Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Scott Sellers helped Steve Vinzant and Carl Hatten hook up a power cord during a study session, Tuesday, April 29, at the Kenai Peninsula College Residence Hall.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Scott Sellers helped Steve Vinzant and Carl Hatten hook up a power cord during a study session, Tuesday, April 29, at the Kenai Peninsula College Residence Hall.

STARS performer: KPC RA headed to selective training

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014 11:05pm
  • News

Scott Sellers’ raspy, guttural laugh is hearty.

The Kenai Peninsula College, Kenai River Campus resident assistant, or RA, said he likes people to see him smile, which is part of his approach, on and off the job, to show the people around him they are welcomed, he said.

In his first year as an RA, Sellers has been invited to attend STARS College, a selective three-day training series for undergraduate students, held at American University in Washington, D.C.

Aboout 40 to 55 students from around the world are chosen to attend, according to the Association of College and University Housing Officers International, ACHUHO-I, website, which hosts the annual conference.

“You have to demonstrate a strong leadership and prove you will enhance the program, and will bring back what you learned from STARS,” said Tammie Willis, Associate Director of Residence Life.

Willis said she has seen only one other RA accepted into STARS College during her 15 years working in residence life at the college.

“Scott doesn’t just come up with ideas but does the work to make sure it happens,” Willis said.

Sellers said his approach to the RA position has come quite naturally, although it wasn’t something he had thought to pursue when he started college.

He described himself as the guy who will invite himself to pull up a chair with a group of strangers, or leave his apartment door open regardless of whether he is on- or off-duty.

“Scott is our best tour guide,” said Residence Life Coordinator, Leslie Byrd.

He is humble and flexible and he has no problem asking for guidance, she said.

Earlier this year, Sellers said he noticed that some students living in the residence hall were moving in with nothing and were only able to afford classes and rent.

After speaking with local grocery stores, he was able to get extra for students who were going without. He said Save-U-More on Kalifornsky Beach Road, now offers to make donations.

“I have been hungry before,” Sellers said. “I can’t imagine the stress of trying to cram for finals and worrying about where your next meal’s going to come from.”

Then, he took it a step further. Sellers said he noticed the students who requested the extra food packages had no way to make the food into a meal. He went to Willis who told him to come up with a proposal so she could find funding for his project. He came back with a plan to create basic kitchen sets for students to rent temporarily.

The system operates under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, which ensure complete anonymity for anyone taking the supplies, Sellers said.

“If Scott was not part of the staff, we would probably still be struggling to come up with a way … to address those issues,” Willis said.

As an RA, Sellers has helped organize barbecues, a Super Bowl viewing party and a Thanksgiving dinner for more than 35 students.

Willis and Byrd have become his unofficial mentors, Sellers said. Willis developed an approach to residence life leadership called Learning Outcome-Based Residence Education, or L.O.R.E.

Working under their direction Sellers said he has learned not to take a cookie cutter approach to working with a diverse group of people.

Sellers said hopes be an RA for the duration of his education. He will soon graduate from KPC with degrees in history and in anthropology, and plans to get his masters so he can eventually become a professor, where, he said, ideally he could continue working in residence life as a housing coordinator.

Sellers hopes training at STARS College will help him develop further skills he could use to pinpoint less noticeable issues, such as depression, or recognizing students who are struggling with academics, and how better to address them.

“I guess I am pretty proud of it,” he said.


Kelly Sullivan can be reached at

More in News

The waters of Cook Inlet lap against Nikishka Beach in Nikiski, Alaska, where several local fish sites are located, on Friday, March 24, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Unprecedented closures threaten setnet way of life

Setnetters have been vocal about their opposition to the way their fishery is managed

Legislative fiscal analysts Alexei Painter, right, and Conor Bell explain the state’s financial outlook during the next decade to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Legislators eye oil and sales taxes due to fiscal woes

Bills to collect more from North Slope producers, enact new sales taxes get hearings next week.

Expert skateboarder Di’Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and whose work is featured on the new U.S. stamps, rides her skateboard next to her artworks in the Venice Beach neighborhood in Los Angeles Monday, March 20, 2023. On Friday, March 24, the U.S. Postal Service is debuting the “Art of the Skateboard,” four stamps that will be the first to pay tribute to skateboarding. The stamps underscore how prevalent skateboarding has become, especially in Indian Country, where the demand for designated skate spots has only grown in recent years. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Indigenous artists help skateboarding earn stamp of approval

The postal agency ceremoniously unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard” stamps in a Phoenix skate park

Bruce Jaffa, of Jaffa Construction, speaks to a group of students at Seward High School’s Career Day on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward students talk careers at fair

More than 50 businesses were represented

Alaska state Sen. Bert Stedman, center, a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, listens to a presentation on the major North Slope oil project known as the Willow project on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. The committee heard an update on the project from the state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Revenue. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Official: Willow oil project holds promise, faces obstacles

State tax officials on Thursday provided lawmakers an analysis of potential revenue impacts and benefits from the project

Jerry Burnett, chair of the Board of Game, speaks during their Southcentral meeting on Friday, March 17, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Game decides on local proposals

Trapping setbacks, archery hunts and duck restrictions were up for consideration

Audre Hickey testifies in opposition to an ordinance that would implement a citywide lewdness prohibition in Soldotna during a city council meeting on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna council kills citywide lewdness ordinance

The decision followed lengthy public comment

Samantha Springer, left, and Michelle Walker stand in the lobby of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Springer named new head of Kenai chamber

Springer, who was raised in Anchorage, said she’s lived on the Kenai Peninsula since 2021

Forever Dance performers rehearse “Storytellers” on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Storytellers’ weave tales with their feet

Dance and literature intersect in latest Forever Dance showcase

Most Read