2017 Graduate Student Award

Congratulations to Rachel Hempel of Spaulding University for receiving the 2017 Graduate Student Award at the 2017 KAHO Annual Conference. The Graduate Student Award is awarded annually to one recipient for their outstanding service to their institution.

From the award nomination:

Rachel Hempel stands as a disciplined achiever seeking communal flourishing. Upon admission with Spalding University ‘s doctorate of psychology program, an administrator noticed her undergraduate RA experience and asked Rachel if she would consider serving as Residence Life’s GA. Rachel accepted, and her story begins.

For two years Rachel served as Spalding’s chief housing officer. She worked 30 hours a week rather than a GA’s six-hour requirement. Rachel’s work involved supervising six RAs. All RAs retained during those two years. This retention spilled towards students. Our student residential enrollment went from the 140s, to mid 160s, then mid 170s, and now rests above 200. Include her practicum work and classes, as a full-time doctoral student, she held her schedule. And, the results show it. Knowing this, only a fool would say Rachel did not impact this flourishing.

Rachel knows her strengths and her weaknesses. Therefore she surrounded herself with the individuals to provide a well-rounded team. This included bringing on a full time housing director. Rachel oversaw this individual’s transition, with no hesitation turned over her crown, and continued her work moving Spalding’s needle on student success. Her strength as a disciplined achiever guided her work towards this aim. In result, we see the sprouts of flourishing

Therefore, I recommend Ms. Rachel Hempel as KAHO 2017’s graduate student award. We should give honor where honor is due, and our profession has the privilege providing it to Ms. Hempel.


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KAHO Unbridled Spirit Award Recipient

Congratulations to April Barnes of Eastern Kentucky University for being honored with the KAHO Unbridled Spirit Award at the 2017 KAHO Annual Conference. The KAHO Unbridled Spirit Awarded is presented to any individual who has demonstrated significant and lasting contribution and service to their institution while embodying an unbridled spirit in service for the betterment of their institution, state, region, or the professional in general. Recipients demonstrate a record of service as a positive change-agent in service to their students, colleagues, and peers.

From the award nomination:

I have known April now for approximately 8 years. She is one of the most dedicated and competent professionals I know. Her tireless work ethic is only surpassed by her love for students. She has excelled in numerous positions at EKU for the last 8 years in spite of countless organizational changes. She is loved and admired by staff that report to her and is seen as a role model, an amazing professional, and a great leader, all while balancing her duties as a mom to 3 beautiful children. She has recently added “doctoral student” to her list of activities and I’m sure will be as successful with that as she is with everything else. She has unbridled spirit for all that she does professionally but also an unbridled spirit for life itself. She would be a deserving recipient of this award. Thanks for considering her!

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2017 Burt Horine RELI Scholarship Recipient

The Burt Horine RELI Scholarship is awarded to up to two entry-level professionals to attend the annual SEAHO Regional Entry Level Institute (RELI). The 2017 recipient of the $250 Burt Horine RELI Scholarship is Casey Roley from the University of Kentucky.

From the nomination:

Casey Roley is going into her second year as an RD at the University of Kentucky. In Casey’s two years, she has already made a HUGE impact on her community and our department. Even though Casey is in one of our smaller communities, she has made it a priority to know every resident’s name and follow up with them when she is aware of any transition or academic issues. Casey is incredibly genuine and always brings a positive attitude to everything she does. On top of her RD commitments, is active in our department training committees and volunteers as the advisor of MANNRS, which is a student group for underrepresented students within the College of Agriculture.

Casey is deserving of this scholarship because she will benefit from the RELI experience. Professionally, Casey always looks for ways to prepare herself for the next level and could benefit from the support that RELI provides. Casey is the perfect person to represent Kentucky and KAHO and has been involved in SEAHO since grad school.

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2017 KARH Student of the Year


Congratulations to Casey Allen of Eastern Kentucky University for being recognized as the 2017 KARH Student of the Year. The Student of the Year is award by the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers on behalf of the Kentucky Association of Residence Halls (KARH) to a student who has made outstanding contributions to their institution and the Kentucky Association of Residence Halls.

From the nomination:

When I read the description for the KARH Student of the Year award, I immediately thought of Casey Allen. He is the type of student leader that immediately makes an impression on you – he is intelligent, he is optimistic, and he is kind. Casey leads with a servant heart and a “can do” attitude that brings a team together and makes them all want to be better and do better. It is my hope that in this nomination I can truly convey what an outstanding individual Casey Allen is and what he has meant to EKU Housing & Residence Life over the past year.

First, I would like to point out what I believe is Casey’s strongest attribute: his servant heart. In Residence Life we often throw around quotes that we hope will inspire others to action. “It starts with you,” “be the change you wish to see in the world,” “leadership is not a position or a title, it is an action and an example.” Casey brings these quotes to life and lives them every day. One of my very first interactions with Casey after he was hired as a Resident Advisor was when I bumped into him, early on a Monday morning, while he was picking up trash outside his residence hall. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was picking up trash because he believed the “community deserved to be respected.” That has stuck with me – what college student wants to get up early on a Monday morning and pick up trash outside their residence hall!? Casey does it because he can see the big picture and believes in going the extra mile to serve his community. To Casey, his residents deserve the best and he strives to provide that for them, no matter what it takes.

Another one of Casey’s qualities that I would like to point out is his ability to impact and lead his co-workers. Although Casey is only a second year RA, most people assume he has been doing the job for years. I would literally feel comfortable letting him run a residence hall on his own – his calm demeanor, his sense of responsibility, and his insight is that good! Casey just “gets it.” Casey lead’s his co-workers by setting an example of what it means to invest in the team. When a new task needs to be completed, Casey is the first to volunteer. When a student or maintenance issue comes up, Casey is solution-oriented and seeks opportunities for everyone to come out as a winner. Casey is also up for the random day-to-day “other duties as assigned” tasks that happen from time to time. I’ve seen Casey move furniture, serve food, install cable cords, and pick up trash, yet never let a smile leave his face. His flexibility and willingness to take whatever curve balls Residence Life can throw at him are a breath of fresh air – he understands that our field of work can be a bit unpredictable but he has the flexibility and commitment to the overall mission to see it through. On top of this, he continually asks his supervisors for ways he can improve. He isn’t stagnant – he realizes that an improvement in his abilities is also an improvement to his staff and the students he serves. His peers see these qualities and seek to mirror his attitude and behavior.

Finally, I would like to recognize Casey’s ability to still be a college student while also being an outstanding staff member. Casey is not just successful in his RA position, but he is academically strong and connected on campus. While being a student at EKU, he remained focused on his studies and has achieved and maintained a strong GPA. He is involved in numerous student organizations, including several that are sponsored by EKU Housing & Residence Life, and other service organizations on campus. I often see Casey out at campus events and hanging out with friends around campus. Somehow, Casey has managed to find balance between his roles as a college student and Resident Advisor and avoided burn-out. I believe our professional staff could learn a thing or two from him!

In this nomination, I have only given a few examples of why I believe Casey Allen is deserving of the KARH Student of the Year award. His residents are lucky to be led by him, his co-workers are lucky to work alongside him, and our department is lucky to have him represent us. He is a well-rounded individual that believes in the mission of EKU Housing & Residence Life and is committed to going the extra mile to see the department’s values fully realized. His is a rock star in every sense of the word!

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2017 SEAHO Corporate Scholarship Recipient

The SEAHO Corporate Scholarship is awarded by the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers on behalf of the two corporate associates who have made the largest donation towards that year’s conference for an individual to attend the next SEAHO Conference. Consideration for the scholarship includes financial need, a potential first-time attendee for the SEAHO Conference, involvement in KAHO or other professional organizations, and published works.

On behalf of Luckett & Farley (www.luckett-farley.com/) and Southwest Contract (www.swcontract.com/), the 2017 recipient of the $250 SEAHO Corporate Scholarship is Collin Bruner from the University of Kentucky.

From the nomination:

Collin Bruner is currently in his first year as an RD at the University of Kentucky and has put in a submission for SEAHO called “Managing Up: Creating a Mutually Beneficial Supervision Relationship.”

In Collin’s first year as an RD he has not only shown his commitment to the RD position, he has shown his commitment to professional development. Starting on day one, Collin worked with other RDs to help create his session proposal and plans to co-present with another RD to enhance the experience of the presentation. While this RD has a different experience from Collin, he has still worked to figure out how they can combine their strengths and their passions.

I know that Collin is looking to get more involved in SEAHO and this scholarship will help him do just that! Collin has been in the region since grad school and is looking to later apply to RELI!

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KAHO Ruth Ann Howard Service Award Recipient

Congratulations to John Michael Haky of Morehead State University for being honored with the KAHO Ruth Ann Howard Service Award at the 2017 KAHO Annual Conference. The Ruth Ann Howard Service Award is awarded to individuals who have worked in Kentucky for at least three years who demonstrate outstanding service to the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers (including service on the Governing Council, serving on the Host Committee for a KAHO sponsored conference, published articles, and recognition for awards) and/or their institution(s).

From the nomination:

Since starting as KAHO’s Secretary/Treasurer in February 2016, John has demonstrated strong commitment and service to the organization. In his role, John has worked to transition the organization’s financial records to a clear and consistent reporting structure, and the result of this has been clear reporting information that has allowed KAHO to identify opportunities and weaknesses in the organization’s financial model, including financial sustainability and use of KAHO awarded scholarships during previous years. In addition to maintaining records for KAHO’s current activities, John has made the effort to research and recover many historical records regarding KAHO, including previous award winners that are currently listed on the KAHO website. Some of this research also included recovering previous account information, such as a Gmail account, where previous records were housed and also could be used for future opportunities.

Beyond his position responsibilities to KAHO, John has put for the effort to either grow or sustain many of KAHO’s resources. John has worked to enhance KAHO’s digital presence, which has included adding content and features to the KAHO website and when needed, posted regularly on KAHO’s social media sites. Never short on ideas, John has consistently proposed ways in which the organization can further its mission of being a resource for professionals and students in Kentucky, including increased communication means, revisions to key organization documents, and identifying professional development opportunities. During the 2016 KAHO Annual Conference, John both presented a session about integrating history and tradition into residence hall work and served as moderator for multiple sessions. Furthermore, through John’s role as an Adviser for KARH, he has worked to bridge the two organizations, allowing KAHO to be a strong resource for KARH as it continues to move through its transition as an independent organization.

John’s service to the profession, both with multiple organizations and positions at multiple Kentucky schools, has seen a positive impact on those around him and create a foundation for success for others.

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2017 Best of the Bluegrass Award

20171006_132924Photo courtesy of John Michael Haky (Morehead State University)

Congratulations to Christina Reyes (Eastern Kentucky University), Kira Munoz (Eastern Kentucky University), and Ayanna Ross (Eastern Kentucky University) for being awarded the 2017 Best of the Bluegrass Award for their outstanding session Challenging the Status Quo: Changing Perceptions of Staff of Color presented during the 2017 KAHO Annual Conference.

From the session description: In today’s atmosphere, the struggle for staff of color to allow their voices to be heard is all too real. Unfortunately, while these voices go unheard, problems still exist for our staff and students. It is important to foster an environment that encourages all voices to be heard and supported. Come learn about the challenges staff of color may face and how you can advocate for changing perceptions as well as laying the groundwork for initial discussions on creating a culture of brave spaces.

Challenging the Status Quo: Changing Perceptions of Staff of Color will represent Kentucky at the 2018 SEAHO Conference, and its presenters will receive a total of $500 to assist with associated costs.

The Best of the Bluegrass Award is awarded to the highest rated session during the KAHO Annual Conference. The winning session is selected to be presented at the following SEAHO Conference, and the presenters receive a total of $500 to assist with the expenses of attending the SEAHO conference.

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2017 KAHO Service Award Recipients

During the 2017 Annual Conference, the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers recognized the recipients of the 2017 KAHO Service Award. Recipients of the award are selected by the Chief Housing Officer of each of KAHO’s member institutions for their outstanding service to their institution over the past year.

The 2017 KAHO Service Award was awarded to:

  • Connie Mitchell (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • John Michael Haky (Morehead State University)
  • Debbie Thomas (Northern Kentucky University)
  • Ashley Hill (Transylvania University)
  • Tyler Priest (University of Kentucky)

Congratulations to all the recipients and thank you for all your had work and dedication to your institutions and its students.

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2017-18 KAHO Governing Council

Congratulations to the 2017-18 KAHO Governing Council:

  • President: Leslie Maxie Ashford (Bellarmine University)
  • President-Elect: Dr. Anthony White (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • Colonel: Ann Young (Centre College)
  • Secretary/Treasurer: John Micheal Haky (Morehead State University)
  • SEAHO State Representative: Christina Reyes (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • Small School Representative: LeRon Collier (Georgetown College)
  • Graduate Student Representative: Ayanna Ross (Eastern Kentucky University)
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KAHO 2017 is here!


The 2017 KAHO Annual Conference is upon us! Stay up to date on everything that is happening at Berea College through the following means:

Tag your posts and photos with #KAHO2017.

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