Staff Spotlight: Development Coordinator Helps Alumni Feel at Home - University of Houston
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Staff Spotlight: Development Coordinator Helps Alumni Feel at Home

After years of working in the airline industry, Geralyn Stevens switched careers and joined the College of Education in December 2019.

Posted May 4, 2021 — After graduating near the top of her class in high school, Geralyn Stevens had many opportunities for college. A Galveston native, she decided on the University of Houston.

“I just felt at home when I got on campus,” she said.

With a B.A. in marketing from the UH Bauer College of Business, Stevens joined the College of Education in December 2019 as the development coordinator. She serves as the liaison to alumni, supports fundraising and engages students — helping fellow Coogs feel as connected to UH as she does.

“While they’ve moved into the workforce, we want alumni to remain active and continue to make the College better for the students that follow,” she said. “I make sure to present UH and the College in such a light that people feel at home — feeling what I’ve always felt.”

Stevens is also working to rebuild the College’s Alumni Board. In addition, she oversees the student scholarship process. As a member of the College’s Committee to Advance Equity, Justice, and Belonging, she serves as co-chair of a subcommittee created to ensure scholarships are awarded equitably to a diverse group of students.

Learn more about Stevens and her passions in the Q&A below.

Why did you major in marketing?

Growing up in a small city, I was involved in various school and community organizations. While serving as a volunteer, I quickly discovered my niche. I truly enjoyed finding ways to engage diverse audiences, spread the mission of an organization and create a lasting impact. I later learned this aligned well with the basic principles of business and marketing. This is what ultimately determined my degree plan and, even more, my future career path. 

Can you elaborate on your career path?

After many family vacations, I knew I was destined to travel more. So, it was no surprise after graduating from UH that my goal was to work in the airline industry. I applied for a marketing position and received my first offer from an airline. It was a dream come true to have the opportunity to work and travel the world.

Even while traveling, I still recognized Houston as home. I love my family and friends, and there’s nothing like returning to the UH campus as an alumna. I continued to enjoy Homecoming, tailgating and watching the campus grow. I had on-campus visits as an airline travel consultant, providing travel data and analytics to the University. 

After years of working in the airline industry, I decided to switch careers to pursue opportunities in higher education. I was fortunate to have the great opportunity to work at UH.

What are your responsibilities?

I make sure our College has effective strategies in place to build our fundraising efforts, and that includes building a relationship with alumni and students. As students transition to alumni, I want them to feel good about their experience and to be engaged in shaping the University’s future.

I also work diligently on the scholarship program. I hear from donors how much they want to support our students. I hear from students how much the funds from donors mean. And I help the staff award the scholarships. It’s great to have a bird’s-eye view and engage with all the different players.

What is an average day for you like?

There’s not a day that’s the same. I could be processing a gift from a donor, speaking to a student about the scholarship process or planning events to engage our alumni. It all comes back to promoting the College of Education and making sure people have an idea of what’s going on internally and externally.

Along with the Alumni Board, what other projects are you working on?

Another big project I’m working on is the launch of CoogsConnect. It’s really going to be a game changer. The platform allows alumni and friends to sign in via LinkedIn or to create a user profile. Members can connect with other alumni, mentor students or be mentored, and find out about events. Also, it’s a great source for finding out about job openings and for posting job opportunities.

What are your biggest passions?

I’ve traveled to over 50 countries. I want to ultimately travel to every country before I leave this planet. COVID has cramped my travel plans, but it’s getting better, and I plan to resume traveling soon.

What have you done abroad?

I’ve ziplined, parasailed, hiked volcanoes, swam through caves. Some of my favorite vacations include the Galápagos Islands, the Amazon and a trip to Costa Rica where I stayed in a treehouse for a week in the rain forest. I love animals and being a part of nature.

What advice do you have for UH alumni?

Get involved. Be engaged. Make a difference. Have fun. I know it is a selfish plug, but I invite alumni and friends to join me by visiting Go Coogs!

— By Lillian Hoang

— Photo courtesy of Geralyn Stevens