Chad Kuwana joined the College of Public Health and Human Sciences in 2020 as the new undergraduate student recruitment and retention director. Before this role, Chad worked as the assistant director of admissions at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and as an admissions counselor at Cairn University in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Villanova University and his master’s degree in counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary.
What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?
“I became fascinated with college admissions and recruitment ever since I put together my college list. I would spend hours taking virtual tours and writing down statistics about acceptance rates, average test scores and percentage of students admitted with similar GPAs. Matching my academic profile and extracurricular interests with college admission requirements and environments felt like a game.
“However, while applying to colleges, I realized that my privilege played a large role in me going to college and that not everyone has the same experience. This process was enjoyable to me because I had very few hurdles to overcome. That realization ultimately drove me to this industry. I want to help students overcome those hurdles and be able to go to college.”
What do you love about your field? What energizes you?
“I love helping students and their families understand the admission process and what is truly important. There are many misconceptions about college, and it’s always energizing when I can help a student or parent overcome them. One of my favorite misconceptions to challenge is the idea that selectivity has any indication of the quality of education. When I can help students get over that idea and see beyond the acceptance rate, it feels like the conversation can truly begin.”
Why did you choose to work at the CPHHS at Oregon State?
“I chose to work at the CPHHS at Oregon State because of its vision and opportunity for growth. My role is similar to a sales position, and it’s much easier to sell a product when you believe in it and see its value. Knowing that we educate students to provide lifelong health and well-being for all makes it easy to get future students excited about our college. Professionally, I was drawn to the size of Oregon State and the potential paths my career could take at a large research institution.”
What’s the best part about your work?
“My favorite part is being a creative problem solver and continually learning. My position is new for our college and a new role for me, and I also started during the pandemic. I have yet to meet most of my colleagues in person.”
“I’ve had to learn more about public health and human sciences, think of new ways to do my job recruiting students and adjust to new ways of collaborating with co-workers in a remote setting. I’m constantly learning new things, and that’s been exciting.”
What are you most proud of in your work so far?
“So far, I’m most proud of the groundwork I’m laying for the future of recruitment in the CPHHS. As I mentioned earlier, adjustments have been made, and there are many things to learn in a newly created position. While exciting, it’s can also be stressful. However, I know that the work I’m putting in now is setting the base for what’s to come.”
How do you strive to affect people’s lives with your work?
“This has been on my mind a lot, especially with all of the conflicts we’ve seen in 2020. I view what I do as part of a bigger picture and that every person plays a part. I know that if I do my job well, students and their families will have a positive experience with the CPHHS and Oregon State University during a stressful time of their life, and that can go a long way.”
What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?
“One surprising thing about me is that I’m a sixth-generation Japanese-American. Even in Hawaii, where I was born and raised, people my age are usually third or fourth, sometimes fifth-generation, but I haven’t met many people who are also sixth-generation.”
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
“I enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures through food. Meals are one of the most important parts of any trip. I like to find what locals consider the best restaurants and eat there. However, I don’t know if I’m a true ‘foodie,’ because I will still opt for fast food more than I’m willing to admit.”