President Profile

Meet our 2020-2021 Iowa ACAC President Tara Winter!

Tell us more about your educational and professional background.

As an undergraduate student, I worked in the Admissions Office at Wartburg College. My connections in this office landed me my first job after college as the head cheer coach at Simpson College. Shortly after, an admissions counselor position opened up, so it was perfect timing. I had a wonderful experience at Simpson College, but felt a tug to return to my alma mater when the opportunity presented itself. For 16 years, I worked in the Wartburg Admissions Office recruiting students from Central Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and most recently Northeast Iowa. In July of 2019, I became the Executive Director of Admissions. While I’ve taken on a different role, I’m fortunate to continue with an amazing team, most of whom I’ve worked with for years.

Tell us about you outside of work and your professional life?

I’ve also been the head cheer coach at Wartburg for the past 17 years, so I naturally find my way to many sporting events. I love football, which works out well because my husband is the assistant head football coach at Wartburg. I’ve only missed two Wartburg football games since 2004! I also LOVE baseball, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals. A top 10 moment of my life was visiting Busch Stadium last year, walking on the field, and sitting in the dugout. I also love to bake, which is why you will find no less than 15 packages of chocolate chips in my house at any given time. Due to the constant baking, I also enjoy running! My husband, Chris, and I have two children: Emmry (10) and Maddox (5).

How did you first get involved with Iowa ACAC?

I think I have been to all but two Iowa ACAC conferences in my time in Admissions! The two exceptions were when each of my children were born. I first joined the Admission Practices Committee, as I’ve always been a bit of a rule follower. However, not long after I joined the committee, I was asked to step in and fill the role as chair. I served in this capacity for about five years. I became involved again this past year as president-elect, alongside President Tom Paulsen, and Past President Mark Ash, who continue to be amazing mentors to me.

Tell us about one of your favorite ACAC memories.

Just one?! I love the opportunity for everyone in the profession to come together at conferences. We barely get to interact with colleagues from other institutions and conference gives us a great opportunity to connect and share stories. One of my favorite moments at conference is when my boss at that time, Doug Bowman, received the Admissions Professional of the Year Award, after experiencing life-altering health issues. To see him accept his award given to him by so many who loved and respected him, was a memory I will never forget. Also, a special shout out to the 2016 MIDWest conference in Minneapolis when our group had the entire venue for the Pop Rocks concert. Can we do that again?!

What are you most looking forward to about being the President of Iowa ACAC?

My answer might have been different two months ago, but now as we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, I look forward to helping find solutions for our institutions and membership in order to continue to serve our students in the state of Iowa.

What is one goal that you hope to accomplish during your time as President?

I hope we can find a way for Iowa’s colleges and universities to continually connect students to higher education options, even if we are practicing social distancing. We have a great opportunity to connect with our friends through ISCA to ensure we find solutions that are mutually beneficial.

Congratulations, Tara, on becoming our next Iowa ACAC president!


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