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The Source

Q&A with Peter McKay on working for L&C in NYC

August 09, 2011

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Peter McKay recently earned a new title and took up residence in New York City to reflect strategic changes in undergraduate admissions. As assistant dean of admissions, McKay will visit East Coast high schools in the fall and be a year-round presence for students and families throughout their college-selection process. He will also maintain the admissions web site and social media outreach efforts.

“We are excited to have Peter representing Lewis & Clark on the East Coast,” said Lisa Meyer, dean of admissions and financial aid. “He is certain to make a tremendous impact on our national reputation and the scope of our work.”

The Source sat down with McKay to learn more about his new role, the needs he wants to address, and the rewards of working with students.

Can you share a bit about your background and how you came to choose a career in the field of student admissions?

Like many people working in higher education, I was very involved on campus while attending Emerson College in Boston. I was a resident assistant, a DJ for one of the largest college radio stations in the country, and I helped coordinate the admissions audition process for performing arts students. After working in the travel industry for several years in New York City, I was drawn back to higher education due to my passion for study abroad programs and my desire to help students explore the world through education. That is one of the main reasons I was so attracted to Lewis & Clark—the emphasis on international studies and the global perspective of the Lewis & Clark community. A liberal arts education is something I wholeheartedly believe in, and I love helping students find a college that is a good fit for them—hopefully Lewis & Clark!

How has your position in admissions changed this year?

As of mid-July, I became the East Coast Regional Representative, and I am now based out of New York City. This is a great opportunity for Lewis & Clark to strengthen our presence on the East Coast with prospective families and high school counselors. I will be visiting high schools and attending college fairs from Virginia to Maine, as well as conducting interviews in at least six locations, including regular days for interviews in New York City. Although I certainly miss my hometown of Portland, I maintain a strong connection to the campus and will return to Portland several times a year. (Good thing, too—I know Powell’s Books delivers, but does Voodoo Doughnut?)

What has you the most excited about your new job?

Honestly, I am really looking forward to making connections with prospective students from all over the East Coast! Last year, I was only able to be “back east” for a few weeks per year, so living in New York City will allow me to be more available for students and families. For example, next week I am meeting a student from Connecticut here in New York for an admissions interview. The flexibility is wonderful and the opportunities abound!

What do you consider to be your area of expertise?

In addition to connecting with students in the East, I am also the web master and social media guy in the admissions office. Social media is all about connecting with people in a variety of different ways and figuring out how best to convey a message. I love the collaborative nature of technology, and I enjoy helping the admissions office continue to find new ways of attracting great students to join our vibrant community.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am always up for a new adventure—epic urban treks, glass blowing, indoor and outdoor skydiving. If I haven’t tried it, it’s probably on my to-do list. Recently, I have become addicted to deal-of-the-day sites like Groupon, and my upcoming adventures include a sunset bike tour across the Brooklyn Bridge, an introductory fencing class, and hopefully a trip to India in the next year!