How did you gain experience when you were a student?
As a first-generation African American male starting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was very hard at for me at first, as I had no guide, starting point, or many people that looked like me going in my direction. I was able to start gaining my experience through TRIO and Oasis, first connecting with people from similar backgrounds, and then by asking important questions. I also started working at the Campus Recreation center where I was able to get more connected throughout campus. Eventually I would join more groups and started becoming more comfortable speaking with college professors.
How did you become a career development professional?
Becoming a career development professional was a long journey for me, as I hadn’t a clue where I was going. I gained much experience working for the TRIO programs helping others find their way. After college I became a behavior health specialist with the army reserves, and a community center leader in Denver and Phoenix. Through my experience exploring multiple careers, and helping others find their own, it became clear this was my journey. I had done this job at a smaller capacity, so now is the time for me to take it on fully.
Who is someone who impacted your career development?
There are so many people that impacted my career development, but there are some that should especially be mentioned. My TRIO family ( Joan Mendoza-Gorham, Colette Yellow-Robe, Marianna Burks, & Joyce Lehn) has impacted me tremendously, as they build the foundation that allowed me to be the best version of me. Another very important part was taken on a mentor in T.J. McDowell. He has challenged me to take on challenges and push myself in ways I had not before. Seeing him do all he does as the Assistant-Vice Chancellor of student affairs has also motivated me to do even more.
Partner CollegesCollege of Education & Human Sciences
Pronouns: She/Her How did you gain experience when you were a student? As a non-traditional student, I stayed very busy working multiple jobs and balancing classes. I used spare time to read and interact with fellow students who were going through similar experiences, and we would share ideas and stories with each other which helped me consider different viewpoints that I hadn’t thought of. I also volunteered my skills within my professional networks doing marketing jobs in order to develop a portfolio of my freelance work and try out new techniques. Another way I gained experience was by saying yes when asked to serve on hiring committees, attend workshops, or be a part of new initiatives at my jobs, because I feel like on the job experiences really offer great training opportunities.
How did you become a career development professional? I have gained experience in a variety of industries and roles such as administrative support, insurance sales, leadership, marketing, and rental property management, which all allowed me to work with and interact with large numbers of clients, customers, experts, and co-workers in those fields. I was able to work for the Nebraska Department of Education assisting public schools across Nebraska which led me to the University of Nebraska Housing department in 2016. While working for University Housing, I interviewed, hired and trained student employees who worked on campus to help and serve the thousands of students who live on campus at UNL. Some of my career development experience happens during one-on-one sessions with students who come to me with questions about their next steps or how to best proceed with their career goals. I believe that each student is individually unique which gives me so many different opportunities to learn from them and practice my career development skills.
Who is someone who impacted your career development? I have had a few mentors throughout my career who have helped me grow professionally, offered advice when I had questions, and encouraged me to constantly push beyond my comfort zone like my mentor s and former supervisors. As a First Generation student, my parents have always encouraged me, cheered for me, and inspire me to do better, so I really feel they have been impactful throughout my career journey.