Quinton Clay

Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Quinton Clay

What year did you start at NIU?
2018

Where is your hometown, and where do you reside now?
Waterloo, Iowa; Aurora, Ill.

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
Each day it seems like I’m traveling a space-time continuum, and trying to hone telepathic abilities. I’m leading a department which is primarily responsible for new-student recruitment, and also serves as generalists of all things NIU. I am constantly learning about our huge and changing institution, and finding ways to present and represent digestible portions of information to prospective students, parents and guardians, high school counselors and community college staff.

Depending on the workday, I’m participating in four to six meetings on a wide range of topics and projects. In one moment, I’m contributing to our communication, marketing, and enrollment strategies. In the next, I’m developing or improving the behind-the-scenes operations required to execute the work we do. Several times a day, I’m monitoring enrollment trends and market research data, and I’m always looking for ways to deepen and enhance relationships with external and internal stakeholders. Because a portion of each day is dedicated to events and my department meets face-to-face with 10,000-plus individuals during a typical year, it’s not uncommon for me to communicate directly with 25-50 different people in a given day.

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
Wartburg College (B.A., Public Relations & Communication Arts) and St. Bonaventure University (M.A., Integrated Marketing Communications).

What advice would you give to students either just starting their college journey or currently attending NIU?
You deserve more than to react to what is presented to you each day. Be assertive! Ask questions, seek new knowledge, and open your world view. Learning is a lifelong journey, and I’ve personally enjoyed meeting challenges presented by uncertainty and other vicissitudes. Don’t be afraid to create within chaotic situations, as some of the best opportunities are embedded within intimidating circumstances.

What do you like about working at NIU?
NIU is an incredibly diverse community which presents so many opportunities to learn about others and yourself. I’m constantly inspired by the countless people I meet whom have overcome tremendous challenges in their lives. They pour into me, just as I hope I’m able to pour into others.

What is your favorite campus event?
Although it was a single event, I was incredibly inspired and moved by the Deacon Davis CHANCE Program’s 50th anniversary celebration. In addition to the rich history of this phenomenal program, the love and celebration of achievement was a testament to perseverance, hard work, and the impact of a supportive community.

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your roll at NIU?
I’m a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counselors, which is the guiding organization for college admissions counseling. I’ve enjoyed delivering presentations at national and state affiliate conferences, and serving as a mentor to newer members. Earlier this year, I was featured in their member spotlight, which was an honor considering that there are more than 15,000 members, and only one is featured in each of the monthly newsletters.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
In recent years, relaxing and recharging has come mostly from the time I spend with my son, Ethan. Raising a child is an incredibly challenging and rewarding responsibility. Ethan is 2, and it seems like he’s much older — as his vocabulary, curiosity and sense of humor do not match what you’d expect from such a little guy. He’s also a marksman with a deadly jump-shot! He probably has a little too much of me in him, but he’s a beam of light and brightens my day, every day.

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