Executive Director, UCS
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
For the past 24 years, Monica's professional experiences run the gamut, from working as a human resource professional in both the corporate and non-profit organizational settings to an administrator and educator in postsecondary schools, to currently serving as the Interim Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Career Services at University of Houston Main Campus.
Monica joined the University of Houston in 2014, where she provides strategic vision to administer a comprehensive and integrated strategy across UH's colleges to engage students in career exploration, career skill development, experiential activities, and other opportunities that help them achieve post-graduation goals. Monica manages a dynamic professional team of 25, including 4 direct reports and student assistants to serve over 47,000+ undergraduate and graduate students to help them find internships and jobs; as well as support alumni job seekers. Monica and the UCS team are members of NACE, SoACE, NSEE and share best practices related to First Gen, career development for International students and career course curricula at annual conferences. The UCS staff have been recognized for their exceptional programs, and received numerous DSA Staff awards.
Monica's tenure at University of Houston has afforded her and her team the following transformational successes: (1) increase of student utilization of career services by 40%; (2) increase early usage of career services by sophomore students by 49%; (3) increase collaborations with colleges and campus partners to host graduate school and career fairs including Health and HDFS, STEM, Architecture, Energy, Veteran Students, and Liberal Arts (referred to as CLASS career fair) resulting in over 550 new employers coming to campus each year, and (4) developing a career planning course for liberal arts majors. With over 10,000 students in CLASS - it is the largest college at UH. Monica collaborates with Colleges, the Registrar's Office, CITE and Institutional Research to collect graduation and internship data, increasing response rate from 35-68% to up to 90%, varies by college.
Prior to her role at UH, Monica worked at The University of Texas at Austin for 13 years, where she cultivated professional development opportunities at McCombs' business career services, ranked second in the nation. She developed and taught a required career course for 4,500 undergraduate business students to take annually. Read more about her past experience.
Monica is passionate about developing today's students into tomorrow's leaders while delivering operational excellence as the Executive Director of a university, and economy is incredible, which means tremendous opportunity for our students. "I look forward to partnering with employers, students, and alumni to create a Cougar pathway to success and turn these opportunities into realities". Monica has served on the Board of Visitor's Student Success Task Force where she engaged employers for volunteer and potential internship opportunities.
Monica is a native Houstonian, a product of HISD's Mirabeau B. Lamar High School (Business Magnet Program), and a first-generation college graduate.
Monica received her Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Ethical Leadership with an emphasis on Social Justice from the University of St. Thomas. She focused her doctorate research on academic affairs and student affairs collaboration to increase experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students. Her dissertation topic, University's Role in Development of Energy Career Readiness for Underrepresented STEM students. Monica has collaborated with faculty and lead career development curricula for Dr. Norma Olvera's BOUNCE and Eye to the Future as well as Dr. Erika Henderson's Next Gen Energy X programs, both experiential learning opportunities targeting underrepresented populations (African American and Latino students) interested in working in the health and energy fields.
Monica's has led efforts to become a career focused campus by rebranding "soft skills" as success skills and integrating them into the academic experience for all students in the form of career development curricula, professional development and networking events, and alumni mentoring opportunities.
Monica utilizes an integrated strategic communication approach to communicate across campus about the career resources for students and collaboratively partners with the college-based career centers to provide a streamline approach to maximize employers' diverse recruiting efforts. In addition to her research focus, Monica continues to collaborate with faculty and serve on academic and experiential related committees to lift student success, access and equity for all students at UH. Committees include serving on the Implementation of UH Strategic Plan: Increase Experiential Learning, Goal 1, Strategy 3, Co-Chair with QEP Director. QEP Lead Evaluator, SACSCOC Reaffirmation Committee. Recently, Monica was appointed to serve on the UH SACSCOC Steering Committee, College of Technology Transition Task Force, CITE (QEP) Advisory Board member and CITE Internship Council.
She holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration Human Resources Development from Texas A&M University and a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Management with a minor in Accounting from Texas State University. Her areas of expertise include organizational change, diversity, equity and inclusion, career development, career coaching, career services programming, organizational learning and development, talent acquisition and recruitment, management training, and human resources administration.
In 2019, Monica served as the President for the Houston Consortium of Career Centers (HACCC) and during her tenure partnered with Greater Houston Partnership to host the first employer exposure event, connecting employer recruiting teams to the 14 HACCC schools. Monica was also selected to participate in two distinguished programs to enrich her development in leadership and student affairs, UH's Inaugural ProPel Executive Leadership Development program, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators'(NASPA), Institute for Aspiring Assistant Vice Presidents of Student Affairs.
Monica has published articles in Advances in Human Resources Development quarterly journal. She completed the National Diversity Council's Unconscious Bias Training Certificate Program and serves on the DSA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee - education subcommittee. Monica served on the Office of Equal Opportunity Services hearing committee for Discrimination & Harassment (DH) cases. Additionally, she is a certified Mediator, Career Coach, Myers Briggs, True Colors, Spiritual Gifts and DISC facilitator, and a Stephen Minister.
Outside of work and church, Monica enjoys spending time with friends and family, drawing and painting, swing dancing, and hosting dinner parties. She and her beloved husband have been married for over 24 years. They have a daughter and son, both in college. In November 2021, Monica was named Interim Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, and effective September 1, 2022, Monica serves as the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor/President.