Your home: Calera
Your hometown: Guntersville, Alabama
What is your profession? Director of recruitment at UM
What made you choose this profession? After I graduated from Montevallo, I worked in sales/advertising for a few years, but I didn’t enjoy it. I had previously worked as a student worker and orientation leader during my time at UM, so I reached out to the director at the time to see if he knew of anything that was available. The admissions office had an administrative assistant position available, so I applied and got the job. A few months later, UM opened its first-ever out-of-state admissions counselor position, so I applied and became a counselor! Since then, I’ve worked my way up to the coordinator of transfer recruitment and then the director of recruitment, scholarships and student engagement for The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and later became the associate director and then the interim executive director of admissions at Clayton State University in Atlanta. After only a few months of working as an admissions counselor, I knew I had found my calling. I love working with students and guiding them on their academic journey. Over time, and after working with different student populations, I also recognized a passion for providing access to higher education for our underserved populations.
How did Montevallo affect your career path? Montevallo, in one way or another, has positively affected several aspects of my life, including my career path. I’m in higher education because the director of admissions at the time took a chance on me. With almost every job I’ve gotten since then, there has been a situation of ‘someone knowing someone from Montevallo’ that created a connection and pathway for me. I knew that eventually I would also need a master’s degree for the director-level positions I was wanting. Seven years after I had finished my undergraduate degree, my communication studies mentors and professors, Drs. Ford and Hardig, were willing to write me recommendation letters to graduate school, which led to my admission to the program. That just doesn’t happen at other schools!
How did you know you belonged at Montevallo? When I was a senior in high school, I received an invitation to the College Night reception for prospective students. Even though I lived just a few hours away, I had never heard of Montevallo. I had applied to a couple of other schools but wasn’t excited about them. The moment I stepped into Palmer Hall, I knew. There was this magical, magnetic energy that you can’t explain unless you’ve experienced it for yourself (which, full circle moment — pun intended — is what I tell prospective students now).
What is your secret for success? The secret is being brave and doing the things that scare you. I’ve taken a lot of risks (personally and professionally) and it is terrifying, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. I’m definitely not the type of person to sit around and think, “what if.”
What makes alumni of UM unique? We are such a tight-knit group who not only have a passion for our alma mater, but for each other. I have friends from UM who graduated in the 80s and friends who graduated in the last couple of years. You see us all at an event or getting dinner at the Tavern, and it’s like we were all in school at the same time! It really is such a large, diverse network of the most incredible, kind, talented people.
What would you tell a prospective student who was considering UM? At Montevallo, you will be challenged yet supported in ways that you can’t even imagine. We have faculty who genuinely care about you and your success during your time at UM, but also after graduation. Here, faculty and staff become your biggest cheerleaders and eventually, your friends. You will also have a group of alumni who encourage you and become a network for you.
What are your thoughts about being back on the bricks? I am so excited to be back! Coming back to UM has always been a part of my long-term plan. I’ve worked at several different types of institutions in my almost decade-long career in higher education, and I can honestly say, there’s nothing like Montevallo. I feel so honored to be a part of this organization.