Success Story - Lauren Taylor
Success Story - Lauren Taylor
The End of One Journey = The Start of a New One
The road to graduation can be a long and arduous one, but it is one well worth the effort according Lauren Taylor, UCCS graduate and former Career Center student employee who recently earned her master’s degree in Counseling and Human Services and obtained licensure as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).
“When I started my graduate program, there were many challenges. I had a one-year old daughter, problems with scheduling that set me back a year and financial obligations that required me to work two and sometimes three jobs,” said Taylor.
“Overall it was not an easy road, but through the support of my program, my partner and some of my own counseling, I was able to create a balance, however hectic, that worked to get me through,” she said.
While her journey at UCCS has ended, another one has already begun.
“On June 1st, I will begin my new dream job with Peak Education (in Colorado Springs) as an Assistant Program Director where I will be serving students in North Middle, Manitou Middle and High schools,” said Taylor.
Taylor calls this position her dream job because in it she will be able to help students who are facing barriers to success, something she is clearly passionate about.
“I was a McNair Scholar and would have had no idea how to access higher education without the support of my scholarship. Peak Education, where I will be working, is similar in that we support low income, first generation students with career mentoring, internships, college application, scholarship guidance and general career readiness training,” she said.
“It is my hope that I will be able to encourage students to overcome systematic barriers to be successful,” she added.
To land her new job, Taylor took advantage of the available resources around her, on and off campus.
“My connections to Peak Education came from my experience in my internship and they were nurtured through the help of my colleagues at the Career Center. I consulted with them when I had questions about professional communication and resume edits. I even got my interview outfit from Clyde’s Closet!” she said.
Taylor, as both a new UCCS alum and now a former Career Center employee still has some good advice for other students to consider.
“Focus on relationships above all else and don’t be afraid to ask for help. For the longest time as a high achieving student, I felt I had to figure everything out on my own. It wasn’t until I started using the resources available to me that I really was able to thrive,” she said.
“As for relationships, people get people jobs. The best way to get into a field or advance is by connecting with people who already do the work, by being passionate and by asking questions. Lifelong learning and networking will get you so far,” she added.
“I loved my time at UCCS and will never forget the new counselors I led in our labs and the students I worked with in the Career Center who came in frantic, overwhelmed and frustrated. It was so rewarding to see them leave calm and collected with a plan. I loved listening to them closely, understanding their goals and then working with them to develop clear steps to reach those goals. I felt like a superhero whose power is career planning,” said Taylor.
With graduation behind her and new job in front of her, Taylor plans to ultimately become a licensed professor counselor so she can also work in clinical settings.
“My future is driven by my passion to help those who don’t know how to be successful. So often people fall through the cracks and if I can help just one student break a cycle of poverty and desperation to be independent and thrive, I will have lived out my dreams,” she said.
Article written by Janet Farley, UCCS Career Center