Transfer Specialist Brenna Giazzon reflects on supporting and welcoming transfer students
By: Mira Costello
Every year during the third week of October, the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) organizes National Transfer Student Week to celebrate the unique experiences of transfer students and the professionals who work with them. At IU South Bend, we have about 1,000 transfer students – almost 25 percent of our student body.
This year, undeterred by losing two days of Transfer Student Week to fall break, the Titan Success Center will host two events for transfer students.
TODAY, OCT. 18: Check out Fireside A&B in the Grill from 10:30-3:30 for a “swag swap.” Bring any old t-shirts or branded merchandise from a former university and swap it out for a Titan Transfers t-shirt. Those who don’t have anything to trade but still want to pick up a transfer tee are also welcome.
While you’re there, take a moment to contribute to the bulletin board gallery where you can share about your experience as a transfer student.
TOMORROW, OCT. 19: Stop by the Titan Success Center in the Administration Building from 11-2 for a “spud-tacular” tater tot bar and a “transfer heart” to take home. Here, students can familiarize themselves with the TSC and the office of Brenna Giazzon, IU South Bend’s Transfer Student Specialist. TSC staff will also display today’s transfer story gallery at this event.
You can also meet Tubby the transfer gnome, the friendly mascot created by Credential Analyst Chrissy Brooks. According to Giazzon, Tubby always has treats with him.
Giazzon entered her role as Transfer Student Specialist in Dec. 2022, and aside from the fun-focused aspects, she said there are a variety of supports she hopes to improve for transfer students.
In particular, the period between a transfer student’s admission to IU South Bend and their enrollment in classes can be difficult, Giazzon said. Between confirming their intent to enroll, to completing New Student Orientation, to attending group advising that isn’t always tailored to the needs of transfer students, students can get lost.
“My job is making sure transfers don’t feel lost in the middle of that,” she said.
While only a student’s academic advisor can definitively tell them what their degree plan will look like, Giazzon said she and the Titan Success Center staff can serve as a bridge to connect transfer students with resources and help them make sense of their options.
“We’re that umbrella underneath, trying to catch them,” she said. “We’re designing a situation where, in that gap, [transfer students] can come to me and feel better, or know that I’m trying to make sure they feel like they have someone who’s with them.”
Giazzon works with a caseload of transfer students and has each one as a client for their first full year, and she said she tries to tailor their experience to their needs. While some students need a lot of support in navigating higher education, others are experienced students who benefit from a more hands-off approach.
Outside of the concrete resources the Titan Success Center provides, Giazzon said part of supporting transfer students is contributing to a welcoming culture, especially for nontraditional transfer students who might not feel comfortable right away in a predominantly traditional environment. In service of this, TSC staff are trained in mental health first aid, and Giazzon said they make an effort to have welcoming offices and host events like the ones this week.
To learn more about the Titan Success Center and resources for transfer students, check out @titansuccesscenter on Instagram or go to academics.iusb.edu/titan-success-center.