Meet the Author: Catherine Campbell-Perna
July 15, 2019
The first thing that people learn when they meet me is that I have a deep affiliation with Drexel. I'm the longest serving Admissions counselor in the office, at 21 years. Well, Maggi Miller in our Visit Center started a few weeks before me in 1997, but I've had the longest tenure at least as far as the admissions counselors are considered. I'm also a double graduate, completing my BS in Communications in 1995 and MS in Higher Education in 2010. I swear, after graduation I left Drexel for two years and worked in the private sector before reuniting with the campus to continue my professional career. Though I lived on campus as a student and around the City of Philadelphia as a young alumnus, my home has otherwise been immediately West of Philadelphia in Delaware County (when I wasn't at the Jersey shore). I was raised in Springfield and currently live in Media, the capital of Delco, with my husband, daughter, and two rescue cats.
I've been the driving force behind all my high school and college reunions thanks to the skills that I gained as part of Drexel's Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The one downside to a 5-year school; your reunions line up in the same year! Next year I will be planning some big ones! At least Drexel's Alumni Office can help me with the University one.
I've been very active with Drexel's Alumni Board of Governors and was the founding President of Drexel's Young Alumni Association, which is still going strong close to 20 years later. Every May the University hosts Alumni Weekend, where alumni from all years gather for various activities. As one of the coordinators of Drexel's alumni admission volunteer program, the Alumni Ambassadors, we organize a contemporary tour of the campus called the Campus Crawl. The Crawl was developed by one of Drexel's Event Planning Classes for the Communications major and highlights new building on campus combined with food and beverages. This year's signature event, Drexel After Dark, was a cocktail party held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Outside of work, you can find me running around with my daughter and her activities. She is currently finishing 5th grade and keeps me beyond busy. I consider myself to be the least likely to be a "Dance Mom" of the "Dance Moms". Don't get me wrong, I love to go out dancing, but I don't have any kind of formal training. I'm the one at the competitions and rehearsals sitting there with a laptop hoping that I can get access to Wi-Fi so that I can respond to my MANY emails. I also filled in this year with two other working moms to be a Junior Girl Scout troop leader. I had no idea how much work that would be! I'm a bit nervous for her to start middle school in the fall, but I know that she can handle it!
One of my passions since elementary school has been journalism. I started writing for my elementary school's newspaper and continued though middle school and high school. When I arrived as a first-year student to Drexel, the logical thing for me to do was to join Drexel's student newspaper, The Triangle. It turned into my second home and a great place to get free food. I have been out of the journalism scene for a long time and then, last fall, a former Triangle editor informed me that he was writing for an online Philadelphia entertainment magazine and was looking for writers. I don't have a lot of free time to devote to it, but I love having the chance to write concert reviews, and if I'm lucky, receive a free ticket. I'm a big fan of 80s and 90s alternative music, but open to newer music too. When I graduated from Drexel, our Commencement ceremony was held at the old Philadelphia Civic Center, which has since been torn down and is the location of one of Penn's new hospital buildings. I was so excited to speak at graduation, where groups like the Beastie Boys and Green Day had performed earlier that year. Of course, one of the highlights of my undergraduate days was seeing Nirvana perform at Drexel's Armory in October of 1993. On the newer side of music, last summer I took my daughter to her first concert, the Radio 104.5 11th Birthday Show with Imagine Dragons and AJR (among others). It was a lot of fun and at least I wasn't the oldest person at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey. She liked it so much that in the fall I took her and my husband to the somewhat new Fillmore in the Fishtown section of the city to see AJR. However, I wasn't thinking that a 10-year-old who is only 4'9" might have a hard time seeing the stage for a standing room only, general admission show. We will wait until she is a little taller for the next one!
As a lifelong Philadelphia area resident, my other passion are my friendships. I read once that more people are born, live, and die in Philadelphia than any other metropolitan area in the U.S. Though I do have some friends who have moved away, a lot of them still live within an hour of me. With our busy careers and families, it's often hard to get together, but we do our best to make time for each other. Whether it's going to Dining Under the Stars in Media (the weekly outdoor dining experience from May to September) or hanging out at a concert or a new restaurant, I try to connect with my college friends, high school classmates, former shore roommates, current and past coworkers, and the many other friends whom I have connected with over the years. My friends at work are convinced that I could play "6 Degrees of Separation" with just about anyone from the region! It's even more evident now that some of those friends have kids applying to college and are visiting Drexel.
Catherine Campbell-Perna is an Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Drexel University. In her free time, she can be found chauffeuring her 11-year-old daughter around to dance class or hoping that her husband decides that he doesn't feel like cooking dinner and that the three of them should go out to one of the many local restaurants in her Delco neighborhood.