(ROSENBERG, Texas) - Tamara Lair is a first-generation college student who faced many uncertainties and roadblocks throughout her educational journey. Now, as an enrollment coach at Texas State Technical College, she is working to remove some of those barriers for her students.
“I had no know-how on college or the processes,” said the Houston native. “I was expected to go to college, which was the plan, so I had to navigate the journey alone.”
The 41-year-old said she remembers not knowing what she wanted to be when she grew up. All she knew was that she wanted a career in which she could help people.
“My strength is helping others and being there when someone is in need, which is what my degree has allowed me to do,” she said. “It’s just taken some reflection and soul-searching.”
Lair holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston.
She also worked in the work-study program at the university and said that is where her interest in working in higher education came to be.
With her degree, she has been able to work for Meals on Wheels, as an academic advisor for the University of Houston–Victoria, and for an area high school.
“I found I loved helping students get to college or through college,” she said. “To see students you’ve advised and helped persevere is the best feeling.”
And because she worked at a high school before TSTC and was ready to re-enter the higher education arena, she immediately applied when TSTC’s enrollment coach position became available.
“TSTC was really meant to be,” said Lair. “I’ve always been a huge advocate of two-year technical degrees, so I knew this was where I was supposed to be.”
Lair said her goals at TSTC are simple: Connect with students to earn their trust, find the program that best fits their strengths, share her educational journey so that students can see that success is possible, and give students the resources they need to become college graduates with a great-paying career.
“I will do whatever I can in my power to ensure that every student has what he/she needs to be successful,” said Lair. “And it’s so rewarding when I have students return to campus or call me just to say thank you. All I’ve ever wanted is to make a difference in someone’s life.”
To better serve her students, Lair said she is working toward becoming a certified life coach and earning a master’s degree in counseling.
“I feel that holding these two things will allow me to serve students on a broader level,” said Lair. “Students sometimes not only need academic advising, but they also need someone to talk to regarding difficult life situations. And I want to be the person they can come to.”
Lair, who has been with TSTC for nearly a year, said the college is a great place to work because its faculty and staff statewide have become a second family to her and they work toward the same goal: student success.
For more information on TSTC and its programs, visithttps://tstc.edu/programs.
To see job opportunities at TSTC, visithttps://jobs.tstc.edu.