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Reflections from Alumni Admissions Volunteers

Patty Caballero and Amy Lampert discuss their experiences connecting with future Eagles.

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New Students and Alumni pose with an AU Banner

“AU gave me a great start. A great education. A fantastic city. A beautiful campus,” says Amy Lampert, SOC/BA ’94. Those three characteristics of American University are still top of mind today for many AU applicants. A good education, a vibrant location, and the campus itself (an arboretum, of course) are three qualities that have drawn in generations of students and alumni.

Choosing a college isn’t easy. With more than 4,000 colleges and universities across the US, finding the right one can be overwhelming for the millions of students who apply to college each year. For many of these students, their search includes discovering what the education can provide after they graduate. This, for AU, is where our Alumni Admissions Volunteers come into play. 

The Alumni Admissions Volunteer (AAV) network is a community of passionate alumni eager to demonstrate their affinity for AU to prospective and admitted students. With close to 200 volunteers, alumni can tailor their own experiences. From responding to prospective student emails to sharing in meaningful conversations around affinities and identities, to hosting admitted students in their own backyards and more, the AAV network provides several ways for alumni to engage with future Eagles. 

Amy Lampert is well aware of the impact of AAV volunteers. “It’s just fun!” Amy remarked during a conversation with Jarryd Delaney, associate director of alumni admissions volunteers and lifelong learning. “You see the meaning in your work. It’s such an exciting time in someone’s life and it is equally as exciting to help them.”

Amy has touched the lives of countless new students and family members through her many years as a volunteer. To be exact, Amy’s volunteer work with admissions started in 1999. And nearly each summer since 2000, she has hosted a Summer Send-Off event for new students.

Patty Caballero, SOC/BA ’91, Kogod/MBA ’00, the new vice president of operations for the AU Alumni Board, hosted her first Summer Send-Off in 2022 alongside husband Don Lisco, CAS/BA ’91, Kogod/MBA ’99. To Patty, it was important for incoming new students to have familiar faces as they start their AU journeys. “They may not be friends for life, but it gives students the comfort of having someone familiar to call on when they get to DC,” she says. After the event, a new student connected with her on LinkedIn to thank her and Don for hosting, and to remain connected for future advice and opportunities.

Both Amy and Patty know alumni engagement in the admissions process is also important for the new AU parents and families. Patty, parent of a college student herself, knows “it is scary to send students off to campus, especially if it is your first. You want to be sure they’ll be supported and that it is a good place to be.” This past summer, in partnership with New Student and Family Programs, brochures were sent to the send-off events with pertinent campus information. “I know the send-offs are a great time to allow students to meet each other and feel excited, but I think they are equally as important – if not really for – the new AU parents and guardians,” says Amy, also a parent. College admissions, especially for first-generation students, is often a family affair, and our AAV members create meaningful connections for all involved.

When asked about the future of the AAV network, Amy and Patty shared several ideas. First, it will be beneficial to host more send-off events across the country. “They are integral to the community building our university strives for. We should look to do more, especially in the major markets for AU,” Patty said. “There’s definitely an interest in these specific events.”

Secondly, they are excited for admissions volunteers to have opportunities to reengage post COVID-19. These two seasoned volunteers are enthusiastic to see new faces in 2023. “It’s easy to volunteer, and it’s fun to get involved! I’ve met all sorts of fantastic people,” Amy says. “It’s easy to talk with prospective students about something you like.”

They also are looking forward to new ways for the AAV network to engage with the campus community itself. “We need to know ‘this is AU today,’ not just 30 years ago – even though speaking about how much we loved AU is also important,” Patty said. Being an admissions volunteer is a perfect way to see the transformation AU is experiencing through the Change Can’t Wait campaign. “Being an admissions volunteer has definitely given me much pride in being an AU alumna,” says Amy.

Luckily, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Enrollment are eager to connect alumni to prospective students and the university alike. Alumni Relations plans on hosting a record number of Summer Send-Offs this year alongside training sessions for all volunteers in February and March. There are plans for partnerships between the AAV network and the on-campus AU Ambassadors, and admissions will host several alumni at New Eagle Welcomes this spring.

AU has approximately 20,000 undergraduate applicants each year. Your support in engaging these students is deeply valued by the university and the students you’ll inspire. Help us recruit the next generation of AU Eagles. Email Jarryd Delaney at to begin the conversation, and if you already know you’d like to get involved, please complete the AAV Agreement Form.