Welcome to my Wednesday blog series exploring women’s careers, interests, and roles. Within this series, I will explore how women of all ages, in all phases of their lives make choices for themselves, their careers, their families, and their time, in general.
My first profile features an interview with Rebecca Woskoff. I met Rebecca just a month ago at the annual holiday party for 20-30 Something Raleigh Chicks, a meetup group I’ve been organizing for 6 years now. I’m always amazed how I continue to meet new fascinating women of all backgrounds. Rebecca instantly intrigued me and I found her easy to talk to.
Originally from New York, Rebecca moved to North Carolina last summer, from Florida, to work as a TRiO Student Support Services STEM Academic Coach at NC State University. The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Education has long been a passion of Rebecca’s, leading her to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Secondary Education Certification at Albright College, in Pennsylvania, to her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration & Student Personnel at Kent State University, in Ohio. Learn more about her story below.
- What did you want to be when you grew up and how has that evolved, Rebecca?
I always wanted to be a teacher. I used to create my own seating charts and grammar textbooks…I was really into it. That was the path I took in college, but once I graduated, I decided to move towards working with college students. I am still working within education, but more in an advising capacity than teaching.
- What do you do in your “day job” and why have you chosen that?
I get to impact students every day in my job. I work with a grant program at a University that serves students who are low-income and/or first-generation college students. Through my role as an academic coach, I meet one on one with students to help them achieve their goals as well as contribute to programming that allows our students to develop holistically and gain life skills.
- How happy have you been with your choices, thus far?
I am very happy with where my choices have led me. It was by no means a straight path, but it is one that makes sense to me.
- What is your passion and why is it important to you?
My passion is providing access to education for all students regardless of income level or family background. I want to help every student be successful and find their own passion in this world. Life is so much better when you can chase your dream, but the first step is discovering what that dream is. This is what I strive to do everyday — allow others to realize their potential and discover their dreams!
- What do you devote your time to outside of work?
I love clearing my head through working out. I enjoy running outdoors and swimming. I also love to explore new areas and restaurants. When I have time, I enjoy trying out a new recipe!
- How do you feel most inspired?
I find people inspiring. It is people’s stories and getting to know the amazing things that others have accomplished which inspires me to continue to strive for more.
- What causes and organizations would you say that are you most passionate about?
I am very passionate about education and access to education. I also am a trained Gallup Strengths Coach. I think that Strengths has the potential to change the lives of individuals by helping them to discover how they can become their best selves.
- Throughout all of your experiences, who do you most look up to personally or professionally?
My mother has been the most influential person for me in terms of personally and professionally. She is a determined and hardworking individual who has created so much change and transformation within her organization. She is a woman who is never afraid to step down when it comes to sticking to her morals and ethics. Aside from her professional life, my mom always made time for her family and shows kindness to all she meets. I could only hope to live up to what she has accomplished in her career, as well as personally.
- What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced personally and/or professionally?
As a young professional, I have faced the challenge of choosing between my career and personal life which is a hard decision to make. My career and building my professional portfolio is very important to me-it allows me to feel fulfilled, but having balance is important. For my career, I have moved a lot which can be exciting and offer new opportunity, but personally it gets harder every time trying to develop connections and friendships all over again. Having a community and a supportive group of people is so important to me so it is a huge challenge every time that I move to develop one, but that is part of the challenge of following your dreams.
- Last one, what’s the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?
- Best Advice: My mom always told me that you are the only one who can make yourself happy in life.
- Worst Advice: “Go for the money!” I think a lot of people make decisions based upon money, but in the end, that is never what makes you happy. And, if I am not happy, then what’s the point?
Connect with Rebecca on LinkedIn to learn more about her work in academics.
Thanks for reading Rebecca’s story. Share in the comments how it impacted you or share it on social media. Check our next week’s weekly post on Women & the Ways We Work. Know someone you think should be featured? Contact me and let’s chat.
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