Behind the Resume #63 – Ciera Graham

Ciera Graham new employee photo

What is your title at EvCC, and what will you be doing in your day-to-day endeavors at the College?
My title is the Director of the EvCC East County Campus. My priorities as a Director include increasing enrollment, expanding program and degree options, enhancing the student experience, building sustainable community relations and supporting faculty and staff at East County so they can do their jobs and support students to the best of their ability.

Tell us a little about your professional background.
I obtained my PhD in Sociology at the University of Cincinnati in August 2015. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Washington State University in May of 2008 and 2010 respectively. I have over six years of experience in student affairs, program management, supervision, career counseling/advising, diversity/cultural programming. Moreover, I also have three years of teaching experience (high school and undergraduate); serving as an instructor for Sociology courses, and a Life Skills instructor for the Upward Bound Program. My past position involved serving as the Associate Director of Student Affairs at WSU Everett, where I managed 8 different student affair functional areas independently. A few of my accomplishments in this position include creating the first ever student food pantry, the society of women engineers student organization, and our CARE (Crisis, Assessment, Response and Education) team.
I am the inaugural awardee of the University of Cincinnati Arts & Science Young Alumni Award, and I was featured in the Women of Student Affairs (WISA) Phenomenal Friday –an organization devoted to recognizing women in student affairs who have made accomplishments to advance student success.

Ciera with cousin in lifejackets
Parasailing in South Beach Miami (with my cousin) – June 2018

What was your most memorable job? Why?
It wasn’t a job per se, but it was memorable. I was a volunteer at a library in Rainier Beach, WA when I was 14. I cleaned shelves, and restocked books. It wasn’t the most glorious job, but it really helped me understand the value of hard and honest work, and the important role that libraries play in improving literacy in low income underserved communities.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I had my first day on Feb 1st, so as of now my days will involve lots of learning from staff and faculty, meeting with key main campus and community partners, and getting to know the East County student experience. I can imagine that a typical day would involve meetings, working on projects and strategic planning, and making sure I am visible and present to those I support.

Describe yourself at 12 years old.
A self-proclaimed diva with a lot of attitude. I loved hanging out with my friends and living a pretty care-free life. I had braces and wore glasses. I was ambitious, but still very much guarded and introverted. I was excited to turn 16 so I could get my own job and buy my own school clothes. One thing that hasn’t changed since I was 12 is that I am still very much future-oriented. I’m always thinking about future possibilities.

Ciera with significant other in front of snow-covered trees
Hurricane Ridge with my significant other (Spencer Graves) – February 2018

What is your favorite meal/ snack in winter? Favorite winter beverage?
I love raspberry white chocolate mochas and chocolate peanut butter cookies.

What would be the title of your autobiography?
The resilient unicorn or Black Girl Magic. I can’t choose one.

What is the first concert you attended?
I was late to the concert scene, but the first concert I actually enjoyed was Beyonce and Jay Z On the Run, last October 2018.

What is a defining moment in your life?
It would probably be my dissertation defense, and when I officially became Doctor Graham. My parents flew from Seattle to Ohio to witness my dissertation defense. As two working class parents who ensured their kids had everything they needed, it meant a lot for them to see this momentous event even if they didn’t quite understand it. My parents made a lot of sacrifices to send me to a private high school, and to later attend college. I always felt that my success was a way to show them how I was grateful and appreciative of their wonderful parenting. I remember right after my dissertation committee deliberated, they came out to a room with my mom, my dad and announced, I was officially Dr. Graham. I looked at my mom, and tears ran down her face. I cried, as well.

What are you reading right now/ what was the last book you read? Are you participating in any reading challenges? The last book I read was Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. I am currently reading Crystal Fleming’s book, How to be less Stupid about Race. I am not participating in any formal reading challenges, but my goal has always been to read more for pleasure and less out of obligation.

What one food do you wish had zero calories?
Pecan Pie with whipped cream—made by my mama, of course.

Where is your hometown? Were you born and raised in the same place?
Tukwila, WA. Yes, I was born and raised here.

Ciera zip-lining in Leavenworth, WA
Zip Line in Leavenworth – August 2018

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still at East County contributing to a growing and formidable campus, supporting more staff and faculty, and engaging with a community members. I very much want to be a part of the longevity of this campus.

What do you like to do on your days off?
Cook, shop, workout, spend time with friends, family and my significant other. Oh, and I love paint projects.

Do you have a favorite quote/ piece of advice?
My favorite quote will always be from Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I always aim to make powerful and long lasting impressions on anyone I meet.