Bryan Koval is the Housefellow for two residence halls right in the heart of Carnegie Mellon University‘s campus – West Wing and Resnik House. He also serves as the advisor to the Student Dormitory Council (SDC) and as the coordinator for RA (Resident Assistant) and CA (Community Advisor) recruitment, selection, training, and assessment. At the start of the 2015-16 academic year, he will work with graduate students who live on campus as part of Housing Services, focusing on the overall graduate student residential experience.
Bryan completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Penn State University, in secondary education (2003) and higher education (2008), respectively. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education in higher education at The George Washington University.
An active and involved member of the Carnegie Mellon community for the past five years, he makes sure to carve out time for students, his residents, and – of course – Scotty, CMU’s loveable mascot. Let’s learn more about Bryan!
How did you come to join CMU?
I started at Carnegie Mellon in July of 2010. For the previous five years, I worked in residence life at Penn State – University Park, and I was ready for a new challenge. Carnegie Mellon was recruiting someone for its Community Standards program, and I’ve always had an interest in student conduct work. The opportunity to join such an amazing institution and work within that functional area was something I just couldn’t pass up!
Why is the Wesnik (West Wing and Resnik when referenced together) community so awesome?
West Wing and Resnik tend to be hubs where incredibly talented, involved students and student leaders choose to live. The amenities are top-notch and the buildings are close to the Cohon University Center and major academic buildings, so these communities are a great fit for students who are not only super engaged in their academic work but also very active in campus life and activities. Additionally, students tend to retain their rooms once they have the opportunity to live in Resnik and West Wing, which means we often have students living in the community for several years. As a result, West Wing and Resnik are close communities with lots of familiar faces from year to year. We also always have an amazing RA/CA staff that loves the community and works really hard to build strong relationships and connections among residents.
Share one of your most prized CMU memories.
My most prized CMU memory is probably the first year I was here to see and participate in Carnival, an extremely fun and treasured Carnegie Mellon tradition. After working at the University for nearly nine months, I could hardly wait to see this major campus event that everyone talked about. I was blown away by all of the different ways that our students got involved. Seeing Booth and Buggy for the first time was incredible and reminded me how talented and passionate our campus community truly is.
What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?
Working in student affairs for nearly a decade, I’ve learned that people can always tell if you truly care for them or not. Even when things are hard or not going the way you hope they will, genuine concern can make all the difference.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?
I love spending time with my fiancé, Laura, and our dog, a Samoyed named Allie. I also enjoy cooking and reading for pleasure – non-fiction, biographies, and travel are my taste in books for the most part. I am into comedy and love watching stand-up; I’ve even taken some imrpov classes. I am also a runner and am currently training for the Pittsburgh half-marathon this spring.
All-time favorite book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My father. He passed away in 2012 and there are a lot of things I would like to tell him.
You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?
Ribeye steak (medium rare), baked sweet potato, grilled asparagus, and coffee break ice cream from the Penn State Creamery for dessert.