UNIV 101


Students in class

University 101

University 101 is KU’s in-person orientation seminar. In this class, you'll complete activities that extend beyond the classroom, such as touring iconic campus locations, investigating options for you to get involved, and exploring all the resources available to you. In the course, you will:

  • Learn to navigate KU.
    • You’ll set academic, personal, and wellness goals.
    • You’ll explore campus resources that will ease your transition and help you reach your goals.
    • You’ll develop your academic skills.
  • Find your people.
    • You’ll develop connections with peers, faculty, and staff.
    • You’ll become a part of our campus community through our shared Jayhawk Values.
  • Make the most of your time here.
    • You’ll investigate experiential learning opportunities like undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning, and internships.

UNIV 101 sections are available for first-time freshmen, transfer students, and as part of many different Learning Communities. Reach out to experience@ku.edu for help finding your best fit!

Fall 2022 UNIV 101 Instructors

Name | Joe Bellitti
Pronouns | He/Him/His
Title | Graduate Student
Department | Psychology
Education | College of the Holy Cross, B.A. | Working towards PhD. in Clinical Psychology at KU
Hometown | Basking Ridge, New Jersey

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • My favorite spot on campus is the Allen Fieldhouse. As an avid basketball fan, I am always in awe of the location as it is steeped in so much basketball history. The energy is always palpable, and it is a wonderful place to see many KU students so excited and united in one purpose when it is game time. Being on campus for a KU Men's Basketball championship was a wish of mine, that I was happy to see come to be this spring! 

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • The best tip I can give for succeeding at KU is to use your time here to find out what you are passionate about! KU is full of opportunities, resources, and wonderful people who want to see you flourish, which makes it perfect for exploration. It may take the extra mile to search especially as you get acclimated to your first year, but it will be worth it. Finding your passions will give you the strength to give your best to what you do, persevere through obstacles, and ultimately prepare you for life outside of school! 

Name | Bianca Boyd
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department | Academic Programs &  Experiential Learning
Education | Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health at Oklahoma State University | Master of Science in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Missouri State University | Working towards Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology at KU
Hometown | St. Louis, Missouri

What 3 words would students use to describe you and your teaching style?

  • Passionate, Caring, and Collaborative 

How did you find your people/make connections when you were in college?

  • I found my tribe by attending student organizations, going to events, and connecting with others in my residential hall. 

Name | Jerica Burgess 
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Academic Advisor
Department | Health, Sport, & Exercise Sciences in the School of Education & Human Sciences
Education | Masters in Higher Education Administration from KU | Bachelors in English and Communication Studies with a minor in Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hometown | Lincoln, Nebraska

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • My favorite spot on campus is Allen Fieldhouse. The school spirit and energy during the basketball games is incredible. You can find me cheering on the Jayhawks at all of the home games during basketball season!

What 3 words would students use to describe you and your teaching style?

  • Positive, Organized, and Caring. I enjoy getting to know my students and hope to serve as a mentor and support system as you transition to college.

Name | Michele Marie Casavant
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Assistant Dean
Department | School of Education & Human Sciences
Education | BA, Lewis and lark College | MA, Utah State University | Ph.D, University of Kansas
Hometown | Pullman, WA

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • My favorite spot on campus is Potter's Lake. I find it peaceful and calming.

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • My best tip for being successful at KU is to ask for help when you need it. Everyone could use outside support from time to time.

Name | Julie Hamel
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Assistant Director
Department | Student Programming, TRIO SES
Education | BA, Spanish from KU | BS, Education from KU | MS, Counseling & Personnel Services from Kansas State University | Ph.D, Counseling & Student Development from Kansas State University
Hometown | Concordia, KS

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • Check out the great view from the Pavilion below Blake Hall. It looks out over the prairie planting and the southwest side of campus and is a great place to spend a quiet moment.

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • Attend all of your classes, even when the content is hard and you are feeling lost!  Reach out to the instructors, ask questions, find a study buddy, but keep attending.

Name | Alejandra Hernandez-Castro
Pronouns | She/Hers/Ella
Title | Student Success Specialist
Department | TRIO SES-STEM
Education | BA, Political Science | MS, Counseling Psychology
Hometown | Hugoton, KS

What do you enjoy about teaching UNIV courses?

  • I love teaching UNIV 101 because it’s a great chance to get to know our TRIO students and Hixson scholars and really welcome them to the KU campus. I also really enjoy the connections we build with our students as we guide them through their first year of college. Watching our students grow and succeed during their time at KU is a pretty special thing.

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • My best advice for succeeding at KU is to find your “person.” This can be an advisor, mentor, professor, or staff member that can help guide you and be your “go to” person when you need help. They can connect you to resources, opportunities, and other people who will support your success!  

Name | Erin Kelley-Garrison
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Academic Advisor
Department | Undergraduate Biology Program
Education | BS from Emporia State University | MS of Education from KU
Hometown | Rushville, Missouri

What is your favorite KU or Lawrence tradition?

  • I love Hawk Week! Everyone is excited to be back on campus and there are so many things to do around town and on campus! I say go to everything and take your roommate/floor members with you!

How did you find your people/make connections when you were in college?

  • I went through formal recruitment my first week at Emporia and joined a sorority! Going through the process helped me make friends and understand college life! While I don’t think joining a sorority is for everyone, joining an organization is so important! It helps you create a connection with people that are interested in the same things you are!

Name | Meg Kumin
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Photographer
Department | Marketing Communications
Education | BA, American Studies from KU | MS Computer Science from KU
Hometown | Lenexa, KS

What do you enjoy about teaching UNIV courses?

  • I love teaching UNIV because I love helping first-year students to discover who they are, who they want to become, and how the KU community (and its resources) can help them fulfill their goals and dreams. I am passionate about creating a warm, welcoming environment and I am dedicated to supporting and connecting my students in every way possible.

What 3 words would students use to describe you and your teaching style?

  • Open, Creative, Uplifting

Name | Chelsea Lantz-Cashman
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | First-Year Course Coordinator
Department | Academic Programs and Experiential Learning
Education | BA, Western Carolina University
Hometown | Bryson City, North Carolina

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • When I arrived in Kansas from the mountains of North Carolina, I had one goal in mind: find a long walk that would tucker out the dog and allow her to flop around in a body of water. After a long week of unpacking, the pup and I hoofed it around campus and happened upon Potter’s Lake. Once we hit the grass, the pup took off to the shore to hunt frogs in the shallows and the rest is history.  Six years later, Potter’s Lake remains a primary destination on weekend excursions with my pup.

What's the best class you've ever taken and why?

  • The History of Baseball.  The class should have been called the History of the Yankees because my professor was a hard-core fan, but regardless of the “specialized” focus at times, this class was my first introduction to sports’ history, specifically baseball history.  I think it appealed to me because it flipped my idea of “history” on its head; I had no idea such niche studies existed (and the course reading list was stellar).  This class grew my love of baseball into a love of old baseball that carried into many a research paper across my academic career.

Name | Lex L'Insalata
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Graduate Student
Department | Psychology
Education | BA, Oberlin College | Working towards Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from KU
Hometown | Plainsboro, New Jersey

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • My favorite spot on campus is McLain’s Market. It’s a wonderful place that has a great community feel. I love feeling immersed in campus life, and McLain’s is a great spot to see friends, meet people, as well as do work without feeling too stressed and get some fresh air when the weather is nice. With a good cup of coffee surrounded by great people, McLain’s is a place that makes me feel like I am part of something greater here on campus. Of course they make a great sandwich too, which is a wonderful bonus.

How did you find your people/make connections when you were in college?

  • In college, I was fortunate enough to play lacrosse which really helped me make connections and interact with others who had similar interests. However, even outside of sports I found college to provide ample opportunities to engage with new people, make friends, explore my interests, and chat with professors. Looking into joining different groups, going to different events, and participating in extracurricular activities can be helpful when trying to find others with similar interests. Approaching others in class is also a great way to meet people, and potentially will help you out in the class too. Getting involved on campus really is such an amazing way to meet others and helps cultivate extended relationships. Overall, KU is a large place full of fun, interesting people committed to wonderful things. Use your time to explore and meet new people and you’ll develop lifelong connections for your road to success.

 

Name | Kafayat Mahmoud
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Ph.D Student
Department | Sociology
Education | BS, Sociology from University of Ilorin | MS, Sociology from University of Ilorin | MS, Gerontology from University of Southampton | Working towards a Ph.D in Sociology and Gerontology from KU
Hometown | Nigeria

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • My favorite spot on campus is the Watson Library. As a graduate student, it was easy for me to focus on my studies, catch up on homework, join group study sessions, receive help from librarians and participate in the wellness activities organized by the Library staff.

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • My advice to any incoming student, domestic or international, is to always remember why you are here, focus on your goals and put your best foot forward in all things. Also, remember to prioritize your health, physical and mental, and ensure you strike a good balance between work and leisure.

Name | Cassie Sutton
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Graduate Student
Department | Psychology
Education | BS in Psychological Science from Missouri University of Science & Technology | MA in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University
Hometown | St.Louis, Missouri

What is your favorite spot on campus?

  • Potter Lake. I love how peaceful it is, and its a great place to go if you need a break from studying. 

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • Visit your professors/instructors during office hours. I know it can be intimidating interacting with them one-on-one, but it’s a great way to get help on coursework and communicate your needs with them. Also, you may need a letter of recommendation someday, and office hours are a great way to make connections with potential letter writers!

Name | Tonya Waller
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | GEAR UP Director
Department | CEOP/AAI
Education | BA from KU | EdD from KU | MEd from Washburn University
Hometown | Brooklyn, New York

What do you enjoy about teaching UNIV courses?

  • I enjoy teaching UNIV101 because my section serves primarily first-generation college students, and being a first-gen college student myself, I know how difficult it can be to navigate college during your first year. I hope to help mitigate those difficulties, provide a safe and welcoming space for students, and show students that they belong here.

How did you find your people/make connections when you were in college?

  • I grew up in Brooklyn, NY so coming to KU was quite the culture shock for me.  I found my people by joining the Black Student Union. Being able to connect with students that looked like me was so important, and BSU provided a support network of friends with whom I remain in contact to this day.

Name | Michelle D. Wilson
Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
Title | Assistant Director of Academic & Professional Development
Department | TRIO SES & STEM
Education | Bachelor of General Studies from KU | Master of Liberal Studies with a concentration in Public Administration from Washburn University | Working towards a Ph.D in Communications with a concentration in Organizational Communication from KU
Hometown | Tecumseh, KS

What was your most memorable moment as a first-year student?

  • My most memorable moments as a first-year student at KU was making late night runs to Joe’s Bakery, playing basketball at Robinson Gymnasium, and attending all the football and men’s basketball games, and the KU Relays.

What is your best tip for succeeding at KU?

  • My best tips for succeeding at KU are: 1) Take advantage of the many resources available on campus; 2) get to know a diverse group of people; 3) get out of your comfort zone to get involved; 4) make genuine connections to build your network.