Humphreys helps students to decide post-graduate options

Thinking about the future after high school is stressful for a lot of students. They often feel that they are alone in the process.

Helping to alleviate this stress is exactly the job of Marshall’s college and career specialist Gardner Humphreys.

According to Humphreys, the main purpose of his position is to help students at Marshall get ready for whatever they want to accomplish after they graduate.

“For most students that means college, but I also help them figure out if they want to go to college, and what kind of college if they do,” Humphreys said. “I also help them get after school jobs, get volunteer experiences, figure out how to pay for college, study for SATs [and] do college applications.”

Humphreys’ job has him working on a vast variety of small tasks in order to best prepare students for their futures. During the fall season, he focuses a lot on college applications, since about 80 colleges will come to visit Marshall during this season.

“This time of year I’m doing a lot of help with the Common Application and reviewing college essays and SAT prep,” Humphreys said, adding that he introduces “[the colleges] and arranges these things so that the students can try to figure out which ones are the best fit.”

Humphreys first found his passion for helping people when he was in high school, often spending his time volunteering to support younger kids in the local middle school. After attending Middlebury College in Vermont, he joined AmeriCorps, a domestic volunteer program that creates jobs for young adults, and soon realized what kind of career he wanted to pursue.

“I really liked [AmeriCorps] so much that when I went out and did some office work, I figured out that it was not motivating me,” Humphreys said. “I really wanted to go back to working directly with people one on one … I decided I wanted to work in schools, and I thought that counseling would be a good way to do that.”

While working as a school counselor at Thomas Edison High School, Humphreys was drawn to the college and career specialist position at the school.

“I liked the fact that in this job, you only have four or five areas that you’re supposed to be an expert at,” Humphreys said. “The school counselors are supposed to be an expert at every single thing under the sun, so I thought it was really nice the way [the college and career specialist at Edison] was able to work and dive deeper into those subjects.”

Outside of his job, Humphreys devotes a lot of time to being outdoors with his two children. He often enjoys camping, hiking and playing sports.

“We like to try to go out a lot in places like Great Falls, and other places with shorter hikes in some of the state parks,” Humphreys said. “I try to share a lot of my hobbies with them.”

Humphreys’ dedication to helping others drives him to really want students here to succeed in life beyond high school, whatever that may entail for them.

“The thing I love most about my job is helping people discover just how much they can do or how far they can go, when they didn’t really realize or believe it yet,” Humphreys said. “When you talk about that world with them and talk about your own experience, they start to really believe in themselves.”