Meet Erin E. Connor, 2022 Graduate Dean’s Medalist Nominee

A portrait of Erin Connor. She is wearing glasses and a black top with colorful polka dots. There are trees in the background.

Erin E. Connor is one of the Graduate Dean’s Medalist nominees for the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. She is graduating with a Master’s in higher education administration and leadership.

Originally from Fresno, Connor was part of the inaugural class at University High School, graduating in 2004.

Connor studied at Rockford University, near Chicago, graduating with a degree in vocal performance in 2008. She began working as a musician and started a graduate degree in vocal performance at the University of South Dakota. However, Connor realized that she wasn’t entirely happy and decided to change course.

She moved back to California to be near her family in the winter of 2010 and began working in enrollment management at UC Merced in spring of 2011.

In 2017, Connor began working at Fresno State, as a financial aid counselor. As a counselor, Connor goes beyond guiding students on funds, connecting them with other resources on campus that may help them be successful.

“While financial aid is very, very important, I think it’s connected to a lot of other important ways of supporting our students,” Connor said.

“As a financial aid counselor, I started [seeing] a lot of students in crises… They were facing homelessness, or they didn’t have enough food, or maybe they had been forcibly removed from their parents’ house. I was experiencing those types of situations and I started working with Project HOPE…and I started serving on the Good Samaritan Grant committee and finding ways where we could [support students] through alternative means.”

Connor began her Master’s program in 2019. After graduating, Connor plans to continue working as a financial aid counselor, with the hope of moving into a leadership position. She also wants to continue her studies.

“I would like to pursue my doctorate in approximately fall 2027, to become a policymaker within the Department of Education. During the years between the completion of my master’s and the beginning of my doctorate, I plan to continue my research about disabled students, basic needs, sexual violence, and Title IX with interested faculty members.”

“I am deeply committed to higher education and its access, believing it is the best way to improve the lives of our community and country.”


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