New Dean of Students ready to serve

By: Joshua Robles, Staff Writer

Newman started the spring semester with a new Dean of Students.

Sara Mata came to Newman from the University of Oklahoma, where she worked as a research associate and faculty affiliate in the department of sociology.

“My passion is to help students and for their experience here at Newman to be good and fruitful,” Mata said.

She replaces Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, who’d served in the role since 2018 but accepted the position of Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success at Newman last fall.

In the past, Mata has worked at colleges including Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and more.

“I feel a connection to work with young people,” she said. “I’m passionate about helping young people find who they are.”

Mata is from Arkansas City but spent most of her career in Oklahoma. She said she worked as a graphic designer for five years before going back to school. She graduated from Oklahoma State University and also earned her Associate’s Degree at Cowley County Community College.

She said she chose to come to Newman because she wanted to get back to her home state.

“Leaving Oklahoma and coming back to Kansas was at the top of my list, and I wanted to be closer to home and my mom,” Mata said. “Also, the thought of working at a smaller and private institution intrigued me.”

Mata said her main goals at Newman are helping students feel like they belong, helping enrich their educational opportunities, advocating on students’ behalf and contributing to recruitment, retention and

“I think she will be a perfect fit here at Newman,” said Shanice Gitungo, Newman’s SGA president. “I think her experience, determination and passion is why she was chosen for the job.”

So far, Gitungo said, she’s been impressed by Mata’s personality and work ethic.

“I think she is a very outgoing and determined individual who will bring positive change to our campus,” she said, “Even though we have a great campus, there is always room for improvement, and she will be a part of that improvement that we need”.

Some interesting facts about Mata: She’s the only person in her family with a doctorate’s degree. She has a toy poodle named Sunny. And she misses going to concerts and traveling in the age of COVID.

“I love music,” Mata said. “College football has always been a favorite of mine. I miss the environment sporting events once had.”

PHOTO: Joshua Robles, Staff Writer