Pamela Toscano is our newest team member, and we’re so glad she’s here. Check out our conversation with Pamela to learn a bit more about her.
We are so excited to welcome you to the J.D. Admissions Office, Pamela! To get started, tell us about your background and previous experience in admissions.
Thank you for the warm welcome! I’m so excited to join the J.D. Admissions team. I was introduced to admissions as an undergraduate student at Tufts University. As a student, I led tours, greeted prospective students for my work-study job, and mentored Latinx youth through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Much of my admissions experience as an undergraduate centered on supporting and empowering high school students throughout the college application process. After graduation, I joined the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts and continued working towards increasing accessibility in higher education. My Tufts experience taught me that access work requires informing students about the various support systems on college campuses and constantly re-evaluating admissions metrics.
What’s been most meaningful or interesting about working in admissions for you?
It was such a privilege to shape an undergraduate class that I once belonged to. At Tufts, I had the opportunity to evaluate our admissions practices and policies through a more access-orientated lens. As the engineering outreach officer, I am proud of the hard work my team and I did to make the engineering admissions process more comprehensive, transparent, and most importantly, equitable. One of the most important lessons I discovered from my time in admissions can be summed up by a phrase I learned at a Guiding the Way to Inclusion (GWI) conference: “Admissions is a competency, not merely a passion. Continued research is necessary to succeed.” I believe my team at Tufts practiced this all throughout our work.
So far, what differences have you noticed between working at Tufts and working at HLS?
So many! I’ll share two initial observations. First, I engaged with high school students, counselors, and family members at Tufts admissions. I also mostly served student populations from the Southern area of the United States, including my home state of Kentucky. As a graduate admissions professional, I have the opportunity to interact with prospective students from various professional and academic backgrounds. Through interviews with our Junior Deferral Program (JDP) students, I have conversations with college juniors about their many impressive accomplishments. Now, all of the students I meet and support can come from all over the world!
Also, here at HLS, the admissions team is much smaller than my previous office, which is a pretty common difference between undergraduate and graduate admissions offices. I look forward to developing close relationships with my HLS coworkers. Over the years, I’ve learned that admissions work requires all hands on deck throughout various parts of the year. It’s so important to be part of a collaborative office that uplifts you and supports your many professional and personal goals.
The care and admiration for students. I’m so fortunate to continue my career at an office that also prioritizes the student experience. I’ve only been in a few committee conversations at HLS, but I have already seen how compassionate our office is towards students.
Oh, and the love of blogging! Both Tufts and HLS have their own admissions blogs where they offer students application advice and introduce them to the campus community.
You joined our team during the Junior Deferral Program (JDP) application season. What has jumped out at you so far when reading applications?
The breadth of professional experience and community involvement. Our JDP applicants are leaders both on and off campus and they have mentors that will advocate for them. Many JDP applicants are also well versed in various facets of the legal field. As undergraduates, they’ve done the work to understand specific areas of the law while developing close relationships with legal professionals.
JDP interviews are starting soon! What’s your favorite interview question?
I enjoy learning about a student’s collegiate experience! I love asking applicants what their proudest accomplishments were throughout their time are as undergraduates.
Now let’s flip that question to you – what’s your proudest accomplishment from your time at Tufts?
I am probably most proud of the various communities I joined and the friendships I formed. While in school, I taught English at a community center in Somerville, mentored first-year students as a pre-orientation leader, and welcomed prospective families through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. I’ve met some of my closest friends through these various organizations and I’m grateful to still be in touch with them.
You’re not from Boston originally. What do you like about living here? What’s something you’d recommend to a visitor?
In my six years living in Boston, I’ve come to experience how accessible the city is through public transportation, biking, and walking. I was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, which is mostly a car-orientated city. So I definitely noticed a difference moving to Boston. My recommendation for a day out in Boston is to first explore Central and Kendall Square and then walk across the Harvard Bridge towards Newbury Street. You would be surprised how walkable Kendall square is to downtown Boston. I also highly recommend visiting the Museum of Science and attending one of their planetarium shows. They are currently showing a Beyoncé and Prince musical screening!
What do you do for fun?
I really value the community I have here in Boston. You will typically find me spending time with friends. My friends and I enjoy trying new restaurants, hosting picnics at different parks, and cooking fun recipes. When I’m not with friends, I will most likely be making jewelry! Right now, I’m working on colorful beaded necklaces and earrings. I also spend my time volunteering for Enroot, a college access non-profit based in Cambridge. I’ve only met my student mentee online and can’t wait to have our weekly meetings in-person soon!