My little family! Richard, myself, and our dog-child, Toby McGruff
My little family! Richard, myself, and our dog-child, Toby McGruff

Kayleen Salchenberg’s Bio:

I am from Salem, Oregon (born and raised) and traveled all the way to Corvallis, Oregon for my undergraduate degree in 2005. My path WAS going to be nursing and after a couple study abroad trips I decided to major in Spanish before my luxurious career as a nurse.

Following four very social and fun years at Oregon State, I became a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Salem Hospital. I worked there for a year and realized the health field was not for me. Once I learned that Student Affairs was a career choice, I made drastic changes in order to work towards being a qualified CSSA applicant.

Beyond my experience as a student worker in the Office of Foreign Language and Literatures and teaching English to Spanish speakers in the Corvallis Community, I did not have a lot of experience in Student Affairs. I therefore became a Property Manager at a 95% college-aged populated apartment complex next to Western Oregon University and volunteered at the Service Learning Career Development Office. I got my big break as a teaching assistant/administrator for Chemeketa Community College working at an alternative high school, Winema West. These experiences continued to strengthen my passion for not only education, but for students and their goals. I continued to better my ability to serve them as a resource, and got a lot of joy from it.

I now work as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS). I assist students daily with a variety of Financial Aid issues. I maintain the Social Media for the office and I am able to be a part of many workgroups. Currently I am involved in the Assessment Council and I am able to not only learn how to assess, but I connect with professionals in an array of Student Affairs functional areas and share diverse perspectives from interdisciplinary areas on campus. In June, I will go to the NASPA Persistence and Assessment Conference and present a poster on my assessment. I have been to one other conference, the Northwest Returnee Conference for students that have returned home from studying abroad. These experiences are shaping my abilities to be a professional in this field.

My areas of interest in higher education are all over the map! I love teaching the topic of Academic Success, I adore my assistantship in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, I like the topic of Transitions and helping students through that process, studying abroad, and I am open to explore what academic advising/counseling is like. With every new term, class, project, and internship, my career goal changes! The beauty of this program is having the support to explore the vast terrain of higher education.

Personally, I have transitioned from a “rolling stone” or a “free bird” to a more settled path. I have a peace and clarity in my life that was missing. I am engaged and very humbled to marry my partner in crime, Richard Steeves. Together, we are buying a home in West Salem and have recently celebrated our three years as a couple by purchasing a dog-child, Mister Tobias McGruff. I live near all of Richard’s immediate family and mine. I love to travel, but there is now home for me beyond a short car ride from my family and close friends. This page is a short version of a long biography, but I will spare you the rest!

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