Bryan Koval is the Housefellow for Morewood Gardens, the residence hall that more than 450 Carnegie Mellon University students call home. He also serves as the Assistant Director of Residential Education, as the advisor to the Student Dormitory Council (SDC), and as the coordinator for RA (Resident Assistant) recruitment, selection, training, and assessment. Additionally, he oversees social media outreach and education for the Office of Residential Education.
Bryan completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Penn State University, in secondary education (2003) and higher education (2008), respectively. In 2016, he earned his Doctor of Education in higher education from The George Washington University.
An active and involved member of the Carnegie Mellon community for the past seven years, he makes sure to carve out time for students, his residents, and – of course – Scotty, CMU’s loveable mascot. Let’s learn more about Bryan!
How did you come to join CMU?
I started at Carnegie Mellon in July of 2010. For the previous five years, I worked in residence life at Penn State – University Park, and I was ready for a new challenge. Carnegie Mellon was recruiting someone for its Community Standards program, and I’ve always had an interest in student conduct work. The opportunity to join such an amazing institution and work within that functional area was something I just couldn’t pass up!
What are you most looking forward to for the Morewood Gardens community in the year ahead?
After serving as the Housefellow for Wesnik (West Wing plus Resnik) for the past seven years, I am looking forward to a new challenge as the Housefellow for Morewood Gardens (MG). MG is the largest community at Carnegie Mellon, and I’m so lucky to get to meet and build relationships with so many residents. Housing has been doing so much to improve the facilities in MG recently, and I know that the RA staff and I will be able to use updated commons spaces to help bring our residents together. This will also be the first time in my career that my office will be located in the community where I work, so I am excited for my residents to be able to easily stop by to chat!
Share one of your most prized CMU memories.
My most prized CMU memory is probably the first year I was here to see and participate in Carnival, an extremely fun and treasured Carnegie Mellon tradition. After working at the University for nearly nine months, I could hardly wait to see this major campus event that everyone talked about. I was blown away by all of the different ways that our students got involved. Seeing Booth and Buggy for the first time was incredible and reminded me how talented and passionate our campus community truly is.
What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?
Working in student affairs for nearly a decade, I’ve learned that people can always tell if you truly care for them or not. Even when things are hard or not going the way you hope they will, genuine concern can make all the difference.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?
I love spending time with my wife, Laura, and our dog, a Samoyed named Allie. I also enjoy cooking and reading for pleasure – non-fiction, biographies, and travel are my taste in books for the most part. I am into comedy and love watching stand-up; I’ve even taken some imrpov classes. I am also a runner and am currently training for the Pittsburgh half-marathon this spring.
All-time favorite book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My father. He passed away in 2012 and there are a lot of things I would like to tell him.
You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?
Ribeye steak (medium rare), baked sweet potato, grilled asparagus, and coffee break ice cream from the Penn State Creamery for dessert.