Advisor Article: Kyle Mammen

Young Kyle skiing

I’m Kyle Mammen, the BGS advisor for Psychology emphasis students. In addition to that I am the program coordinator for BYU Evening Classes, where I administrate the department and advise non-degree seeking Evening Classes students. I have now worked at BYU over 6 years, but it is only this last year that I started advising BGS students in addition to the Evening Classes students. I have been an academic advisor in one capacity or another since July 2010, and it is the best job I could have hoped to find.

My favorite thing in this whole world is my family. My wonderful wife keeps things sane in our busy home of five children. Our oldest is about to start her junior year of high school, and it is interesting experiencing the challenges of preparing for higher education from this new viewpoint, even though I have helped out countless students and parents by this point in my career! My son is starting junior high, so we have some more time to prepare for him, but his extracurricular activities keep making him busier and busier. My younger two daughters are only a year and a half apart and so far being close in age has helped them be best friends (we’ll see how that works out in the teen years!). Finally, this last October we welcomed our second son into the world, and in the past few months he has proved to be a huge spark of joy for all of us.

I grew up in Park City, Utah. I was the second of four kids, and spending our youthful years in a mountain town planted in me a love of the outdoors and time with family. I came to BYU after high school. During my first semester I received my mission call to serve in Bacolod, Philippines and I left to serve my mission at the end of that semester. Coming back to BYU I had many ideas about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and the path I’ve taken was never one that occurred to me at the time. After looking into a few majors, I settled into Political Science. I met my wife a year later and we married while we both we still undergraduates. My oldest was born in those final years of school. Unexpectedly, the birth of our daughter triggered in me a period of male postpartum depression, something that 3-10% of new fathers experience, but is rarely discussed. While this bout of depression made finishing school a challenge, I was able to pull off passing grades, completing my bachelor’s degree. While I didn’t realize it at the time, the experience of battling depression following the birth of my daughter had a significant impact on my career choices that followed in the coming years.

My wife is Texan, which of course meant moving to Texas after our graduations. We moved to the DFW area near her parents, and over the next couple of years I found my way into a few different employment opportunities, finally landing a job as the manager of a retail mail/copy store. Our older son was born during this time, and knowing I had many years of work ahead of me, I did a lot of exploration of where my career should go. After a lot of discussion and planning, I undertook the challenge of going back to school and getting a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of North Texas. Since the school was an hour long drive from our home, I looked for jobs on campus to have a combined commute. The first year and a half I was in graduate school, I was a full time employee of the financial aid office, where I learned just how complicated (and yet interesting) higher education policy and procedures can be, as well as the real-life effects those policies had on people. For the last two years of my graduate program, I was a full-time academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNT. As someone new to the advising profession, I started out on our social studies team working with students in majors I had prior personal experience in. As I grew in skill and knowledge, I was promoted to the advisor for the biology major where at any given time I had 1800-2000 students in my advising load. In these years working as an advisor, I unexpectedly found myself enjoying the work significantly more than expected. I had started my graduate degree with the intention of being a therapist, but as I approached graduation, I found myself drawn more to academic advising jobs than therapist ones. It was at that point I applied for the Evening Classes program coordinator position and was excited after a few weeks of telephone and videoconference interviews that I would be returning to BYU, this time as a university employee! By this point in our lives, our younger two daughters were part of our family, so we packed up the six of us and made the move back to Utah.

In the years I have worked in Continuing Education here at BYU, I have sought to make advising more available, prominent, and helpful to the students we serve. In addition to having the program coordinator position I was serving in take on more of an advising role, I have seen three positions in the Bachelor of General Studies office transition from administrative roles into fully-fledged academic advising positions, as well as seeing the Salt Lake Center add advising positions to their staff. I have also been part of a reorganization that allowed me to be an advisor for both Evening Classes and BGS students. I realize we still have some work to do to help students become aware of our services and also ensuring our availability to our students, but I am excited by the progress we have made so far.

In the time I have outside of work, I enjoy traveling, skiing, hiking, biking, and a number of other outdoor activities. I hope that my love of these is rubbing off onto my kids.

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