Tune in to this episode of Admissions Live where we speak with Cyndy Hill, Director of the Penn State Parents Program, and Brian Watkins, Director of Parent and Family Affairs at the University of Maryland. This broadcast will cover strategies for student and parent communication and support in the first six weeks of the school year. During this important time of transition we’ll discuss how admission offices can be a better partner in the communication hand-off and play a role as supportive members of the community to all of our campus constituents.


Admissions Live is sponsored by NRCCUA

Episode Host

Nicole Lentine

Nicole Lentine

Nicole Lentine is associate director of admission at Champlain College. Along with recruitment goals and activities, she serves as community manager to prospective and admitted student social media communities, develops admissions and alumni partnership strategies, and develops events and visit programs for special populations. Nicole has over nine years of experience in the industry, and thrives on networking and learning from others to constantly improve and find new ways to connect with students. She speaks about college admissions and digital communication strategies at regional and national conferences including NEACAC, HigherEdWeb, and UBTech.


Cyndy Hill

Cyndy has been the the director of the Penn State Parents Program since July 2015. Cyndy has focused her first year in the office on developing and strengthening parent and family communication and increasing office visibility. Her favorite part of working with parents is presenting at New Student Orientation. Prior to her time in the Parents Program, Cyndy worked as an assistant director in the Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs running Welcome Week and providing support to New Student Orientation.

Cyndy has previous experience in both development and public relations in non-profit organizations and spent three years working in the Student Activities Office at Texas A&M University.

A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts degrees in both psychology and communications, she is nearly done with her Master’s degree in Higher Education from Penn State.

When not assisting parents and families, Cyndy spends time parenting her three children, a Penn State alum, a current Penn State sophomore, and a high school junior, and their wonderfully, crazy dog, Luna.


Brian Watkins

Brian is the director of Parent and Family Affairs at the University of Maryland, serving as the liaison between the university and the parents/families of its 27,000+ undergraduate students. While at Maryland, he has overseen the expansion of parent and family programs, resources and services, and has been instrumental in helping Student Affairs and various academic departments develop a more cohesive and inclusive approach to working with families to support student success. Brian also is the President of the Association of Higher Education Parent/Family Program Professionals (AHEPPP). His additional professional involvement includes chairing the Foster Care and Unaccompanied Homeless Student Working Group at UMD and serving on the NAEHCY’s State of Maryland Higher Education Network.

Prior to joining the Division of Student Affairs at Maryland in 2005, Brian served as assistant director of Academic Enhancement at DePaul University and director of campus activities and student involvement at Arcadia University. A native of Michigan, Brian received his B.A. in psychology from Hope College and his M.Ed. in higher education and student affairs administration from The University of Vermont.

Brian and his husband are the proud parents of a very active first grader and they both enjoy involvement in the PTA (however, they are currently trying to survive volunteering at the school during lunchtime).