Ashley Shepherd, ’15
UPC Special Programs Coordinator & Movie Coordinator, 2013 – 2015
What was your fondest memory at UPC?
The J Cole concert. It was a really interesting opportunity for UNT, but also UPC specifically. It was amazing to work with a team that collaborated well and it was a rewarding experience.
What was your favorite project or assignment?
As Special Programs Coordinator, I had the opportunity to come up with new things that UNT hadn’t done before. One of them was the dog therapy. We created a stand-alone event that got a lot of attention around UNT. Today, I’ll see that UNT is still doing it. Another fun one was the Fear Factor challenge. We even bought worms and all these crazy things. It was cool to see people get together for that.
What would you say had the greatest impact on you at UPC?
I’d say overall, professional development. I also gained life-long friendships. I met so many amazing leaders who guided me and made an impact on my development and success. When looking for jobs, I made sure to look for bosses who had the same qualities. I’ve found that in my current job.
Where did you go after graduating?
I was job seeking and traveling to see family. I started my career in August that year at a non-profit organization. I’m still there. I’m the Economic Opportunity Coordinator. The organization I work at is a community development agency that serves half a million people every year through various programs. I work on a small business development program, specifically serving immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrant business owners. I joined when that position was built so I’ve helped it grow. I also became a licensed social worker in September of 2016, and I’ve been very active in social working and non-profit management. I serve as a trustee for the Texas National Association for Social Workers, the committee for political action. So…I overwork myself.
What would you say is your favorite thing about your job?
I went into the job because I figured it would be rewarding. I feel like I am impacting my community. Every day I wake up, I know that I am helping someone, no matter what it is. Even though I am behind the scenes, but I do see how we are serving so many people and it’s great. I think that’s what I like about it. I also like that it’s a flexible profession. I love being a social worker.
How would you say that your time at UPC prepared you for your current job?
It prepared me a lot! It prepared me in my growth and professional development, but it also prepped me for what working anywhere would be like. I learned how to work as a team, set goals, communicating with people, budget tracking, and even the small things like how to email people properly. Everything I learned from UPC I still apply to my current roles. I feel organized and creative in my job.
What’s one thing you miss about UNT?
I really miss being close to my friends. They’re like family to me. I only see them a few times a year now, but I miss being able to call them up and just study or go out or see each other like that. I miss being close to everyone there.
What advice do you have for current students?
Really take the time to build your network. Networking and having strong connections will get you pretty far after you graduate. Don’t be afraid to call people and keep up with them. Find a mentor to help guide you. If you don’t have a job right out of college, it’s good to have a network and mentor to help you find your way. Get some professional experience before you graduate too.
If you could be an animal, which would you be?
A lion, because I want to be a little bit more assertive.
What’s something you could not live without?
What is on your music playlist?
At the moment, I can’t stop listening to Miguel’s album. I listen to a lot of classical music and am obsessed with a Call Me By Your Name soundtrack.
What is your favorite color?
What can you not leave the house without?
If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?
Honestly, I wish I could help people be more empathetic and caring.