Our Story/Jonathan Colon
When Jonathan Colón meets with a student, he often prompts them to self reflect.
For Colón, it’s all about helping students answer the important questions that ultimately point them toward the life they desire.
A simple question, such as “Why did you decide on a four-year degree?” or sometimes, “What are your expectations from college?” may seem to have an obvious answer. However, when a student hears the question they often say, “No one has ever asked me that before” or “I haven’t really thought about that before.”
“Those questions lead to philosophical questions about who they are and who they want to be. My goal is for them to realize why they are here,” Colón said. “Then the new question becomes, ‘what about the world would you like to change?’ The goal of the college is to promote health and well-being, but students first have to understand themselves before they can understand how they want to help improve their community.”
Colón, academic adviser in the Student Services Center, enjoys his work the most when he is able to help students identify meaningful answers.
“I ask them these questions to ensure they have concrete goals,” Colón said. “We have a responsibility to help students figure out what their goals are and what their skills are and how they can apply them in the world.”
The College of Health and Human Development Student Services Center in Henderson Building at University Park provides support to undergraduate students entering—or considering—programs in the college by helping them identify their individual needs, and connecting them to university resources. It is a central location for students to learn about the college and its mission. It’s also the best place to start when exploring the diverse offering of majors within the college.
“We help current and prospective students find their way,” Colón said.
For Colón, his passion is to support students as they discover their own passions. Aside from students visiting the center, Colón also participates in events, including the college’s activities as part of Penn State’s Spend a Summer Day, open house events that allows prospective students to explore Penn State; Majors and Minors Night; and the Dean’s Ice Cream Social. At these events, he’s able to talk with current and prospective students one on one.
“It is the conversations after the events that are the most meaningful. Students stick around and ask questions. They want to have a conversation,” Colón said. “The only way to understand what students need is to listen to them.”