The Charger Blog

Assistant Dean of Students Loves Pugs, Is a Graduate of the New Haven Citizens FBI Academy

Get to know Becca Kitchell, assistant dean of students, who has worked at the University of New Haven for nearly 16 years. She is a dog lover who once dreamed of working as a hostage negotiator.

February 6, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Becca Kitchell and her partner, Robb
Becca Kitchell and her partner, Robb, on a recent trip to Tuscany.

The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about him or her – beyond their day to day work.

First up is Becca Kitchell, assistant dean of students.

Image of Kitchell and her best friends
Kitchell and her best friends from Regis College.

Renee Chmiel: Where did you go to school? What was your major?
Becca Kitchell: I attended Regis College, and I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in English in 1998, with minors in communications and women’s studies. I then attended Providence College, graduating in 2000 with my M.Ed. in guidance and counseling. Returning to Regis College, I graduated in 2016 with my Ed.D. in educational leadership.

An interesting fact: I thought I wanted to teach high school English. Then, I did my student teaching and decided against it. I was a resident assistant and orientation leader at the time, and my Dean of Students encouraged me to explore student affairs – and the rest is history! I have been at the University of New Haven for almost 16 years. I started in the Dean of Students Office in December 2016. Before then, I had a great career in residential life. I also graduated from the New Haven Citizens FBI Academy in spring 2018.

RC: Do you have any pets?
BK: I currently have a cat that adopted us. He came to our home and wouldn’t leave, so we finally took him in. At the time, I thought he was a she and named him Annie – like Little Orphan Annie. He is still Annie to us!
I am a huge pug dog lover, and I had a pug named Lulu for many years. She was my life until she passed two years ago.

"I was a resident assistant and orientation leader at the time, and my Dean of Students encouraged me to explore student affairs – and the rest is history!"Becca Kitchell, assistant dean of students

RC: What is the most exotic food that you’ve eaten? Did you like it?
BK: I will try anything once! My partner was a chef in a former life, so we are pretty adventurous eaters. I ate cold octopus salad in Italy, and I wasn’t a huge fan. I’ve tried escargot and loved it.

RC: Do you collect anything?
BK: I collect pug everything – our entire Christmas tree this year was all pug ornaments. I also collect PEZ dispensers and I have more than 100 of them, including a rare original Popeye PEZ.

RC: What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
BK: I will eat anything once and try (almost anything) once. I travelled to London solo, I’ve parasailed, I’ve gone snowmobiling, I’ve travelled all over Tuscany by car – even on those winding Italian roads. When I was in high school, I went to Eastern Europe and visited Prague, Budapest, and Berlin. You only live once!

Image of pug, Lulu
Kitchell's beloved pug, Lulu.

RC: What is your favorite TV show?
BK: I have a few favorites. Thanks to Netflix, my taste is varied. I like “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Pose,” “The Great British Baking Show,” “The Final Table,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Wentworth,” “Shameless,” and “Mindhunter.”

I enjoy dramas with interesting characters. Growing up, I wanted to be a hostage negotiator, so I like prison dramas or FBI shows so that I can live vicariously through the agents. I love cooking shows and series with good character development. “Shameless” is my guilty pleasure.

RC: What was something funny or embarrassing that happened to you?
BK: I am a huge klutz! Ever since I was little, I have been prone to injuries. I fell and hit the side of my head on the edge of a drawer at age two and that was my first scar. When I was in college, I almost cut the tip of my finger off while cutting a bagel. Because of me, Regis College Dining Services got a bagel cutter. I tore my ACL by falling off my deck and I was in a full metal leg brace for months. I accidently stuck my thumb in a fan as I was trying to replace the cover and the fan was on. I fractured my foot and I had to wear a boot for months. My RAs would decorate it each month in keeping with a theme or a holiday.