Over the last decade, I have dedicated my career to the field of higher education and helping others pursue their academic journeys. From issuing new student admissions to maintaining international student immigration records, I consciously view my small contribution to their lives as an honor. In these years I have seen how higher education is a stepping-stone that paves the way to a student’s future – a concept not lost on me in its gravity. While helping others achieve their academic goals, I slowly began to pursue my own bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. I love how this science explores the story of us, humans, not only throughout history but today in our diverse cultures and perfectly human behaviors. It is a science that connects harmoniously with my passion for writing and natural affinity for continued life-long education. I begin an online graduate program in natural resource management focused on ecological and environmental sustainability and restoration in August 2022 while continuing to build my career.

In my twenty years of professional experience, I have served diverse ethnic, racial, and socio-economic populations and often in their most vulnerable times of need. As a Family Support Specialist, it was my responsibility to supervise, record, and report on visitations between parents and their children after the children were removed from their homes due to perceived safety concerns. I taught parenting courses to individuals decades older than myself and had to navigate tact, reassurance, and firm advising during these sessions without faltering or judgment. Building relationships with these families was a core piece of my job and vitally important to establish buy-in from the parents so we could direct our focus on our main goal: family reunification. As a PSMAPP Trainer, my goals and clients switched to recruiting and training prospective foster parents while assisting with the licensing process. Many of our modules included topics of diversity, cultural differences, and building healthy children and relationships with their birth families, as well as modules regarding the neighboring Gila River Indian Community and Hopi tribal members and the separate laws which protect them and their communities. I achieved great success in these roles in the three years I served in them and have applied this practical experience to every role I’ve held since.

My current position as SEVIS Coordinator has bolstered my ability to interpret and apply government regulations in practical, everyday situations as they pertain to immigration law and visa status maintenance and compliance. Cutting through the legal jargon and applying these interpretations to the myriad of caveats and gray areas of my student and scholar populations is an everyday challenge that continues to grow my ability to not only interpret, but disseminate these regulations to others who have various levels of understanding and involvement. Most notably, communicating these regulations to second language learners who have little cultural and practical experience with American government policy and expectations. Navigating immigration-related policy and regulations has been a particular challenge over the last two years due to the ongoing pandemic, requiring not only an understanding of US regulations but the border policies of several other countries as well. Additionally, this position exposes me to thousands of individuals and their families who originate from wholly diverse backgrounds and cultures. My client populations originate from over 100 countries and their perspectives are as varied as their inquiries. Further, working in academia for the last decade has placed me at the forefront of linguistic and social changes to western culture as they relate to inter- and intra-personal relationships.

As SEVIS Coordinator, I am also subject to immovable federal deadlines for reporting purposes. These reports are submitted intermittently throughout the year including the submission of weekly, monthly, and semesterly reports. This requires intense project management and organizational skills to maintain the reporting schedule and ensure the required data is collected from thousands of students and reported to the federal government on time. Since my incumbency, I have helped our office achieve these deadlines ahead of schedule, often with weeks to spare.

In May 2022, I relocated to Rhode Island after accepting a position with BMFA at Brown University. As Faculty Actions Specialist, I facilitate faculty and affiliate recruitment by advising BioMed departments on searches, pre-selects, and targets of opportunities, assist with reappointments and promotions, process BioMed Tuition Aid Program applications in WorkDay, and identify system efficiencies while building out our internal training and external process manuals. This position also tackles special projects such as the BMFA website redesign which is nearing its completion upon submission, review, and approval by the BioMed Communications Office. This project requires a working knowledge of BMFA processes, the Division of BioMed’s standards and criteria, Brown University’s faculty handbook and an understanding of BMFA’s relationship to the departments it serves and our hospital affiliates to ensure the most up-to-date and accurate information is provided to our clients with special attention to detail for congruency between pages and subject matter. I was also charged with building out a portion of the website intended for Biology Departments and faculty which will be an ongoing process.

A key element to this position is flexibility and a willingness to cross-train with my colleagues and leadership to assist with coverage when necessary. Most recently, I was trained to provide coverage for BMFA’s Director in anticipation of her leave of absence including facilitating the creation and dissemination of tenure faculty hire term sheets, initiating background checks, requesting visual compliance checks for visa appointments, participating in the faculty merit process, facilitating faculty annual reviews, processing sabbatical requests, and conducting salary reviews for faculty and affiliates. Providing this coverage has instilled a deep appreciation within me for the work our Director does and the support and flexibility of our team as we navigated this Spring. In addition to this coverage, I am also actively training to temporarily take on several responsibilities of our Manager of Academic Affairs in anticipation of his departure from BMFA. These duties include facilitating meetings and preparing agendas for the Committee on Medical Faculty Appointments, disseminating ID cards for new house staff at our affiliated hospitals, and assisting with promotions letters over the course of the summer.

In the next year, my goal is to become more involved in the greater Brown campus by gaining membership on the President’s Staff Advisory Council where I will represent BMFA and the Division of BioMed. I also plan to enroll in the Leading From Where You Are program to develop my leadership skills and, once eligible, enroll in Brown’s Leadership Certificate Program.

Though change can be intimidating for some, it is in that change that we grow and develop best. I thrive in the challenges presented by change and am eager to address those challenges as we navigate a transformative world. Throughout the years I have had the opportunity to hone my natural gifts and acquire new skills including my ability to lead and mentor others; establish reporting processes; excel in data management and analysis; interpret government regulations and report to federal governing bodies; develop communication campaigns and templates for entire departments; discover and create system efficiencies; master office administration; serve as project leader, and explore public speaking. These may be my specialties now, but I am eager to see how they will grow and diversify throughout my future.

Although my experience and skills may not be a one-for-one analog of what you may be searching for, my foundations are strong. My technical skills coupled with my well-versed soft skills give me the right perspective, training, and approach for working with diverse clients, both internal and external. Whatever I do not know or do not have experience with, I will obtain and master quickly as is my nature. I wholly view the opportunities I pursue as strong steps forward in my career and place me in a field where we can work together with our communities to help conserve and build our cultural spaces while building pathways to cultural exchanges. My professional and academic training has made me keenly aware of personal biases and how they influence individuals allowing me to avoid such pitfalls as applying my lens to others as the standard. I know I have much left to learn, and that prospect excites me.

Please feel free to explore my portfolio and let me know if you have any questions. I appreciate your time and look forward to collaborating with you on defining and achieving your vision in the future.

Have a great day!

Jaymee Woolhiser

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