Pilar Page, Mills College’s new student support coordinator, is no stranger to adjusting to new places. She completed her most recent adjustment in a long line of moves to Oakland in August, just two days before her job on campus began.
Page saw that she could do exactly what she had been doing at her previous job at Texas State Technical College, but in an official capacity at Mills — assisting students with all aspects of their transitions to college life. The job at Mills gave her the opportunity to empower women to be successful in a male dominated society.
“I saw the need and I wanted to be a part of that team,” Page said.
Page has met with about five students since she began at Mills — students who wanted to withdraw, take a leave of absence or are having a hard time dealing with anxiety and separation.
“I think it’s important for students to realize that they have a safe space,” Page said.
According to Page, student interactions with her are different than with a professor or counselor, where conflicts of interest, either academically or otherwise, may arise.
“[With] counseling, you get eight sessions. With my office, it’s an open door policy, so you can come in whenever you need to,” Page said.
Gabriella Tempestoso, Associate Dean and Page’s supervisor, said she enjoys Page’s openness to students, her spirit of teamwork and her strong commitment to the vision of Mills College.
“[Pilar] brings a strong background in working with students, supporting their needs particularly when students find themselves in need of assistance due to an academic or personal crisis,” Tempestoso said.
Page previously worked as a counselor at Texas State Technical College, a two-year, predominantly male institution. Responding to a need she perceived in the students there, Page reshaped her position to better support her students with their transition into college. When the position for student support coordinator opened at Mills, Page felt it was a natural fit.
Dr. Martin said that Page would be the “important link and will also be the main contact for support for students related to sexual violence, sexual assault, and harassment.”
Page went to high school in Las Vegas after moving to the United States when she was 13 from Kingston, Jamaica. She completed her undergraduate studies in English literature and women and gender studies at the University of Redlands in Southern Calif., before moving to Waco, Texas for her graduate work where she earned a masters degree in social work and community organizing from Baylor University. Page says she spent a lot of time working with at-risk youth in the student services there. She wants to begin work on her Ph.D. in higher education leadership and is looking into the program at Mills, and at a program in San Francisco.
“I think one of the challenges I’ll face here – since this campus is a lot more grounded in social justice, in making sure you’re aware of what is going on, not just on campus but in the community – will be to learn the culture,” Page said.
Page says many people have been welcoming and have helped her to adjust.