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Working in a New Normal: Coordinating Virtual Visits for Admissions

Mekisha Mebane has helped handle some of the roughly 49,500 undergraduate admissions applications

Part of the Profiles of Staff and Faculty During COVID-19 Series
MeKisha Mebane reviewed Undergraduate Admissions applications for the first time. Photo courtesy of MeKisha Mebane.
MeKisha Mebane reviewed Undergraduate Admissions applications for the first time. Photo courtesy of MeKisha Mebane.

Name: Mekisha Mebane

Position: Administrative Secretary, Duke Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Years at Duke: 13

What she does at Duke: Mebane supports seven admissions officers who speak to high school students from places like Florida, New York, Texas and the Charlotte area about attending and applying to Duke. 

Mebane coordinates virtual visits so students from high schools can speak with Duke admissions officers about the university. She attends meetings on Zoom to answer questions through the Zoom chat feature about campus, academics and athletics. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Mebane also triages nearly 200 emails sent from students interested in applying for admission. 

“The students I interact with over Zoom or email always have so much excitement about the possibility of going to Duke,” Mebane said. “It’s infectious. It energizes me.”  

How has her job changed since the pandemic: The Office of Undergraduate Admissions received roughly 49,500 applications this year, 10,000 more than the previous year, requiring some team members like Mebane to read applications for the first time. Mebane reviewed about 50 applications to assess students’ academics, writing styles and extracurricular activities.

Admitted students visit Duke in 2019 for one of the Blue Devil Days. Photo courtesy of Duke University Communications.“I’m proud to say I played a small part in helping select this year’s incoming class,” Mebane said. 

What she misses most about campus: Mebane longs for the return of in-person Blue Devil Days, when admitted students and their families visit campus to hear from members of the community about academics, campus life and student organizations. 

“You see students process that this is their school,” she said. “This is their campus.” 

TV show or series that has gotten her through: Mebane is watching the most recent “Hawaii Five-0” series, in which a police officer solves crimes around the Pacific state. 

The series combines Mebane’s love of action shows with memories of her 2015 family vacation to the islands of Oahu and Maui in Hawaii. 

“I see the beautiful beach and clear water and it takes me back to easier times,” Mebane said.  

How she maintains well-being: Mebane reads for fun most nights before bed. Her go-to novels are by Elin Hilderbrand, who has written nearly 30 romance novels. Mebane’s favorite to revisit is “Summer People,” about a woman finding love during a summer in Nantucket, Mass.  

MeKisha Mebane, center, and her family traveled to Hawaii in 2015. The pandemic taught Mebane to cherish her time with loved ones. Photo courtesy of MeKisha Mebane.“Elin’s books help me drift away,” Mebane said. “It feels like you’re sitting on an island while reading them.” 

Something most people don’t know about her: Since she was a child, Mebane dreamed of being an FBI agent. 

“I must have watched too many crime shows,” Mebane said. “I love thinking about forensics, investigations and what makes a criminal mind tick.” 

Lesson learned during COVID-19: Cherish time with family. Mebane regularly sees her two adult daughters but hasn’t spent time with her cousins, aunts and uncles, who live in the area, since December of 2019.

“COVID has taught me that you’ll never know how long it will be until you see somebody you love again,” she said. “I need to value the time I have with others.”

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