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Educational Leadership

Briana Stansbury

Institution: Portland Community College

Title: Coordinator Women’s Resource Center


1. What are you doing now?

A year ago this month I applied for a position at Portland Community College based off of a tip from a few folks in the SAA program about an un-posted job opening up in the Multicultural Center (MC). The position reaffirmed a lot of the work I had been lucky enough to do as a graduate assistant in the Department of Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement at Lewis & Clark. It was a position that focused on the facilitation of a 3- person student staff team.

Since accepting the position in the Multicultural Center at Portland Community College as a program specialist, I’ve moved on to work as the interim Assistant Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center and now the permanent Assistant Coordinator. In my position I oversee a robust 6-person student leadership team, assist with a transitions program for students returning to college, participate in confidential and privileged advocacy with survivors of intimate partner violence, coordinate a program called the Black Women’s Empowerment League, and work with a strong district team to standardize our praxis across the multiple PCC campuses.

2. What did you gain from the program?

One of the strengths of the Student Affairs Administration program is its ability to pair graduate students with paid opportunities to work on the undergraduate campus. During my tenure at Lewis & Clark, I had the acute opportunity to work with some truly incredible change makers in the field and brilliant students. This pairing allows students in the program to take theory they learn in classes and put it to direct action in praxis. Working in the Department of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement was one of the most pivotal experiences in my career.

I also had the opportunity to work an 150 hour practicum at Portland State University’s Women’s Resource Center. During this practicum I was honored to work with incredible practitioners who dedicated themselves to embedding intersectional feminism into the systems the create institutions of higher learning and into all facets of the work that they do. There I also became a confidential advocate in the state of Oregon and began engaging in advocacy with students.

3. What was your most memorable moment from the classroom?

During a course about governance in higher education taught by Associate Vice Provost Mark Figueroa, he pressed the class to think outside of the box while constructing our final papers. Dr. Figueroa is quite a music fan and we would often engage in lengthy conversations about music. I decided to write my paper on how Beyoncé’s song Formation could be used to describe transformational leadership and quantum paradigm. Not only was this one of the best assignments I’d ever been able to engage in, but it was also a really wonderful testament to an educational setting that allows students to be wholly themselves when engaging in work.

4. How do you plan on using what you learned from the SAA Program?

I use what I learned from the program daily! Whether I’m engaging in critical conversation, delving deeper into a potential program, organizing floating parts, or operating on a team – I learned so much during my tenure as a graduate student that helps me in my role now.