Assistant Director, Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning at the University of Houston- Downtown (UHD)
I grew up in the Houston Metro area, and attended Klein public schools. I pursued my undergraduate degree in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. During that time, I worked at several different non-profits with children after school and as a camp counselor. After graduation, I moved to Massachusetts to work as a Youth Civic Engagement Specialist, and then the Social Justice Coordinator at a non-profit. Two years later, I decided to study for dual master’s degrees in Human Development and Child Studies, and in Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning. Although I enjoyed my time in Massachusetts, Texas is where my family and friends are. I moved back to Houston in 2014 and began working as a business administrator for a private surgical practice where I gained managerial and office experience. In 2016, I began my role as an Assistant Director at UHD. I am also involved in several non-profit organizations in member and leadership roles.
As the Assistant Director for the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning at the University of Houston- Downtown, I get to work with college students to connect their classroom learning with real life experiences in Houston communities. My primary roles include program and student learning outcome assessment, grant writing, as well as developing relationships with local non-profit organizations to determine how UHD and its students, staff and faculty can help further their missions.
In a typical day, I work from my office on the UHD campus. I begin the day by answering emails and returning phone calls. Then, I generally survey the upcoming events for the center and determine what steps need to be taken to ensure the event’s success and perform actions as needed. I try to have lunch outside of the office as often as possible and explore downtown Houston. In the afternoons, I work on compiling data for reporting purposes, and create plans for assessment of various program components. Throughout each day, I attend meetings with a lot of different groups on campus as well as with community members. I am a member of, and chair several committees and UHD which also requires some organizational work.
There are several steps that I have taken that add up to where I am now in my career. I worked with many non-profits over the years and soaked up as much knowledge as I could during that time about best practices, non-profit culture, organizational and management needs, as well as learning from the organization’s constituents. Graduate school helped me hone my technical writing and research skills as well as gave me the credentials I needed in order to be successful in my position.
The most satisfying thing about my career is that no two days are really ever alike. I get to work both inside and outside of my office and interact with a wide variety of people. There is a lot of room for creativity and opportunities to display my work which is also really satisfying.
The typical salary range for my position is $50k-$100k
Outside of work, I try to prioritize building and strengthening relationships with friends and family. My free time is filled with laughter and sincerity, which fills my soul.
I try to be generous with my time and skill set as often as possible. Through my job and through my networks, I am often asked to help with various tasks and events for many causes. As often as possible, I try to make myself available for those. I believe it is important to give back because as someone who has been privileged to have many opportunities, it is my duty to ensure that I try to provide those same advantages to as many people as I can.
As an Assistant Director, I get to exercise my leadership skills in different fashions. I have several work study students in my department who often look to me for tasks and projects on a day-to-day basis. I also chair several committees that require my leadership skills. Outside of work, I am a member of the Houston Black Leadership Institute, where I lead a group of my peers on this project!
Maintaining financial stability has to be a constant activity– a necessary evil. Ignoring your finances will either keep you in the same place you are in, or it will drag you backwards. Keeping a watchful eye over how you are spending, being mindful about your savings, and prioritizing your obligations are key! Luckily, there are several tools (apps, free classes, the internet) that can help you keep track of your finances without having to do too much work on your own. For me, I have to be mindful about spending casually– $10 and $5 there really adds up over time!
I would want my legacy to be I am generous. Not just financially, but with my time, talent, friendship, and sincerity.
Every journey begins with the first step! You don’t have to master your finances today or decide on your career tomorrow. Taking small steps to move forward is progress in and of itself. Do something every day that puts you in a better position than the day before. Before you know it, you’ll have to set new goals because you’ve already reached all of the others!
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