Tag Archives: higher education

I didn’t choose the higher ed life…it chose me…

Dr. Mayra Olivares-Urueta…Almost 2 months to the day Isabel would be born. #vpmami

Hi Mamis!

During crazy times such as these, it is refreshing and necessary to remember why we do what we do.

I chose a career in higher education because it was the first place I felt a sense of urgency and direction. At the University of Oklahoma, I found myself translating information into Spanish for the institution, specifically for recruitment pieces. I was the student helping to recruit students like me from South Oklahoma City and San Antonio, helping to increase Latinx student numbers and colleagues see the beauty in having entire families come to our offices rather than being annoyed by it… I wanted my people seen and appreciated.

I was a highly engaged undergraduate. I had a front row seat to the division of Student Affairs and the work done there. I. was. in. love. What do you mean you get to have all this fun at a college? Homecoming? Commencement? Leadership development? Sign me up! The truth was, I felt most comfortable being myself in the Student Life office, out of any place on the university campus. It is the place where I developed as a student employee and student leader. My voice was wanted and needed there. That, coupled with the leadership development I received, helped me gain greater focus on what I wanted – to recreate those experiences for more students like me.

Last but not least…The fact there were only 900 Latinx students at OU at that time knowing we were the majority in my hometown (and many other places) made for an interesting juxtaposition. Why, with so many Latinx in the country, were there only 900 of us in this 20k+ student university? Why were there so few of us at the university? I wanted to fix that, it just didn’t seem right… and here I am, #vpmami, still at it, almost 15 years later.

Dr. Taryn Ozuna Allen…Anthony’s first visit to my faculty office #scholarmami

Hi Mamis!

If you’re a student in a leadership/administration doctoral program at an R-1 university, chances are you’ve been asked if you want to go the faculty route or administrative route. While I was a student, it was sort of implied that pursuing tenure-track faculty positions was expected. When I was in my program, I even heard of faculty at other universities who stopped collaborating with their advisees when the student admitted they did not want to pursue a tenure-track faculty role after graduation. It’s sad, but true.

To be honest, I was initially unsure of my future career goals. As a former student affairs professional, I missed regular interactions with my undergraduate students! I enjoyed seeing them grow and develop, then graduate and pursue their dreams. It was an exciting place to be! On the other hand, the more I learned about teaching and conducting research, the more I loved it. Qualitative research, in particular, really made my heart sing!

Still, faculty life made me nervous.

I didn’t know much about being a faculty member. No one in my family had ever been a professor. And I could count the total number of Latinx faculty I’d ever had in undergrad and grad school (combined) on one hand (N=2). But, with graduation on the horizon, I decided I would apply to positions of interest and trust what God had in store for me.

It turns out a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Arlington was the perfect induction into academia. The postdoc was a one-year position for me to learn and grow. It also provided a mentor to guide and support. Fortunately, a new faculty line in my department opened the following year, and I was blessed with the opportunity to begin my tenure-track life.

I chose to become a faculty member because I love to teach, research, and serve in higher education. It is not without its challenges, especially being one of the few women of color in academia, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a #scholarmami. I get to serve as a mentor and role model to graduate students and show them that having a family and excelling in academia is possible.


Hi Mamis!

Welcome to our blog! We are thrilled you have decided to join us in this journey of being a Mami on the Move!

My name is Taryn Ozuna Allen, and I am originally from San Antonio, Texas. I currently live in Saginaw, Texas with my husband, Philip, and three-year-old son, Anthony. Between being a mami, wife, and scholar, life is hectic and constantly in motion!

I have worked in higher education for the past 15 years. I previously served in various positions in student affairs, diversity initiatives, and graduate education. In my current role, I serve as associate professor in educational leadership (emphasis on higher education leadership) at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. My responsibilities focus on teaching, research, and service: 

  1. Teaching – I teach graduate courses on history of higher education, college student development theory, diversity in education, among others. I also advise doctoral students working on dissertations and treatises.
  2. Research – I also love conducting qualitative research! My scholarly interests focus on the college-going pathways of Latinx students as they pursue baccalaureate degrees. In fact, my team and I were just awarded a $1 million Spencer grant to study teaching and learning in dual credit programs in Texas!
  3. Service – I serve my campus and local community through leadership and committee work. Service is a great way to give back and to link theory to practice.

When Dr. Mayra and I discussed the possibility of #mamisonthemove, I was excited about sharing expertise and knowledge related to pursuing graduate education and professional roles in academia. I was the first in my family to pursue a doctorate and to begin a tenure-track position, and I look forward to sharing tips with you! 

Thanks for stopping by. Please find us on Facebook and Instagram: @mamisonthemove. Share your stories and pics of being a #mami with us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Cuídate, Mami! You got this!

Dear Mamis,

Hola y bienvenidas! First and foremost, know we appreciate you spending your most valuable resource (time!) with us. We promise fun will be had and we will make this worth your time. 

I am Mayra Olivares-Urueta and I grew up in Monterrey, Mexico and San Antonio, TX. I live in Arlington, TX with my husband, Alejandro, and daughters Isabel (6 y/o) and Olivia (almost 4!). Needless to say, ya girl is busy! 

I will be celebrating 15 years in the field in of higher education on November 5, 2020. My time has been spent in Student Affairs and in institutions ranging from community colleges to graduate level medical schools. Community colleges are where my heart lies and where I have been for the last 7 years. Currently, I am in my third year as vice president for student development services at Tarrant County College and serve the Northeast campus in Hurst, TX. I am the chief student affairs officer for the campus and play a variety of campus and district roles. I am responsible for over 110 full and part time employees; for the strategic, operational, and fiscal function of the division as well as the management of all employees. The way I see it, my role is to create new and clear paths which enable our students’ success. I ensure students triumph educationally and ultimately empower them to be self-sufficient contributors to society in control of their personal and professional lives. It’s a huge job and I love every minute of it. 

From me you will hear about what it has taken to get to this professional milestone and how I’ve done it without sacrificing my desire and choice to have a home and family. I choose what I do wisely and don’t believe in balance. Rather, I believe in the power of choice and grace and on allowing myself freedom to mess up.

See you soon, Mamis! 


Mamis On the Move don’t do everything and what we choose to do, we don’t do perfectly. We’re about embracing the chaos, love, grace and mess that comes from moving through what we have chosen to do with intentionality.

At #mamisonthemove, our everything encompasses higher education academia and administration, our families and empowering our comunidad through education. 

Walk with us as we build a community of mothers leading in various higher education spaces. We are fostering a community of strength and power leading to all levels of educational leadership and knowledge creation. We are creating a new narrative enabling us to make space to more powerfully fit into academic spaces. The space will enable us to be fully seen, celebrated and engaged. This space will give way for our whole, messy, grace-filled, amazing selves for the benefit of our students, families, and most importantly, our children.