Janae Dimick, Former Director of Higher Ed Services, Takes NAC Experience Back to College Classrooms
When she moved to Santa Ana in September 2007, Janae Dimick divided her time between attending classes in her second year of graduate school at Cal State Fullerton, and working as a tutor in the University’s Writing Center. Drawn by the prospect of working in the community for a non-profit organization, Janae answered an ad in January 2008 in Craigslist for a tutoring job at the Nicholas Academic Centers (NAC). Janae remembers, “I felt that the NAC’s mission was vital, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
During the NAC’s first year of operation, with a senior class of 24 students, the Directors of Academic Services also handled the Higher Education Services, helping seniors with college applications, financial aid, and more. As the NAC’s student body grew, it soon became apparent that the demand for higher education tasks would require a full-time, dedicated position. On August 1, 2009, after earning an M.A. in English from Cal State Fullerton, Janae accepted the role and responsibility of becoming the NAC’s first Director of Higher Education Services. Charged with the task of developing the Higher Education department, Janae had her work cut out for her, especially considering she was also working as an adjunct professor, teaching writing classes at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga.
Graduating seniors of the NAC Class of 2009 went on to attend schools like Denison University, UCLA, Morningside College, and Allegheny College, among others, but the NAC, in its newness, was relatively unknown. While Janae developed the Higher Education Services department, creating college knowledge and college transition workshops and reading books like Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives and other research publications for both information and inspiration, she also focused on contacting schools and attending conferences like the National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC) annual conference. “I think the first time I knew we had ‘made it’ on the college scene,” Janae recalls, “was when Rosa Diaz (NAC Chief Officer of Operations & Programs), Clint Gasaway (of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana), Gerry Oxx (of Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana), Andre McWell (of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa), and I presented at NACAC in Denver. Hundreds of people came to hear us speak about what the NAC does, which, for me, was a highlight of my time at the NAC.”