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The Full Story

Why I Chose Higher Education

The overarching reason I chose to study Higher Education Administration is because of my enthusiasm for learning and attaining equality for all students. Student affairs administrators have a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with students and create an environment of inclusivity and belonging especially regarding implementing inclusive policies.  I believe it is my responsibility as a higher education professional to advocate for inclusive housing policies, equity in student income, access to food pantries, and inclusive counseling services on campus. 


My Mentor

Throughout my professional career as a higher education professional, my mentor, Beth, has pushed me to be the most successful version of myself. My mentor influenced me to pursue a master's degree program specializing in social justice and focusing on educational equity

My Vision

I hope to serve as a higher education leader by enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within institutions of higher education. Upon the completion of my master’s education, I intend to apply to Ph.D. programs specializing in higher educational leadership, policy, and social justice.

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Professional Competency Areas of Focus

The following are the three areas within which I intend to develop my competence as a higher education professional focused on higher education social justice, advocacy of wellness, and belonging. These competencies are based on the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas of Focus:

Student Learning and Development:

This competency area will assist me in improving and informing my practice of student affairs by applying learning theory. I hope to become a adjunct professor later in my career, and these competencies will aid me in learning about student development. 

  • Short-Term Actions:

    • Articulate how race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, dis/ability, and religious belief can influence
      development during the college years.

    • Design programs and services to promote student learning and development that are based on current research on student learning and development theories.

    • Identify and take advantage of opportunities for curriculum and program development to encourage continual learning and developmental growth. 

  • Long-Term Actions: 

    • Build and support inclusive, socially-just, and welcoming campus communities that promote deep learning and foster student success.

    • Provide alternative models that explore student learning and development from an inclusive paradigm.

    • Identify staff members’ level of competency regarding the ability to apply learning and development theory to practice, and create professional development opportunities utilizing various learning concepts.

  • Relevant Courses I Have Taken:

    • EAC 540: Foundations Higher Education Student Affairs

    • EAC 543: Student Development Theory

    • EAC 542: Student Characteristics 

  • Books I Have Read:

    • ​Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice by Lori D. Patton, et al.

    • Rethinking College Student Development Theory Using Critical Frameworks by Elisa S. Abes, et al.

  • Books I Want To Read:

    • Case Studies for Student Development Theory: Advancing Social Justice and Inclusion in Higher Education by Jason C. Garvey, et al. ​

Social Justice and Inclusion:

In this competency area, I will enhance my awareness of my own agency, as well as how my social responsibility extends to others, my community, and the broader global context.

  • Short-Term Actions: 

    • Engage in critical reflection in order to identify
      one’s own prejudices and biases.

    • Participate in activities that assess and
      complicate one’s understanding of inclusion,
      oppression, privilege, and power.

    • Connect and build meaningful relationships
      with others while recognizing the multiple,
      intersecting identities, perspectives, and
      developmental differences people hold.

    • Design programs and events that are
      inclusive, promote social consciousness and
      challenge current institutional, national, global,
      and sociopolitical systems of oppression.

  • Long-Term Actions: 

    • Effectively address bias incidents impacting
      campus communities.

    • Provide opportunities for inclusive and social
      justice educational professional development.

    • Implement appropriate measures to assess
      the campus climate for students, staff, and

    • Assess the effectiveness of the institution in
      removing barriers to addressing issues of
      social justice and inclusion. 

    • Advocate for social justice values in
      institutional mission, goals, and programs.

  • Relevant Courses I Have Taken:

    • EAC 595: Diversity in Higher Education 

    • EAC 595: College Student Outcomes 

    • AEHS 533: Complex Family Issues

  • Books I Have Read:

    • Trans In College by  Z. Nicolazzo

  • Books I Want to Read: 

    • Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.​

    • White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

    • Real Queer America by Samantha Allen 

    • Gender Diversity and Non-Binary Inclusion in the Workplace by Sarah Gibson

    • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

    • Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender by Dr. Kit Heyam

    • Affirming LGBTQ+ Students in Higher Education by Dr. David P. Rivera, et al.

    •  Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality by Kim Cosier, et al. 

Advising and Supporting:

As part of this competency area, I will have the opportunity to develop advising and supporting strategies that take into account self-knowledge and the needs of others. To advance the holistic wellness of myself, my students, and my colleagues. 

  • Short-Term Actions: 

    • Exhibit culturally inclusive active listening skills.

    • Establish rapport with students, groups, colleagues, and others that acknowledges differences in lived experiences.

    • Facilitate reflection to make meaning from experiences with students, groups, colleagues, and others. 

    • Assess the developmental needs of students and organizational needs of student groups. 

    • Identify patterns of behavior that may signal mental health or other wellness concerns.

    • Seek opportunities to expand one’s own knowledge and skills in helping students with specific concerns (e.g., relationship issues, navigating systems of oppression, or suicidality) as well as interfacing with specific populations within the college student environment (e.g., student veterans, low-income students, etc.).

  • Long-Term Actions: 

    • Engage in research and publication of holistic student wellness issues.

      • Apply to PhD programs.

    • Collaborate with other campus departments and organizations as well as surrounding community agencies and other institutions of higher education to address students’ holistic wellness needs in a comprehensive, collaborative way.​

  • Relevant Courses I Have Taken: 

    • EAC 543: Student Development Theory​

    • AEHS 533: Complex Family Issues

    • EAC 892: Doctoral Research Project

  • Books I Have Read: 

    • ​The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Academic Advising by Pat Folsom, et al. 

  • Books I Want to Read: 

    • ​Advising Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer College Students by Craig M. McGill, and Jennifer Joslin

    • Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides by Geoffrey L. Cohen


ACPA & NASPA. (2015). Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators. NASPA, 1-40.

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Open Book

Research Interests

It is my interest to conduct research to reduce discrimination and harassment faced by Transgender and LGBTQ+ students within all higher education institutions. In my research, I have focused on wellbeing and belonging as it relates to gender minority students. The goal of my research is to further my understanding of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how it relates to belonging and gender minorities on campus in hopes of advancing my education to a Ph.D. program in equal opportunity and justice. As part of this opportunity, I plan to contribute written research that illustrates how the political climate and socioeconomic status of today affect the unique needs of gender minority students.

Practitioner Areas of Interest

My scholarly area of interest is wellbeing and belonging on a college campus as it relates to gender minority individuals. I plan to conduct research to explore how gender minority individuals experience wellbeing and belonging on college campuses. I will also analyze existing literature and policies to assess how colleges can better support gender minority individuals. The purpose of my research is to examine the effects of homelessness and food insecurities on gender diverse students. I will also explore the mental health of gender diverse students, including access to mental health services. Additionally, I will look into how gender diverse students feel about their experiences on campus, including discrimination and support. Finally, I will recommend strategies to improve campus climate and sense of belonging as it relates to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

My Practitioner areas of interest include becoming a college administrator that specializes in student services that supports overall wellbeing. I want to be an advocate and resource for students, providing guidance and support to help them succeed academically and socially. I strive to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. I also want to help create opportunities for students to develop and grow. I have a passion for helping students reach their full potential, and I believe that creating a positive and supportive environment is key to their success. I believe that I can create the type of environment that will foster growth and success for students.

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