Marcantel’s Career Was Risk that Paid Off

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Nothing is scarier than spending years preparing for a career only to realize it might not be the right fit — just ask Tanner Marcantel.     

“I’m not a risk taker, but I would have to say that the biggest risk I ever took was choosing to leave behind all of the work I’d invested in learning foreign languages from middle school through college to give working in student affairs a shot,” said the assistant dean of students and director of Greek Affairs. “But it paid off.”

It was during his senior year at Louisiana State University (LSU) that Marcantel became interested in student affairs. He had a part-time job working in the Office of the Dean of Students, and it was Dean James Trott who encouraged Marcantel to consider making the switch.

Marcantel’s experience as a member of the Theta Xi fraternity at LSU made him a good fit for Greek Affairs. Prior to arriving at Tech about a year ago, Marcantel spent four years at Vanderbilt overseeing the area.

“I’m really passionate about my job, because my Greek experience was amazing,” he said. “When a fraternity is done right, it can be an amazing opportunity to develop lifelong skills.”
Recently, the Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Marcantel and his time at Tech.

What is the biggest misconception about your job?
A lot of people think that I just babysit children all of the time when really my job is to help students reflect on the choices that they make — good and bad — and learn from them.

So, what do you spend your days doing?      
I spend a great deal of my day communicating with students and campus colleagues.  This takes the form of student organization meetings and individual conversations with students. These discussions always relate to Greek Life’s relevance to Tech and how students’ actions affect our contributions to campus. I also spend time supervising and mentoring a professional staff, who work closely with our student leaders.   

What is most satisfying about your work?   
There’s not a lot of instant gratification in this job. Sometimes it takes years to know that I’ve made a difference. For example, one student from Vanderbilt called me several years after I’d worked with her. She wanted me to know that a conversation we’d had stuck with her and helped her get through personal and professional situations. Moments like these are really satisfying.

What piece of technology could you not live without personally and professionally?
I have to feel connected, so I use my iPad for everything from Facebook to work email.

Which do you prefer: Facebook, Twitter or a world without all of this social media stuff?
I’d say facebook because it lets me know what’s going on, whether it’s keeping up with friends from high school or getting news about pop culture.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
It would be by the Campanile where you are surrounded by this traditional college environment, but you look up and see the skyline of Atlanta. That’s one of the best things about Tech — you get a college campus feel in the middle of a major city.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A speaker I once heard said, “Figure out what you’re passionate about, learn to do it well and find a way to get paid for it.”   

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
It would probably be my grandfather on my dad’s side who passed away before I graduated from college. (I’m the oldest of 17 grandchildren.) I would love to fill him in on everything that has happened.



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