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Embarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. This series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and staff and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know your Graduate School leaders/staff on a deeper level.

Q: Why did you accept this position within the Graduate School?

A. "When I first began my academic journey, I never even imagined that graduate education was something that I could attain. If I’m being honest, I probably felt that way up until my master's degree had been conferred. I accepted this position within the graduate school to not only help demonstrate to people that graduate education is a possibility for them, but to also be able to help support them throughout the process. This position allows me to work with graduate populations at every step of their journey, from inquiry to graduation."

Q: What is your educational/career background?

A. "My undergraduate education is in business with a human resource focus and my master's degree is in education (instructional design and development). I’ve had the privilege of working all across higher education. I’ve worked in student support services in a multitude of ways (admissions, orientation, housing, academic support, etc.), been a credentialed course instructor, and have had the opportunity to work in faculty support facing roles such as the Center for Teaching and Learning and Quality Enhancement Plan."

Q: How long have you been in this role? What are your specific responsibilities?

A. "I have a multiple faceted role in the grad school. I support the Associate Dean for all things recruitment, retention, and diversity, including coordinate the administrative functions of Blazer Fellows. I also assist with admissions processing of our accelerated learning opportunities and manage the recruitment, onboarding, and day to day operations of PREP Scholars."

Q. What drew you to this particular area of work?

A. "This work is personal for me. I believe that everyone is capable of attaining higher education. As a student and a professional, I realized that a support system was one of the greatest drivers of student success. I’m determined to be that for as many people as I can."

Q: Can you talk about your own approach to teaching and how it has or has not informed your work in your current Graduate School position?

A. "I believe that teaching should be an exchange between the teacher and learner. I believe that my role as a teacher is that of a collaborator in the student’s learning experience. So whether it’s in the classroom or support roles, my job is to help students navigate their way through their own academic journeys. My role is not to dictate the journey but to help navigate.”

Q: If you were talking with a group of incoming UAB students, what would you most want them to know about you and your hopes for their experience at the Graduate School?

A. "That much like Hogwarts, help will always be given to those who ask for it. There as so many people here that are excited and even consider it an honor to pour into students.""

Q: What influences have shaped you?

A. "I have had the privilege of being the beneficiary of some of the greatest personal and professional relationships ever. I have so many people in my life that have taken me under their wings and just allowed me to grow and learn."

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

A. "I have two very polarizing answers. I love nothing more than to host those that I care about in my home. I enjoy seeing my people fed, relaxed and having a good time. The other side of that is that I also very much love when everyone has gone home and I can sit alone with just my thoughts. The two are equally enjoyable for me."

Q: Tell me a bit about your family.

A. "While I don’t have any children of my own, I am everyone’s favorite uncle or Godparent. I have 2 nieces, 3 nephews, and 2 Godchildren."

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