Kathy Zarate

Kathy Zarate

Fellows Coordinator


Texas OnCourse

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
I applied to Baylor early and was accepted by October of my senior year of high school. As a first-generation college student, I was excited to begin my educational path.
I was accepted for a competitive paid internship my junior year of college. I had no relevant work experience and no connections, so I didn't think my chances were that great.
I took a year off after college to serve in an AmeriCorps program focused on education. This experience led me to want to focus on increasing access to education.
My first semester of law school was so hard that I wanted to quit so I applied to graduate school as a backup plan. I got in and decided to get a joint degree.
I was accepted into fellowship for recent graduates of law/graduate programs in Washington, DC. I was able to rotate to different city agencies and gain invaluable work experiences.
After 4 years in DC, I moved back to Texas and spent a year free-lancing while applying for jobs. I eventually was hired for a position working with a college readiness program at a nonprofit.
I accepted a job with a statewide organization and I was excited to take my work to a higher level. However, I felt disconnected from the work I really wanted to do at a more local level.
I found a position that allows me to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders and is directly tied to improving access to education.

Education

High School
San Marcos High School
Bachelor
Political Science and Government, General
Baylor University
Graduate
Public Administration
St. Mary's University
Graduate
Law
St. Mary's University

Career

Fellows Coordinator

I manage a two-year fellowship program for high school counselors and advisers.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Government
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

My job requires that I provide information, resources, and other support to the fellows participating in the fellowship program I manage. This means I am responding to inquiries from fellows via phone and email. I am usually planning professional development opportunities for them like in-person trainings or webinars. I explore potential avenues for the fellows to share their expertise in furthering the goals of my organization. I also create policies and guidelines to support the fellows.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Giving people ample opportunities to share their opinions and experiences are important, listening more than talking, and using the feedback to continuously improve a program or initiative are some of the most important takeaways I have learned. I have also learned that effective collaboration is essential to really get anything done. So in addition to being a good listener, you have to identify shared goals and take your own ego out of the project.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Political Science and Government, General
graduate
Graduate
Public Administration
graduate
Graduate
Law

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Why go to law school if you aren't going to practice law? Why put yourself through that? I heard this from a variety of people."

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation College Student