I have spent much of the last decade—the last 12 years, actually—working for the educational outreach organization Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math-Science at UC Berkeley. Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math-Science are federally funded educational outreach programs that work with over 150 low-income, first-generation to college students from select high schools in California, Nevada and Hawaii. I started off working for these programs as a tutor, became a summer instructor, and eventually dropped out of my Ph.D. program at USC so I could return to Berkeley and become an “Academic Specialist”—a position whose description is rather nebulous, but involves offering support Upward Bound students as they reach the later stages of our program, as well as organizing and facilitating the classes and workshops that our students attend.
Besides being an experienced (and devoted) educator (see above picture of my students and I doing our best zombie impressions), I am very dedicated to the missions of educational programs who seek to affect positive social change by remedying the systemic inequities inherent in our educational system. The main duties with Upward Bound are listed in my resume. Roughly, I track the academic success of students in the Upward Bound program and, once they reach their junior year of high school, I start the process of preparing them to apply to (and attend) college.
That is a rough description of what I do. There’s actually a lot more to it than that. I have a key role in organizing the program’s summer residential program. I also have a host of techie (and technical) responsibilities, which include supporting data collection for our annual performance review, producing the student handbook, working as informal tech support, editing official program documentation, … the list goes on.