Deandra Binder: Presentations of Impact 2020

Deandra Binder: Presentations of Impact 2020

It was January 2019 and I was beginning a new semester at Pima Community College to study Business Administration and working full time at a grocery store. I was thinking about where the next year would take me and I honestly had no idea. That same month, I received an email from my professor sharing an internship opportunity with Public Allies Arizona. I had never heard of Public Allies before, but once I looked into the organization, I could tell it was something special and powerful. I joined Public Allies to engage with my community and define my own assets so I could give back in a meaningful way.

I think it was perfect that I matched for a position at Pima because as a student, it gave me the opportunity to not only share my thoughts from a student perspective, but to learn firsthand how Pima listens to feedback from students and faculty and communicates solutions. This allowed me a position to help other students by connecting them with various departments and streamlining feedback to Pima staff. I was excited to learn about how a nonprofit like Pima could use outreach beyond their demographic of students to show up for our community.

While serving with Pima, I worked with the External Relations team and Admissions & Recruitment. As the months progressed, I noticed that a lot of the work they do combine to mutually benefit current and prospective students. Initially, I focused on volunteer outreach and started to help the college build a structural training for anyone who wanted to volunteer with the college during outreach events. This included creating guidelines to teach volunteers information about the college and what expectations there are while representing Pima. Even though the pandemic created setbacks, the guidelines can still be implemented for virtual events as well.

When we were still able to work in person, I got a few chances to attend “tabling” events at different high schools with the recruiters. This helped me to learn the application process and share information about financial aid, scholarships, and all the programs the college offers. Believe it or not, I was super intimidated to be speaking to high school students (since I graduated in 2012 I don’t exactly know high school anymore) but this gave me an opportunity to grow confident in my ability to represent Pima and share my own experiences as a student.

Ever since going virtual, Pima has gone above and beyond to provide virtual support for students and help make the transition as smooth as possible by using social media marketing to share important resources and information with students. I was glad to be able to collaborate on Instagram Live sessions where featured staff and faculty answered Q&A live for students. I helped create a series of Google Form surveys so External Relations could track students input and answer questions directly through provided contact information. I also tracked inquiries from the PimaOnline program and referred individuals to points of contact for the area of study they chose. This was the first time I had contributed data and reflected on feedback and also was able to directly impact many people in one day. Virtual communication can still be very valuable if done in the right way and building this connection with students is essential.

I have definitely grown into a different person from the experiences of the last 10 months. I feel more confident in my collaboration abilities. This experience has given me the opportunity to gain professional experience while also solidifying skills in how to link effective communication with mindfulness and by working together with new perspectives.