Upon graduation from Texas A&M University, Jericka Parker knew she wanted to go to the best school for her master’s degree with the top professors in the nonprofit and public sector, and that was the O’Neill School (aka SPEA for her MPA’18 class).
“Thus far, my career path has aligned with my future goals and aspirations,” said Parker. “I'm grateful that my MPA degree set me on a path where I can work anywhere and ‘lead for the greater good.’ My dream is to own and operate my own nonprofit and foundation centered on underserved women and children based on the pillars of education, healthcare, and mentorship.”
In pursuit of her passion, Parker started working in higher education as an advisor and student services professional after earning her MPA. She loved serving students and gained knowledge about the higher education system.
She then moved into healthcare, where she currently is the senior program manager for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Covenant Health. DEI work has been a major part of her path since she was a graduate student at O’Neill, so working in this field makes her feel at home.
“I’m proud of the impact I’ve had on people along the way,” said Parker. “Whether it was students who needed me to be their advisor, mentor, and friend, or caregivers now who need an advocate and someone to elevate their voice, I know that I’ve made a difference and that keeps me centered on my WHY.”
For current students, Parker’s advice is that although the journey is not easy for most people, anything worth having requires fight and endurance.
“It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do post-graduation,” she said. “But, believe in yourself! Focus on expanding your knowledge, building your skillset, and becoming the leader you are destined to be. Don’t forget to live in the moment and appreciate the journey—your day is coming!”