Emory Report
August 24, 2009
Volume 62, Number 1


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August 24, 2009
Helping students find their way

By Patti Ghezzi

When students enter the Office of the Registrar, Tyhuna Tyree’s friendly face is the first they see.

As a secretary with the registrar’s office, she helps students access their transcripts. Tyree, who previously worked as a receptionist in admissions, is also happy to give directions around campus and help students, parents and alumni navigate procedures in enrollment services.

“With my knowledge from undergraduate admissions, I can answer a lot of questions in the office,” she says. “I can get the student pointed in the right direction.”

One misconception about the registrar’s office is that it receives transcripts from other schools. “The admissions office gets the transcript,” Tyree has informed countless students and parents over the years.

This school year, Tyree will not just be helping students, she will be a student in special standing through the Courtesy Scholar Program. She is taking a women’s studies course in hopes of earning a degree in African American Studies. “I don’t have anything to lose and everything to gain,” she says, adding that her son, Ameer, will be a freshman at Georgia Perimeter College. “We can compare notes!”

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Tyree graduated from high school in hopes of becoming a flight attendant. Her family talked her out of that. She became a mother and focused on Ameer, while earning an administrative assistant diploma from Brazos Business College in Bryan, Texas. “I put my dreams aside for my son,” she says. “Now I can pursue those dreams.”

Before arriving at Emory eight years ago, she worked at a trucking company and was eager for change. She found the Emory campus so welcoming she never wanted to leave. “I definitely see a future here,” she says, adding that she would love to work in the Department of African American Studies someday.

When she worked in admissions, she got to see students start out as tentative high school seniors and blossom into scholars. One student stood out for his transformation from awkward teenager to campus leader. When he was about to graduate, she sent him an e-mail telling him how proud she was of his accomplishments.

“He came into the office and gave me a hug,” she says. “I felt like I watched him from beginning to end.”
Tyree enjoys taking advantage of opportunities on campus. When she saw a Theater Emory production of the play, “Death and the Maiden,” last spring, she was so impressed she insisted her coworkers see it. She sent e-mails to the student actors telling them what a fantastic job they did.

While in admissions, she got involved with Essence of Emory, a recruitment program for prospective African American and Latino students.

Tyree sits on two committees: Budget Review for Enrollment Services and the Advisory Committee for Enrollment Services. On the first, she and other members look for ways to trim the budget. On the other, she tries to keep morale up with activities such as a back-to-school breakfast for staff.

Employees feel comfortable going to Tyree with a problem or suggestion, which she can take to the committee. “They’re not intimidated by me,” she says. “I can be a voice for them.”

When she is not on campus, Tyree has a penchant for children’s birthday parties. She once had a small event-planning business, but closed it when her son entered high school. Now she throws parties for friends and family members. Someday, she would like to start a nonprofit organization that gives birthday parties for children who would not otherwise get to have one.

“I love to help people; I love to help children,” she says. “I like making sure kids have a special day.”