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Navigating NASPA 's Annual Conference - Tips & Tricks from your WISA Leadership Team

Womxn in Student Affairs
February 28, 2024 WISA KC Leadership Team

The NASPA Annual Conference is an exciting time of the year for many of us, and navigating the conference can sometimes feel overwhelming, intimidating, and just plain exhausting! With the 2024 Annual Conference right around the corner, members of the Womxn in Student Affairs Knowledge Community Leadership Team have put together a list of tips and tricks for making the most out of your conference experience. We have also put together a complete list of WISA Sponsored Programs for the 2024 Annual Conference for those who are interested in connecting and engaging with WISA while we are in Seattle.


Tips & Tricks from your WISA Leadership Team


Jessica N. Brown, Ed.D. (she/her)

Director, Office of Student Activities & Leadership Development

Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University

WISA Professional Development Co-Chair

  • Be sure to review the NASPA app prior to arrival to check out the session options. There are a ton of sessions to choose from, so it’s a good idea to review at least the night before. Also check the app daily for any updates that might be made throughout the conference.

  • Attend as many sessions as you can, but also take a break to explore the city and to connect with other conference attendees.

  • Enjoy some great food while in town.

  • Explore the conference venue to become familiar with the facility.


Dae’lyn Do, M.A. (she/her)

Associate Director, Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program

The University of Michigan 

WISA Communications Co-Chair

  • Connect with others! By far the biggest benefit I have received from attending NASPA conferences is the connections. Make time to meet new colleagues and make new friends. Introducing yourself to even one new person can connect you to their larger network, and so on. You truly never know what doors and opportunities those connections will lead to down the road.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are so many incredible volunteers and staff members who are there to help you navigate the conference and answer any questions you have.

  • Have fun! One of my favorite parts of the annual conference is the chance to explore a new city. The conference is the perfect opportunity to take time to rejuvenate before returning to our campuses to finish out the semester. My partner and I always try to take time to do things that fill our cups! For us, that looks like exploring local coffee shops, bookstores, and board game cafes, taking in some fresh air at one of the local parks, and signing up for a historical ghost tour if they have any, because why not? haha! Find activities that align with your interests, and make time for YOU. The time we take to rejuvenate and have fun while at NASPA is just as important and rewarding as the connections and learning.


Saralyn McKinnon-Crowley, Ph.D. (she/her)

Assistant Professor

Baylor University

WISA Research and Scholarship Co-Chair

  • Don't forget to rest and take care of yourself! 

  • Don't sacrifice your own needs in favor of squeezing every drop out of professional development out of the conference

  • If you're more on the introvert side, consider planning your sessions and reception attendance around a particular Knowledge Community or conference theme so you're more likely to see the same people

  • Take advantage of the provided networking events

  • The Exhibit Hall can be a great source of swag and an alternate way to engage with the conference


Catherine Okafor (she/her)

Assistant Director, Career Development & Employer Relations

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

WISA Membership Engagement Chair

  • Taking breaks throughout the day is important to do in order to maintain your energy while at the conference. I know it can be fun and exciting to engage in all of the workshops and social activities but do what you have to do in order to take care of yourself. As an introvert I will go grab coffee or a quick snack alone to have “me time” to decompress and regain my energy. 


Jillian Strong, M.A. (she/her)

Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Success

University of Redlands

WISA Regional Representative Co-Liaison

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and/or comfortable clothes!

  • Take breaks as needed, there's lots of great sessions to attend but it's ok to make time for you!

  • First time to Seattle? Make sure you explore the city!

  • Don't make it all work and no play- attend one of the morning or evening socials to get to know some colleagues at other institutions, you may have a mutual friend!

  • One word - Ribbons. Stop by the NASPA tables and get some ribbons for your name badge!


WISA Sponsored Programs

To connect and engage with the WISA community during your time in Seattle, mark you calendars for our WISA Sponsored Programs, which include: 

NASPA Knowledge Community Fair

  • 3:30-4:30 p.m., Sunday, March 10 in Summit Olympic View Lounge

Womxn in Student Affairs KC and NASPA Center for Women Joint Reception

  • 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monday, March 11 in Hyatt Regency - 303 Bogachiel

Creating a Community of Care: Advocacy and Leadership for Caregivers in Higher Education 

  • 10 - 10:50 a.m., Tuesday, March 12 in Summit 347

Chingonas on their Terms: Diverse Experiences of Latinas in Higher Education

  • 3:50-4:40 p.m., Tuesday, March 12 in Summit 343

Recognize, Educate, Empower: The Emotional Labor and Racial Taxation on Mid-level Women in Student Affairs

  • 3:50-4:40 p.m., Tuesday, March 12 in Summit 335

WISA Open Business Meeting

  • 12 - 1 p.m. EST, Thursday, March 14 via Zoom - Meeting ID: 629 646 5797

Apply to Serve on the WISA Leadership Team

Great news! Your engagement with WISA does not have to end at the 2024 Annual Conference. We are also currently looking for womxn to serve on our WISA Knowledge Community Leadership Team. We have 8 positions opening up in our next cycle of leadership. Our open positions include: 


If you have questions about the open positions or application, email WISA KC Co-Chairs Abby Langham at [email protected] and Krystal Allen at [email protected]


Our WISA Leadership Team is so excited to see you all in Seattle next week, and we hope you will choose to engage with our WISA sponsored programs, meetings, and receptions  - do not be afraid to say hi if you see us!


See you soon, 

WISA Leadership Team



WISA KC Leadership Team

The purpose of the WISA Knowledge Community is to give voice to the needs of womxn in student affairs and to provide professional development opportunities through both regional and national activities designed to address gender equity and prompt personal growth.