To say this Motivated Mama and I go back would be a HUGE understatement! I’ve known her my whole life. And while we’re not sisters, we’re the next best thing – cousins! She’s made huge strides and continues to chase her dreams. I am beyond proud of her! I can’t wait for you to learn more about her and the passion she “accidentally” stumbled into.
Camesha | Mama Motivator: Tell me about your passion.
Chaz | Smarty Stilettos: My passion is higher education. I’m currently pursing a PhD in higher education. My research interests are access, equity, and academic success for underrepresented students.
CMM: How did you discover your passion?
CSS: I would say accidentally on purpose. I accepted what I thought was a finance position in the financial aid department of an urban community college, not realizing that it would change my career path and my life. Interacting with students on campus became reminiscent of my own undergraduate college experiences. I was a first generation college student. Not only did theses students come from the same community as I did, they had similar backgrounds, stories, frustrations, goals, and victories. It was during this time that I decided that one of my goals was to become an advocate for underrepresented students.
CMM: Why is it important to you?
CSS: Research shows that higher education improves an individual’s quality of life and promotes self-efficacy. I want everyone to live up to his or her full potential and be the very best person that they can be. I think higher education provides that foundation. Also, it gives me joy and personal satisfaction to know that I am contributing to my community and becoming an agent of change.
CMM: As a mom, were there challenges in pursuing your passion?
CMM: If so, what were those challenges?
CSS: Work, Life, Balance! Working and attending school takes time away from your family. Even when you’re physically present, sometimes it’s difficult to fully engage when you have deadlines to meet.
CMM: How did you overcome your challenges/obstacles?
CSS: Per My Planner! I started planning out every second of the day. Also with the love, support, and encouragement of my family.
CMM: What do you think it does for your children to see you go after what you want?
CSS: I think that it motivates and inspires them. More importantly, I think it makes them proud. When I got accepted to my PhD program, my daughter sent out a tweet!
CMM : What would be your advice to other moms who are on the fence about pursuing something they are passionate about?
CSS: Do it! As moms we often put everyone else’s needs before our own. It’s important that we take time out for ourselves and do what makes us happy. Our happiness has an overarching affect on our family. When we’re happy they’re happy.
CMM: Now, here are a few questions just for fun. Most hated chore on the household chore list?
CSS: Washing Dishes!
CMM: Heels or flats
CSS: Smarty Stilettos
You can follow Chaz’s PhD journey on her blog, Twitter, Instagram + Facebook