December 21, 2020

Michael Shoemaker, a senior in the Digital Gaming Simulations and Engineering Technologies major, is in his third year of being a Resident Assistant (RA) for Shawnee State University. As a first-generation college student, struggling initially with being away from his family for the first time, Shoemaker found guidance through his own RA in his freshman year.

portrait of Michael Shoemaker in gaming lab

“My RA during my freshman year really helped me feel at place here at SSU, and they connected me with all the resources I needed on campus,” he said. “This helped me strive here on campus, and I wanted to do this for others.”

Inspired from this experience, Shoemaker applied to become an RA in his sophomore year and has continued in that position every year since. He found it an easy way to stay involved with the campus community.

“As an RA, your job is to connect with your residents and to create a safe and fun community for everyone to live in,” he said. “The interactions you have with your residents are priceless, and every single time you can make one smile, or they appreciate you in any way, it really reminds you why you do this job.”

In his role, Shoemaker has found himself developing a number of professional skills he is using on campus and to aid him in his future career.

“Leadership, decision making, creativity, time management, and teamwork are skills that you need and develop as an RA,” he said. “In addition to these, I have learned how to budget, work on a committee, interview skills, upper education office skills, and team management.”

Balancing being a full-time student with the position can be challenging at times, but Shoemaker and other university RAs have found they have assistance when they need it.

“During training, we teach RAs how to better manage their time, and give them resources if needed,” Shoemaker said. “An amazing thing about being an RA is the family you create with your fellow RAs. They will be there for you if you need help balancing RA duties and schoolwork, and honestly, they will be there for you for anything.”

Within his role at the university and in the classroom, Shoemaker feels he has found his sense of belonging and a support system at SSU.

“The amount of support that you get at SSU is amazing,” he said. “With the small class sizes, caring staff, and degrees that are filled with amazing professors, you get all the help and attention that you need.”

The Shawnee State University Office of Housing & Resident Life is accepting applications for those students interested in becoming a Resident Assistant for the 2021-22 academic year. The online application can be found online at The deadline to submit an application is December 30, 2020. For more information, visit