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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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HELP Director Loves Helping Others

Hillary+Adams%2C+director+of+the+Marshall%0AHELP+Center.
Courtesy of Hillary Adams
Hillary Adams, director of the Marshall HELP Center.

For the past three years, the director of the Higher Education for Learning Problems Center (HELP Center) has been dedicated to helping students with learning disabilities navigate college and improving the services the program can provide.

Hillary Adams, who has been at Marshall since 2002, said one highlight with what she does is working with and meeting some of the students in the program.

“I’ve loved being able to get to know the college students who come in and out of here,” she said. “I love getting to do interviews with students and getting to know them.”

Before coming to the HELP Center, Adams worked at the College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder for ten years. There, she started as a student support specialist before she moved on to being a career counselor, then she finished her time there serving as the director of the program before moving to where she is today.

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After her predecessor, Debbie Painter, retired from the HELP Center in December of 2021, Adams said she took the role after being asked if she wanted to accept it.

“They reached out to me and they said, ‘Hey, do you have interest?’ and I said absolutely,” she said. “I used to be a graduate assistant here in grad school, and I loved it, so when the invite came, I ran over.”

Since taking on the role of director, Adams said that one of the highlights has been creating the Athletic HELP Program for Student Athletes with Marshall Athletics.

“A big highlight since I started has been creating the Herd Help Program, which is focused on helping student athletes and is a partnership with athletics,” she said.

Life coach Amy Moffat Jones-Burdick, who works with Adams and co-coordinates the Summer Prep Program with her, said that Adams is great to work with.

“She is a remarkable, creative leader; she’s a cheerleader, and we are very lucky to have her as our director,” she said. “She is humble, accommodating, hardworking, and she has a lot of ideas and the ability to implement them in a way that nobody finds offensive.”

Because 40% of HELP Center students are out of state, Adams loves the Summer Prep Program because they “submerge them in West Virginia culture,” which she said is a great introduction to the state and to the program because it is one of the best ones in the country.

Whenever she’s hiring new people to work with the program, Adams said one of the biggest things she looks for is being able to build rapport with their students.

“As much knowledge and understanding as you have within a topic, one of the first things that is going to motivate a student are their connections,” she said. “One of the biggest things I look for is someone that will build rapport and will build a trusting relationship with their students.”

When Adams isn’t working, she said that she loves to play with her three-year-old daughter and running when she can.

For more information on the HELP Program, visit marshall.edu/help.

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