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Gracey Hessinger

Student Services Officer
Story originally published on Feb 2022
My manager is always telling me I have to bring my “Disney magic” to my work, and there’s a good reason for that.

Before I came to Stanford, I spent time as an intern in the Disney College program. It sounds a little cheesy, but it really was magical, and it taught me how to work with a huge variety of people from all over the world, to pivot constantly, and to keep a positive outlook. That all helps me today in my job as a student services officer in Bioengineering.

In my time here I’ve had the opportunity to work with all the students in the department and have helped with our postdocs as well, but my primary role is managing and working with our undergraduates in both the bioengineering and biomedical computation programs. I advise students on their degree progress to help get them to graduation, manage our course scheduling, and help manage all our department events, including commencements, graduate student visit days, orientation for graduate students, and wellness programs. I love connecting with these students. I’m often the first person welcoming them here, and I’ll be their first stop whenever there’s something they need help with. They know I’m a constant resource, and that I can help put them on the path to where they want to be.

There are a lot of programs that fall under my umbrella, and these last two years during COVID have been my most challenging, as new policies are put in place and then have to change two weeks later. “Take it day by day” has been our mantra here. I try to keep my energy up, and to be transparent with everyone. If I don’t know the answer to something, I tell them I’ll do some digging to find out. It’s been a busy year for me personally, as well. I’ll be getting married later this year, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly and that we have time for COVID bumps to smooth out.

One of the things I took from my time at Disney was a lasting appreciation of how a smile or a little bit of enthusiasm can make people feel seen. I still look for ways to help make every encounter with students not just an exercise in checking a box, but a good experience. Finding those tiny opportunities can start a ripple effect that will make a positive impact on someone’s day. 

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