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May 14, 2024

Residential Life opens Luster to career in college student development

By Lilly Proctor, communication assistant

Justin Luster’s experience in the Residential Life at Northwest Missouri State University changed his career outlook and gave him the skills he needs for a future in higher education and student affairs.

He came to Northwest wanting to go into youth development. Now, after graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Science degree in human services and psychology, Luster desires a career in college student development.

Justin Luster (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Justin Luster (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

“My main focus primarily was the human services major, and then when I found out about the overlap between the two and how a psychology degree could help me in the field that I wanted to go to, I decided to add the other one,” Luster said.

He enjoys helping people, and the things he learned he could put into practice while being involved in Residence Hall Association (RHA)  attracted him to a career in higher education. RHA is a student-run organization dedicated to promoting involvement and leadership on campus and serves as a voice for residents.

Luster worked in residential life for three years and was a member of National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) for two years. In residential life, he was able to apply what he learned in his psychology and human services coursework directly to his work as a resident assistant, including communication, time management and team-building skills.

Luster served on the regional board for the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls and helped other colleges grow their RHA and NRHH chapters across the region. Additionally, he briefly worked with Campus Dining on its marketing team.

“Housing is really like the biggest student affairs area because housing is constant, and so it really has prepared me with a lot of the basic skills to go elsewhere,” Luster said.

Along the way, Luster, who studied a minor in art, gained faculty mentors who helped him find his career path.

“The faculty is really ready to help you and support you inside and outside of the classroom,” he said. “They really care about us as people and they’re, for the most part, pretty understanding whenever you have something going on and you need help.”

He will continue his education at the University of Iowa by pursuing a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs while participating in a graduate assistantship in orientation services.

“Ideally, I would like to travel a lot after I graduate, working at different institutions and learning a lot about the whole field,” Luster said.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215