For many incoming students, Robin Torres’ smiling face is the first one to represent the Marist community. At the beginning of orientation, she welcomes them with open arms as the Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Leadership. From that day on, Robin continues to mentor students until graduation. She works as the advisor to the student government, an adjunct professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and is responsible for Marist’s National Society of Leadership and Success and Emerging Leaders. As a certified executive life coach and mental health counselor, Robin is a reassuring presence for students in each of these settings.
How did growing up in New York City’s East Village shape you as a person?
It made me very open to culture; very open to art; very open to the beauty of differences. My building growing up was 210 families in a 21-story building. I learned about so many different things and I just learned how we can all work together with a real appreciation for each other. My building is like a neighborhood. Whether it's vertical or horizontal it is incredibly close.
How does it feel to be the introduction to Marist for so many freshman students? How do you handle that responsibility?
I feel that it is both a giant honor and a significant responsibility to be that person because we have an opportunity to walk in people’s lives in ways that they don’t forget. While people will not remember my words, and I don’t expect them to, they will remember how I made them feel. It is always my goal to create that sense of synergy between who we are as a campus and what our students need. And it is a blessing to be able to do that.
How do you manage to always keep a smile on your face? What value do you see in that?
The two most powerful words in the English language are “I choose.” You can look at any given scenario and you can decide to take what is joyful out of it. I choose literally to smile because I am working out of my passion and I am happy to be here. It’s my nature in many settings but particularly here. Teaching people things, helping people to motivate, it is something that I love. How can I not smile when I am literally being paid to do this?
How would you describe your relationship with the students that you work with?
Energizing, respectful, open and joyous. I have an opportunity to help students see things differently sometimes and they do the same for me. When I work with students, I feel that sense of sharing our wisdom. Nobody knows it all. The difference between freshman and senior is shocking and I really enjoy being part of that trajectory and watching how people grow.
What makes you so passionate about Marist and helping Marist students?
It is not the easiest four years a student will experience but it’s the most pivotal four they’ve experienced so far and Marist students are receptive, kind and grateful for that experience. I love helping them see the ways in which they are very unique. There’s a real openness here for people to explore their best selves and to do a lot with it and I love helping people to do that.
What do you think makes you such a successful leader? How can others do the same?
When I am doing public speaking I often throw out tootsie pops and make this reference… I recognize the delicious warm chewy common center that we have. That might be a goal, that might be a mission, but I celebrate the unbelievable variety of flavors. No, I don’t want only one kind of pop. That being said, I think I have been successful in finding the centers and exploring and maximizing all of the flavors.
Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Faculty
Academic School: Campus Administration
Campus: New York