Tamara Blocker’s journey to Wake Forest started at Astronaut High School and ended up at the Admissions Office 12 years ago. As Senior Associate Dean of Admissions, she keeps the undergraduate Admissions Office running smoothly and, most recently, has packed up a lot of boxes and memories as the Admissions Office moves from Starling Hall to the new Welcome Center.
What do you do?
As my colleagues, I do the things you would expect an Admissions officer to do… travel to college fairs and high schools, interview students, read applications and talk, a lot, about Wake Forest. Other than that, I try to keep the operations of the Admissions Office afloat. This includes the processing of applications, all things Banner related, coordination of the Admissions support staff, collaboration with various other departments on campus, lots of problem solving, and, as of late, picking out carpet samples for the new Admissions Office and packing boxes! You never know what a day in the Admissions Office may bring – therefore, ‘other duties as assigned’ is underlined on our job descriptions.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The interaction with people. Each day I get to collaborate with a group of smart, dynamic, interesting folks that I also call my friends – not only in the Admissions Office, but across campus. I get to talk with prospective students that are bright, motivated and passionate. You never know who may walk through the door of the Admissions Office.
What will you miss most about Starling Hall?
Starling Hall was my first introduction to Wake Forest University, so it will always be a special place to me. Starling Hall was the first introduction to Wake Forest University for thousands, so it will always be a special place to many! I’ll miss the history. I’ll miss the charm. I’ll miss that feeling of home.
What are you most looking forward to in the new building?
The amount of space for our visitors. The auditorium is AMAZING and the restrooms are plentiful!
You’ve seen thousands of students over the years, how have they changed?
Students and parents are certainly more savvy about the application process than 10 years ago. Technology has made the process more efficient for students – perhaps too much so. Nonetheless, the best and brightest students will always stand out – no matter how the admissions process changes – it just takes more effort to find them!
What are some highlights of your time here?
Working on a ‘Linking Debatable Issues’ project with high school students and teachers during the second Presidential Debate hosted on campus was, at the time, cutting edge and really fun. Being a part of the landmark decision to go test optional was exciting and energizing. And having the opportunity to be a part of designing the new Admissions Office/Welcome Center has been a joy.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Titusville, Fla., where the space shuttle is launched. My high school was even called Astronaut High School! I graduated from Florida State University and did my graduate work at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
How did you end up at Wake Forest?
My husband and I were ready to makes changes in our career paths and location. We were public school educators in Florida. North Carolina was a familiar and attractive option – both my parents were originally from Mitchell County and I have extended family in the mountains and the Piedmont. I spent quite a bit a time in both areas as a child. I began my job search and forwarded my resume to Martha (Allman) referencing an Assistant Director position I saw posted in the Winston-Salem Journal. She invited me to interview and I’ve been here ever since!
My husband, Chris, and I will be married 18 years in August. We were blessed with twin girls – Sydney and Casey. They are 5 years old and will enter kindergarten this fall. We have a dog named Josie, which is truly a member of the family, and several chickens, including a rooster named Sunshine.
What do you do when you’re not working?
When not working on Admissions operations, you can find me working on Blocker household operations! Seriously, when not at work, I’m with my family. In the warmer months we enjoy spending time outside – playing and exploring – finding fun and interesting things for Sydney and Casey to experience. We also visit with grandparents locally and spend time with grandmothers in Florida and Georgia as much as we can. And when time permits, Chris and I enjoy the local vineyards.
What’s your dream job?
A country music singer, and believe me, I am in no way qualified.