Dena Russell

Assistant Director of Admissions, East Central Lower Michigan Office


I have to say the “Detroit area” because I was never in one spot for very long. Born in Utica, moved to Saginaw, Grand Blanc, Farmington Hills, then moved out of state to Minneapolis, Minn. for junior high and half of high school. My junior year of high school, we moved back to Rochester Hills, Mich.

Professional/Personal Biography:

I earned a bachelor of arts degree in commercial recreation and facility management from Central Michigan University in 1996. While on campus, I was a resident assistant for two years and very involved on campus. After graduation I went back to CMU as a resident hall director. I stayed there until I married and moved back to the Detroit area. There, I was a special events coordinator for a large furniture retailer. Soon after, I had the opportunity to get back in to higher education as a regional admission representative for CMU. After three years in admissions my husband was relocated to the Kalamazoo area where I became a corporate recruiter. I really missed the higher education environment and my passion led me to an awesome opportunity with Northern Michigan University.  I’ve been here ever since and have absolutely love being an adopted Wildcat!

Most Memorable College Experience:

Wow, that is a tough one. I loved the opportunity to be involved in so many different things in college. I ran track, participated in the recreation club, was a resident assistant, attended numerous conferences through the Residence Hall Association and Residence Life. But if I had to choose, I think the most memorable experience is the feel of college; independence, responsibilities, new experiences, staying up with friends until 4 a.m., and learning more about life then what could ever be taught in a classroom. I really enjoyed being friends with so many people - finding the similarities, appreciating the differences and making lasting friendships!

Favorite Marquette Activity:

Restaurants in Marquette – even with a food allergy, I’m never at a loss of places to dine in Marquette!  (If you have to be gluten-free, feel free to contact me.)

Best advice you received regarding college or would give someone else entering college:

Get involved! There’s something for everyone!  I love how students at Northern don’t just do things to put it on their resume, they’re actually doing things because they connect with the professors and professionals at the university.  At NMU, you have the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond!

Dena Russell