University of Arizona
Master's of Art, Higher Education
While at the University of Arizona, I had the opportunity to work under Higher Education faculty member Regina Deil-Amen, who specialized in research for Access and Success of students who were high risk or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
While receiving my degree, I became employed with ITT Technical Institute as a Management Trainee. When I first accepted the position, I had no idea how many of the students that ITT serves would be from a similar background as myself. I spent six months in each of the four student service areas ITT utilizes to assist students in gaining access and success in school (Recruitment, Financial Aid, Registrar, and Career Services). In each role I felt like I was having the opportunity to advise students the way I had received advising while in the national TRiO program during my undergraduate education.
One student who I enrolled in June 2010 and graduated with his Associate’s degree in June 2012 had a story that really hit home for me. We met just weeks after his high school graduation and he came to his campus tour alone: when I asked about parental support, he said he didn’t have any. His mother was not willing to take out any loans for him to go to school, she herself had bad credit and she would not be willing to do so. After speaking with a Financial Aid Counselor, I explained to his mother that while we her concern about excessive loans we still needed her support to review what options would be available to him as he was a dependent student. After a long meeting with Financial Aid, the student’s mother agreed to provide her support, and allow her son to take out his own loans for the education she knew he would need to succeed in the future.
In the last five years, I have worked at ITT Technical Institute and Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) serving students through the Career Services departments. I have had the opportunity to work with so many ambitious and eager students who come from non-traditional, disadvantaged, and varied backgrounds that all remind me a little of myself. Now as the Career Services Liaison for West-MEC, I have the opportunity to help students at the secondary and post-secondary levels translate the skills they have learned in class into lucrative jobs within high-demand, high-wage fields. In addition to assisting students, I have the pleasure of serving the local business and industry leaders in ensuring their talent pipeline is full of skilled and knowledgeable workers who will be able to help grow their businesses and the community.