Nathan H. Tabourn ’18 chose Shenandoah University because of its football team, but he learned that there was much more to love about Shenandoah. “Although I came in not knowing much about the school, I chose to stay because of the love I was shown by the community and feeling as though everyone at the school cared about my success,” said Tabourn.
Tabourn has a lot of fond memories of Shenandoah, but one that sticks out for him is his First-Year Seminar class, which was taught by President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “Seeing the way the president wanted to connect with us as freshmen and help us whenever she could opened my heart and my mind to the university,” said Tabourn. He also enjoyed his work-study position for the Office of Learning Resources and being a member of the Student Advancement Relations Society. For Tabourn, these great opportunities led him to gain professional skills, helped him come out of his shell and ultimately began his love for working in higher education.
“SU encourages everyone to be curious about the world and those around us,” said Tabourn. “We are encouraged to be lifelong learners and set our own ideas of success within our careers. We should believe that we can reach whatever heights we’d like to achieve, but choosing not to or not being able to doesn’t mean that we weren’t successful or didn’t have a great impact on someone/something.”
Tabourn is the assistant director for student success at Shenandoah University. In this position, he helps direct students to resources on campus they may need and serves as an academic coach for those who are struggling throughout the semester. He also helps run the summer orientation program, Men United for Excellence (a community for men of color in which to connect and interact) and is in charge of developing the Sophomore Experience Program. Before becoming assistant director of student success, Tabourn was a counselor for the Office of Admissions at Shenandoah.
The director of the Office of Learning Resources recommended the counselor position to him, and also let him know about the opening for his current role at the university. “I would literally not be where I am without her, because I had no idea that I could’ve worked in Admissions once I graduated,” said Tabourn.
A rewarding experience Tabourn has had in his new role is reconnecting with a student that he had admitted the year before as a counselor. The student ended up coming to him for advice on navigating a particular portion of her college experience, but didn’t know that his new role would make him the person she would be meeting with. “It was awesome to reconnect with her and now follow her through athletics and academics,” said Tabourn. “She asked me for advice once while I was in admissions, which helped me know that I wanted to work more closely with the students on our campus.”
Tabourn’s Shenandoah education prepared him for his career by helping him embrace his natural curiosity and desire to understand others. “There is always going to be job-specific learning needed from a young professional, but having that curiosity and desire to learn really helps make the process and transition much smoother,” said Tabourn. “ I have always been in diverse schools, but there has never been an emphasis on getting to know those around you. That curiosity to understand others is used daily in my position with Student Success. There isn’t a type of student that I won’t work with and understanding them, their situation, and the way they learn is going to be the only way that I can help them improve whatever situation they might be in.”
Tabourn’s advice to students is: “To be patient with yourselves as well as your students. There is a lot to understand and there is a lot of growth that will take place over the first few years, so just embrace the learning and try to take in as much as you can every day. You wouldn’t be in your position if you weren’t prepared for what’s coming at you!”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations