“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing to learning to do.” —Pele
There are many reasons why I enjoy working as a Student Success Specialist in higher education at Hawkeye Community College. However, the most important reason why I am passionate about what I do is that I have the opportunity to work with students the same way the University of Northern Iowa’s UNICUE /TRiO Upward Bound, ETS, and the Student Support Services programs worked to help me.
Academically, I underachieved in high school. I was there to socialize and play sports. I grew up in a working-class family. I did not value education or see the importance. I was also going through personal life situations that made it challenging to stay focused on school. I did not do enough outside of the classroom my first two years, and it was not until my junior year that I really understood that I was harming myself more than helping myself. Mickeye Johnson, the Upward Bound Director helped me to believe that I could go to college and succeed. I was the first one to go to college in my family. I attended both Kirkwood Community College and Hawkeye Community College; and received a 3.6 GPA. I transferred to the University of Northern Iowa, earned my bachelor’s degree in social work, received a scholarship to pay for my master’s program and earned my M.A. TESOL degree in 2002. If it had not been for someone speaking life into me, guiding me, and providing the skills/resources needed; I do not believe that I would be where I am today.
I love connecting with students. Every day I get to work with students with various ethnicities, who speak other languages, and have diverse backgrounds. I see students who underachieve almost every day and I want to be that person they know they can reach out to no matter what situation they are going through. In addition, I have awesome staff and faculty that I work within the Agriculture and Developmental Education departments. They recognize that there are challenges that students may face while attending college and genuinely care about the students. We work together to encourage students, motivate, guide them, and connect them to the resources/skills needed to transition toward success and achievement in their academic and personal goals in life.