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 As Harrisburg University continues to grow, so does the number of expert educators and staff the university brings on to deliver an incomparable STEM education that includes hands-on experience, research, and personal attention that gives our graduates the edge needed to succeed.

It’s no coincidence Harrisburg University was named the #1 STEM University in the U.S. by Corporate LiveWire the last two consecutive years. It’s our people.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed campus, the Student Life team has worked even harder to provide more opportunities for students to stay connected during these unprecedented times.

The Student Life team is hosting about 15 virtual events a month and is providing many more tools and resources students need online. The team has also created two SharePoint pages for Student Housing and Student Activities and even developed virtual Student Life Office that allows students to engage and interact with the Student Life team and more.

We recently caught up with HU Residence Life Coordinator and Alum, Nicole Borrell, to learn more about her and the opportunities and challenges the Student Life Office faces during the pandemic.

Meet Nicole Borrell:

Q:Tell us about your educational background? Where did you earn your undergraduate degree and any other education and what did you major in?

A: I started as a Forensics major at Harrisburg University in 2012 and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2016. I am currently looking into furthering my education and pursuing a master’s degree.

Q: Where did you work before arriving to HU? When did you arrive to HU? What led you to HU?

A: Before HU, I worked as a home health aide and companion. I arrived at HU in March of 2019 to fill one of the Residence Life Coordinators roles. Because I was previously a student at HU, it has always had a special place in my heart, so I was excited when the opportunity to return arose.

Q: Could you describe your role at HU?

A: While my title is Residence Life Coordinator, my role encompasses all of student life. Our team manages housing, student clubs, activities, and a student staff consisting of Resident Assistants and Connection leaders. My role allows for me to work very closely with students throughout their time here and it is a privilege to be able to watch them grow and come out of their shell. 

Q: What do you love the most about working at HU?

A: I love getting to work with the students on a non-academic level. It is always interesting to hear their stories and be there when they succeed or be that listening ear when they need it. I also love having a team that is very supportive and wonderful to collaborate with.

Q: What do you think makes HU stand out as a University for our students and our faculty?

A: As an alum of the University, what made it stand out for me was its size and sense of community. My experience as a student was so much better because it felt like I was not just a number. It was very clear that both staff and faculty were very invested in my success and that pushed me to work even harder. Additionally, the small class sizes helped me foster very close friendships with several of my peers that I still maintain today.

Q: Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?

A: I was born in Staten Island, New York and lived there for the first nine years of my life before moving to Bushkill, Pennsylvania. I now live in downtown Harrisburg, close to the University.

Q: Any hobbies or activities you can share? Any other life details you would like to share?

A: My main hobbies are reading, cooking, talking with family and friends, watching scary movies/ movies in general, and trying to stop my cat from knocking everything over or sitting on my keyboard. I also enjoy watching YouTube and occasionally playing games, most recently “Animal Crossing.”

Q: What are your thoughts on having to switch over to an online model this fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in terms of delivering the same quality education to our students?

A: I think the switch was the best and safest decision the University could have made. There is no rulebook to what the best response is during a time like this and I believe that staff and faculty alike have gone above and beyond in trying to make this semester as seamless as possible. There are going to be some hiccups along the way, especially with technology not always being the most reliable, and some of us not having as much experience with online platforms. But we will continue pushing through.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: While I love being home and dealing with the frustrations of having an attention seeking cat, I cannot wait to be back in the University, interacting with students, and being able to watch students experience the community that HU has to offer in person.

About Harrisburg University

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,