Walker ‘goes the extra mile’ to recruit students

jazmund walker web“Energy spreads,” says senior admissions counselor Jazmund Walker.

“Optimism and energy are sure-fire ways to get through the long days as a traveling recruiter,” she said by phone at the end of her first day in her new territory, Alabama’s Black Belt.

Walker has no shortage of either, according to co-workers who praised her passion for students, commitment to teamwork and drive to invest in her community. For these and other reasons they nominated her for UAB Employee of the Month.

“Jazmund has, in a relatively brief period, become an invaluable asset to our office,” said senior admissions counselor Frank Paige. “She adopts a student-centered approach to her job and is always ready to go the extra mile to assist students struggling with what all too often proves to be an unfamiliar and occasionally intimidating admissions process.

Walker, a 2009 graduate of the University Honors Program, is no stranger to that process. She’s the first in her family to graduate college — and she struggled financially to achieve that — so she has more than a passing familiarity with obstacles that accompany aspirations.

On the road

Throughout the year Walker attends countless college fairs and school assemblies and answers any questions 
students have about UAB. Her role is to recruit students, but her goal stretches a little further.

“My purpose and drive,” she said, “is to awaken their passion to do better and help provide them with the resources to do that.”

Her supervisor, Laine Chapman, assistant director of in-state recruitment, has high praise for Walker’s work in the field. “Each time I speak to high-school guidance counselors or admissions counselors from peer institutions, they have nothing but great things to say about Jazmund. She works closely with each of her students to ensure they are aware of each and every opportunity available to them at UAB — from honors to scholarships to academic support services.”

This month, Walker began recruiting in central Alabama, which includes the Black Belt region, Montgomery and Auburn. She will be partnering closely with UAB’s new initiative, Gear Up Alabama, which strengthens the path to college for low-income students.

“I cannot wait to see how she will be able to impact this organization and its students as they work to empower the Black Belt region,” Chapman said.

At home

Sometimes, the student comes to her. Walker, a city native, also is a mentor for Proof Positive, a workplace-mentoring program that is a partnership between UAB and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham. Eighth-graders from Hayes K-8 are paired with UAB employees who can offer guidance, encouragement and support for their futures. “This is my second time to be a Big Sister,” Walker said.

Each month, UAB recognizes an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the university’s success. If you know of a great employee, nominate them at uab.edu/humanresources.

In the spare time she must conjure from thin air, Walker also advances her personal mission through Birmingham College Bound, a program she helped create to nurture the college-going aspirations of students at Wilkerson Middle and summer campers at the downtown YMCA Youth Center. It’s an initiative she pursues on her own time, along with Paige and Jacquelyn Farasat, because she believes early intervention will have the greatest impact on high-school performance.

“I was that student in a school that was under-served and overlooked by colleges. It was a struggle. There were no resources to help me,” said Walker, who gives thanks for the “mentors and angels” who have helped along her way.

“That’s why I love giving back.”

“Jazmund has lived up to her great promise as an undergraduate and more recently has been a wonderful treasure for UAB to have on the front lines as a recruiter for the UAB Office of Admissions,” said Michael Sloane, director of UAB Honors Program, who helped recruit Walker to UAB as a student. “Jazmund is a talented individual and is committed to using her gifts to better the lives of those around her.”

I’m committed to changing the world, one community at a time,” Walker said. “And there’s still a lot of work to do.”