A lifelong love of learning and a desire to pursue people-centered work led Lydia Darlington to a career in higher education, and her mentors helped her pursue her master’s degree in higher education. Darlington is the Senior Executive Aide to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at CU Boulder, and she loves her work as a higher education practitioner. Former Vice Chancellor Akirah Bradley, who she holds deep respect for and considers a mentor, encouraged her to pursue the higher education program in the School of Education.
Darlington is this year’s outstanding graduate for the Higher Education (MAHE) program, where she used her practicum project to pay it forward. Darlington worked to build stronger connections between MAHE and Student Affairs, planning a series of three joint professional development sessions for MAHE students and student affairs staff. She also worked closely with MAHE faculty to design and propose a new graduate certificate program in Student Affairs that will help build enrollment pathways into the program and will make MAHE coursework more available to student affairs practitioners across campus.
“Lydia’s interest and drive for improving student affairs practice can be seen in her MA Capstone project, which explores and critiques prevailing student development theories,” faculty nominators said. “Lydia’s project highlights new scholarship centering race, gender, and other identities, showing how these critical frameworks ask us to expand our theories of student development—and to change our work with students.”
Darlington is as an excellent student and a valued member of the School of Education community who has worked to build and strengthen the MA in Higher Education (MAHE) program.