Emily Braught is entering her third year as the residence coordinator for residence life academic initiatives at IUPUI and making a difference for the students she serves. She’s not only made an impact with her work in our community, but she’s also made an impression on a national scale. This year, she was named the Outstanding New Professional by the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International.
Braught was nominated by multiple colleagues who wrote letters of support for her.
"It’s really cool to be recognized by team members,” said Braught. “It’s nice to know that my unique role and set of experiences is being recognized and valued at a national level. And it’s really nice to know multiple colleagues and a team of people see and value the work I’m doing.”
A 2016 graduate of the University of Iowa, Braught then went to Clemson University to study student affairs and higher education until 2018 when a nationwide job search landed her in Indianapolis. Since then, she’s taken on a role that has allowed her plenty of room to innovate and create.
“I’m trusted to do a lot of things that are unique and not your typical residence coordinator duties compared to other campuses or available entry level professionals,” she added. “I have a passion for academic initiatives within the residence life space, and it’s been great to add my skills to help further the already-great work that was being done.”
Among her main duties are running a first-year scholarship program for first-year students living on campus, while also maintaining the Sophomore Explore and Engage scholarship program. Braught also collaborates with colleagues to support the retention of students in Residential Based Learning Communities (RBLCs), and she works on building the residential curriculum, which is a co-curricular plan of what students learn when they live in the residence halls on campus. She helps train her peers and Housing and Residence Life staff on the curriculum and how to implement it.
This year, Braught and her colleagues were also awarded a Program Review and Assessment Committee grant through Planning and Institutional Improvement at IUPUI. This grant helped fund research to learn what specific outcomes are supporting the retention of RBLC students.
“We know from data that students who engage in living-learning communities like RBLCs are retained at a higher rate,” Braught said. “This grant is helping us dive further into the research to learn what specifically supports that retention.”
As for what’s next, Braught is continuing to work on initiatives that maximize the student experience.
“Student learning is at the center of what I want to do, so that will remain a constant in future opportunities,” she said.
Long term, her heart is set on going back to school to obtain a terminal degree and perhaps explore teaching at the college level.