Soaring Beyond: Desiree Johnson

MEET DESIREE! She graduated with a Master of Science in Learning Technology with a concentration in Workforce Leadership in August 2020. She currently works as the Assistant to the Dean at the University of Texas – Dallas.  

When you started at UNT, what were your plans after graduation? How have these plans changed (if at all)?  When I began my studies at UNT my plan was to be a Director of a Non-Profit organization, I received my undergraduate degree from UNT as well in Public Affairs and Community Service.  My current position as Assistant to the Dean allows me to get hands-on experience in executive meetings, managing multiple calendars, working with sponsors, build my network, and experience the business processes.  

What advice do you have for prospective or current students as they decide what they want their next steps to be? I would utilize every opportunity possible. I was not fortunate nor required to participate in an internship, but it is a great way to gain experience and build your network. That being said, your networking skills will get you farther than you ever thought possible. Some of the most successful people are in their positions because of the people they knew.  

How did your program UNT help you to feel prepared for this role? My chosen program focused on project management and the inclusion of technology in education. For those in my field the virus has helped us to stand out from others because, at a time where most people are not efficient with business/educational software, we exceed the expectation. I am currently training members of my staff to use the different apps that Microsoft Teams has to offer, as well as assisting other departments with optional learning technologies available to aid our students during this pandemic.  

 How did you find your current role? I found my current position through word of mouth and the University website. A few individuals in my network had spoken highly of this institution, so I was curious to see what positions they had available.  

What was the most challenging interview question they asked you? The most challenging interview question I was asked is what is my leadership style.  I’ve always known I was a leader and aspired to be in those roles, but I didn’t take the time to translate my usual actions into words. I had to take a moment to reflect and articulate the actions that I would usually show in a work setting.  

How did the Career Center help you? The Career Center helped me to create and perfect my resume, practice interviewing, and work on my networking skills through their many workshops. They also hold multiple annual Career Fairs for most fields, and even if you aren’t in that particular field you are able to use that time as a chance to practice the skills you have learned. They offer a job shadowing program that allows you to get a real-life physical example of the job you plan to pursue. The career coaches are a knowledgeable source that is always willing to help. And once you land that dream job interview, they have private soundproof interview rooms you can use for FREE. The best thing I could have done was walk through those doors willing to get the help I deserved.  

Would you like to be featured in our Soaring Beyond Success Series? Submit your story here and email Jeanette Hickl. We’d love to share your story!

By Jeanette Hickl
Jeanette Hickl