Dr. Adolph Shares Her Academic Journey

By Eric Bennardo

UPPER BURRELL, Pa.—The new Director of Academic Affairs at Penn State New Kensington has started initiating new academic programs on the campus to be started in the next couple of years.

Dr. Andrea Adolph, Director of Academic Affairs at Penn State New Kensington, works at her desk on campus. (Photo by Eric Bennardo)

Dr. Andrea Adolph, Director of Academic Affairs at Penn State New Kensington, works at her desk on campus. (Photo by Eric Bennardo)

Dr. Andrea Adolph, in her second year at Penn State New Kensington as the Director of Academic Affairs has been trying to “get the ball rolling” as she puts it, to start making service learning a part of the campus curriculum. “It’s something that we will be getting off of the ground slowly but surely,” said Adolph.

Adolph, in her pursuit of these reforms, said she has received the approval of several of her co-workers. “I am very pleased, we get along well and she’s good for the campus,” said Adolph’s co-worker, Professor Rob Bridges. “She seeks out our input and pays attention to everything, pays attention to details.”

Adolph’s co-worker and boss, Chancellor Kevin Snider, also had very nice things to say about her. “She’s a very quick learner, she steps in, and learns like that!” Snider said with a snap of his fingers. Snider also said that he had an added insight about Adolph. “A little known fact, Andrea and I went to the same high school.” This fact only adds to the friendship that these two administrators share with one another.

Adolph, who has earned a Ph.D. in English and is now one of the highest administrators at the campus, was not always sure of her path within the realm of academia. “I don’t think I even knew you could major in English,” said Adolph. After taking a couple of years off after her freshman year, she took a creative writing course to get used to the college environment again. “I got a lot of affirmation and support from the professor, and he’s the one who introduced me to the idea that there was an English degree,” Adolph added. “I like to read books and I like to write, and that became my path.”

Adolph had also learned from this professor that she could attain a Master of Fine Arts degree on top of her bachelor’s, which she was also interested in pursuing. The attainment of her MFA finally led to her interest in a Ph.D. “The first goal was to go to graduate school in creative writing and really by the time I started that degree program I knew that I would probably continue on, largely so that I could teach,” said Adolph.

Adolph worked as a substitute teacher for a year after getting her BA with the intent of teaching high school students, but eventually realized that she preferred teaching adults instead. While having only been in the Pittsburgh area for a little over a year, Adolph said she has found it easy for her and her daughter to adjust because of its similarity to Northeast Ohio where they have previously lived.

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