Tae Nosaka; one hard worker

May 052005
Authors: Nici Barrett

Tae Nosaka devotes all she has to her work, an ethic she developed early in her life.

Nosaka grew up in Colorado on her parents' land east of Trinidad, Colo., which was 50 miles from the nearest town.

Her mom home schooled her until fourth grade, when she went to public school for the first time.

"Fourth grade was my first traumatic experience with education," Nosaka said.

The lack of redoes that teachers provided shocked Nosaka – her mother had always let her correct her mistakes.

The straight-A student developed a life-long perfectionist quality.

"It is hard to settle for less than my best," Nosaka said.

Nosaka is now the coordinator of the Key Academic Community at CSU. The KAC is a learning community that promotes academics, service, community, culture and social development.

Nosaka graduated from CSU in 1999 with a major in natural resource management.

After graduation she worked in Minnesota at the Deeportage Conservation Reserve for a year teaching natural resources.

"I couldn't really have a career in natural resources," Nosaka said. "I thought that I would combine it with my passion for higher education."

Nosaka could not have a career in natural resources because most of the available professions were in researching and she wanted to teach.

Nosaka realized her passion for education when she was a peer mentor for the Key Academic Community program in its second year, 1999-2000.

After working in Minnesota, she realized how much she wanted to come back to Colorado and work in education.

She contacted Paul Thayer, executive director for the Center for Advising and Student Achievement, to see if any education positions were open at CSU.

Nosaka applied to be an adviser because that was the available position; it was not her first choice.

"Advising is prescriptive. I wanted to be creative," Nosaka said.

During the application process the KAC received funding to create a program coordinator position, and Thayer thought of Nosaka.

"Tae demonstrated commitment to diversity and to student success," Thayer said.

Nosaka started in 2001 and has been in the office ever since. Her involvement with students individually subsided as her coordinator responsibilities grew.

But regardless of whether students need her, she makes herself available.

"Tae is a great resource when you have questions about campus activities, clubs, and other things," said Haimy Assefa, freshman open-option major.

However, Nosaka is not as available as she would like to be.

"The hardest part is that (my work) is behind the scenes. There is not a lot of interaction with students," Nosaka said.

The behind-the-scenes work includes organizing programs, recruiting next year's students, hiring mentors, finding seminar teachers and reserving seats in classes for Key students.

"Unfortunately this means I spend a lot of time on the phone," Nosaka said.

Nosaka also helps the current mentors through a variety of situations.

"Tad is always there for me. No matter what my problem is she is always willing to listen and give helpful advice," said Samantha Kelly, senior criminal justice major and peer mentor for Key.

Nosaka also mediates conflicts between mentors, students and professors. Despite these "inevitable" conflicts, Nosaka enjoys all aspects of her job.

"(My job) is fun, I love it. I need to know that I make a difference," Nosaka said.

Nosaka is in the process of recruiting students for the upcoming fall semester, while at the same time closing the program for the current Key students.

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