By Jamie Jiang ’22
For Dr. Adriana di Bartolo, the position of Associate Dean of Students at Scripps represents a new venture in a familiar setting. As a founding director of the Claremont Colleges’ Queer Resources Center (QRC) and Acting Associate Dean of Students for Personal Success and Wellness at Pomona College, di Bartolo is well acquainted with the Claremont Consortium.
“This is like coming home,” said di Bartolo, who assumed the position of Associate Dean in early December.Dean di Bartolo developed ties with the Scripps administration and students even before taking a position at the college due to her involvement at the other 5Cs. Between 2011 and 2016, DiBartolo helped expand the QRC from a Pomona-specific resource, unlisted in 5C directories, to a seven college center. Under her direction, the center increased funding, introduced allyship training to campuses which previously did not offer such programs, and increased support for trans and nonbinary students.
From July 2016 until taking a position at Scripps last semester, di Bartolo served as Dean of Students for Vassar College. In her role as Associate Dean of Students at Scripps, her responsibilities include focusing on “health and wellness, supporting students during crisis, and working alongside students, faculty and staff to continue the initiatives toward building vibrant and inclusive communities,” she stated in an email to the student body. She is also teaming up with Dean Brenda Ice in Reslife and Dean Jenn Wells to ensure inclusivity and student success.
di Bartolo emphasizes her commitment to social justice and equity in her approach as a dean and prides herself in serving as a model for students who don’t see queer representation in their administration. “I strongly identify as a social justice educator, and that’s where my roots are,” di Bartolo said. di Bartolo’s approach to work in higher education is heavily influenced by her own educational background, where she experienced a lack of guidance and resources while navigating her undergraduate education. di Bartolo enrolled at a community college and later transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she majored in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Since graduating, she has spent 13 years working in higher education to ensure the access and guidance that she did not have.
“I didn’t have somebody to kind of pick me up and say to me, ‘you’re not working to your full potential right now,’” said di Bartolo. “I probably would have thrived much more if I had attended a smaller institution… I didn’t even meet the dean of students. I didn’t even know what that was when I was an undergrad.”
In her free time, di Bartolo enjoys flower arranging, crossfit, spending time with her family, and being outside. But she’s already looking forward to new developments at Scripps. “[I’m currently] thinking about what we’re doing in terms of the student affairs division. [I hope] to continue to build capacity in how well they’re already serving students.”
She is also looking forward to working with the primary contact deans, build-ing capacity of the case management system, and enriching the on-call dean’s work in crisis services.
“We do this work of gathering around students, to help them build resiliency to continue to move forward,” she said. “This institution is really at an exciting time and I’m excited to be part of Scripps now.”