The Office of Student Engagement

From the outside, our office is defined by three keywords: orientation, involvement, and retention. But internally, we prefer integration, engagement, and success.

The reason we choose to use that language is that we believe that we believe that success (the ultimate measures being graduation and readiness for life after college) is a process, not an endpoint. Success is an ongoing reality. Yes, success is defined when you look back on some result, but the way that you get there almost always speaks to your ability to achieve that success again.

That’s where we come in.

We’re tasked with consistently and systematically improving the student experience at HSU. This includes offering mentorship and academic support, helping you to develop life skills that will ensure success in and beyond the classroom, and creating spaces for you to get involved, have fun, and connect with other students.

Success now. Success later. We’re here to help. Be sure to visit our Student Success page for tips on succeeding in college and life!

Ryan Voss-Carlson

In your own words, what makes a student success specialist?

“Success is a broad term. Success looks differently for each person. So to me, a Student Success Specialist is a person who helps students define success for themselves, works with them to develop a plan to achieve that definition of success, and then offers them constant support and challenge along the way.”

How did you get here?

“Initially, I came to HSU to play basketball, which I did for 3 years before knee tendinitis sort of ended my college career. I changed my major three times while I was in school here before I eventually graduated with my degree in Sport, Fitness, and Leisure Studies in 2015. After undergrad, I chose to attend Logsdon Seminary in pursuit of a Master of Divinity degree, which I will graduate with this fall. And professionally, I came to HSU from Chick-fil-A, where I worked for nearly four years.

Working with people has always been something that has been important to me. I’ve always been drawn to teaching and coaching, and really felt called into ministry about five years ago. But this work is a ministry for me, in some ways (as cheesy as that sounds). I really enjoy getting to be a part of encouraging and empowering people to be and do more than they’ve ever imagined and this job allows me to do that.”

Who are you outside of work?

“I’m married to my best friend, Shelly Voss-Carlson, an HSU graduate and fellow Logsdon seminarian. We’re having TWINS (don’t know the genders yet) sometime late-December, early-January so we’re super excited about our growing family but also stressed about being as ready as we can be by then! And we have a year-and-a-half old spunky shelter pup named Barkley.

For some quick-hitters … I grew up in Minnesota. I teach Sunday School for 12th graders at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, where my wife, Shelly, is the Assistant Youth Minister. If there are two things I can talk about pretty much constantly, it’s basketball and theology. Shelly and I love traveling (Ireland and Oregon are our favorites so far). We love board games. And we love to analyze film and television.”

Austin Hennesay

In your own words, what makes a student success specialist?

“Student success is more than just academics. Student success is the ideation that the student has been completely fulfilled while attending our University. They have achieved success in their social, academic, and professional lives. A Student Success Specialist is to assist the student in finding what success means to them and providing them with the necessary tools to achieve their goals.”

How did you get here?

“On my way home after enrolling at a junior college, I received a call from HSU and was ecstatic because it was the only school I applied to. I immediately turned around to cancel my registration and went to Abilene to register for classes at HSU. I was undecided for my first year and then changed my major three times after that. I graduated in 2015 with in Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I worked as a leader in retail for two years before arriving at HSU as the Coordinator of Student Organizations in 2017.”

Who are you outside of work?

“I have been married for two years to the girl I met my freshman year of college, Sarah. We have two kids, Karter and Brinlee, that keep us very busy when we aren’t working. Along with both having undergrad degrees from HSU, we are both in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program. Our interests involve shooting, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and doing all these things with our kids.”

Photo of Nathaniel JackNathaniel Jack

In your own words, what makes a student success specialist?

“A Student Success Specialist is someone who assists with the implementation and assessment of services and programs aimed at empowering students toward success and significance.”

How did you get here?

“I came to HSU because they gave me a chance to play basketball after high school. I played all four years, and then graduated in 2017 with Bachelor’s degree in Fitness, Recreation, and Sport Management. After graduating, I worked at Buffalo Wild Wings as a server for seven months before getting the opportunity to join the HSU family as an employee.”

Who are you outside of work?

“I was born in Houston, Texas but was raised in a small town called Calvert, Texas. I have a small family and we are very close. A few of my hobbies include playing video games and playing basketball. I am also a full-time graduate student and train high school basketball players.”

Adrienne Morgan profile photoAdrienne Morgan

In your own words, what makes a student success specialist?

“We are here to ease your transition into university life and to continue to support you in all aspects of your time here at HSU. We want to be your first resource for anything on campus, even if that means we direct you to someone more helpful.”

How did you get here?

“I am a 2015 HSU grad with a degree in Biology and a minor in Biochemistry. I spent my college years as a Lange [Resident Assistant] and Intramurals Supervisor before graduating and working in retail management. I love this place and have returned to continue to cultivate the same energy invested in me to love HSU and all that it has to offer.”

Who are you outside of work?

“I was born in Abilene, but grew up in San Angelo, TX with two little sisters. My parents are both alumni of HSU, so we spent a lot of time on this campus growing up. I have been in Abilene now for nearly 10 years!

These days I spend most of my time with family and friends! I’ve been married to my husband Sean for 2 years. We have 2 boys; a 2-year-old Border Collie named Maximus (Decimus Meridius Morgan), Max for short, and a 4-month-old human named Lincoln Scott Morgan! They are best friends! My middle sister Alex lives in Abilene, so we spend a lot of time with her.

I’m super active and enjoy working out daily both here at the new fitness center, and at Hendrick Health Club. I have been a member of First Baptist Church Abilene for about 7 years and love the community we have found there.”