Hollie Chessman

Hollie Chessman

Hollie Chessman

What work are you doing now?

I am a research fellow at the American Council on Education (ACE). My work focuses on college student mental health and well-being and on a Mellon grant-funded project on race and ethnicity in higher education. I also work with higher education scholars, associations, and foundations across the nation around other ACE projects.

What do you like about it?

ACE helps influence and shape higher education policy and leadership nationally and internationally. I like that what I do is relevant to college and university leadership, and it informs their work with students and other stakeholders. I know what I do impacts higher education as a whole, and is important to our 1,800 members who are college and university presidents. When we release our Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education report in spring 2019, I know it will be something that people across higher education will look to as a resource.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

My course in higher education policy opened the door to other opportunities outside the field of student affairs (which had been my earlier career). The opportunity to have adjunct faculty from DC higher education policy associations was really key to connecting me to my current role at ACE. My statistics classes have been invaluable as well. These courses not only helped me write my dissertation, but they are also foundational to the work I do in research at ACE. The faculty are also well connected and will go out of their way to support students in their aspirations.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Identify what you are passionate about. What jazzes you about your coursework, your job, or your hobbies? Look for ways to connect a career to the things you like to do. I like to read and write, and I am passionate about higher education. The work I do at ACE connects all of these and more.