Hi there, please tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you like to do for fun?
I am a mixed race (Asian + White), non-binary Xennial, born and raised in Los Angeles. Partner and Parent. Taurus with Scorpio rising and Sagittarius moon. I like redwood forests, tide pools, deserts, art supplies, and farmer's markets.
Can you tell us what you do as a Director, Enrollment Management at UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture for those who are unfamiliar?
Enrollment management is a series of organizational strategies and influences in higher education, around shaping and building a student community that also addresses institutional goals in a sustainable, equitable manner. Outreach, recruitment, admission, financial aid, data analysis, information technology, curriculum, career education, and development are all areas that I interact with in my position, and the range of responsibilities means that I always have multiple plates in the air, and I'm never ever bored.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
Everyone who works in enrollment management, got into it by accident ;) After all, it's not a college major or a career that gets a lot of visibility, yet is so critical within higher education. I started out in higher ed by volunteering for admission activities when I was an undergraduate, and was hired full time after I graduated. As a new grad, it was great to have a job where I could travel and talk to students about going to college, and have health insurance!
Everything else I learned on the job: I cultivated my career in a small office so was introduced to a lot of responsibilities early on. When I started handling budget and data analysis, I was surprised to find that I was good at analyzing and telling statistics stories. Honestly, if you had told me when I was 16 and flunking algebra, that one day I'd be preparing and communicating statistics for a tier one research institution, I would have laughed like a drain.
What programs & tools do you use everyday for work? What do you like/dislike about these programs?
Trello and Slack for project management. Microsoft Suite, Google Drive, and Box for information organization, sharing, and storage. And let us not forget ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
Know your enemy: actively develop yourself to be anti-racist and center the experiences of people who have been historically and systematically excluded from higher education and professional spaces in general. There are powerful forces in the world that want a deprived, desperate, and easily controlled populace, and that we all need to speak truth to that power.
What are some must-have resources or skills you would recommend for your industry?
BOOK: My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem. As someone who works with students and their families, being a mindful cultural navigator is daily practice.
PODCASTS: Higher Ed Happy Hour which is a bunch of journalists and policy wonks drinking and knowing things, and Off The Cuff which is hosted by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Everyone should be interested in higher ed finance, beings that student loan debt is crippling the entire country.
WEBSITE: This is extreme enrollment management stanning but Jon Boeckenstedt, the VP of Enrollment Management at Oregon State, is a singular HE communicator and never misses an opportunity to talk smack. Want to know why standardized testing is bullshit? Read this.
ESSAY: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, by Walter Benjamin. Written in the 1930s and still an evergreen meditation on artistic aura, cultural authority, and mass production of aesthetics.
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
Curiosity. Detachment. A sense of humor that bounces between great compassion and pure snark.
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
Working at a high profile, heavily politicized public flagship university is a welcome challenge; the responsibility to provide educational access to the people of my home state is meaningful to me. So is working with artists and their big personalities.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
All those people telling you that you're no fun, are wrong.
Best advice you've received/heard?
"Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” -Bruce Lee.
Also, "When you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME." - Jerry Belson, writer/director/producer, who heard the quote from his typewriter repair teacher