in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree
- Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Meeting Reba McEntire
- Your favorite world or business leader: Alvin C. York, most decorated American soldier in World War I
- Favorite actor or actress: Fred MacMurray
- Favorite band or performing artist: Reba!
- Favorite book: The 360 Degree Leader
- Your personal motto if you had to have one: “It takes less time to do something right than to explain why you did it wrong.”
- Coolest thing in the world: All 11 of my nieces and nephews
- Scariest thing in the world: Tornadoes. I have been terrified of them since I was a child—and still have nightmares about them once in a while; this probably stems from watching Twister with my brother at too young of an age.
- Favorite all-time TV show: All-time would have to be The Donna Reed Show; but since Baby Boomers are probably the only ones who have heard of that show, I would also add that my favorites right now are Madam Secretary and American Housewife.
- Favorite all-time movie: The Intern with Anne Hathaway (thanks to Tom Cross for the recommendation!); closely followed by Sergeant York with Gary Cooper.
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: I would like to write a book someday about my college experience to career, and how my relationship with God helped me persevere and get to where I am today.
- Most precious material possession: My Bible and book collection.
- First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: I wouldn’t buy anything new. I would pay off my mortgage, put the rest in the bank/invest it, and go on living a normal life, so I don’t become a statistic like people who win the lottery and go bankrupt later in life!
- Dream occupation: Industrial organizational psychologist; I enjoy studying employee engagement and efficiency in the workplace.
- Person you would most like to meet: Tony Dungy—I would love to talk to him about the concepts he talks about in his book, The Mentor Leader.
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: It’s embarrassing to admit, but I would say memorizing the multiplication table so I can quickly do math in my head. Being home-schooled, those multiplication flash cards just didn’t cut it for me.
- Humankind’s greatest challenge: Our natural tendency to be self-centered rather than consider others before ourselves.
To learn more about Student Senate and Student Life at DCTC, contact:
Director of Student Life and Activities
Associate Director of Student Life
Student Senate Office