While some students may have trouble managing school and work at the same time, Running Start student Grayce Ross has managed to find balance in both work and academics.
Ross, community budget coordinator and the Service & Activities budget chair for the Center for Leadership & Service (CLS) and Center for Cultural & Inclusive Excellence (CCIE), is the recipient of the Student Employee of the Year award.
She will be earning her associate’s degree in June with an emphasis in psychology, with hopes of studying abnormal psychology and criminology.
She is deciding to transfer to the University of Portland or North Dakota State University.
Ross said that studying at Highline has been an experience she was not expecting.
“Being a Running Start student, many of the students in my district choose Highline and really enjoy their time and the classes so I thought it was the best choice. At that point, I really wasn’t aware of all of the opportunities that were waiting for me here,” Ross said.
Ross says that while Highline College is a friendly community and she has been given opportunities, she has experienced more than what she anticipated.
“It’s been truly a once in a lifetime experience. I got the chance to really grasp my independence and mold a whole new outlook on the world we live in and how we can make an impact. Highline, and especially CLS & CCIE, have pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me recognize my strengths not only as a student leader but as a person,” Ross said.
“I found a best friend in Betty Vera, a mentor in Thomas Bui, and a family in Marta Reeves. Each of them I will continue to be eternally grateful for,” Ross said.
Ross is an executive assistant to CLS Program Manager Marta Reeves, and CLS Director Thomas Bui. Her work consists of communicating with budget managers, creating excel spreadsheets, and putting together master PDFs.
Ross says that the budget community oversees students, athletics, and other programs financially. She said she spends a minimum 15 hours a week working for the center throughout the year.
“It’s really an honor -- not only to be given the award but also just to see how much I’ve grown and the development it took to make it to this point,” Ross said.
“Marta Reeves, CLS Program Director and my supervisor, always tells me not to sell myself short but I really just work each day the best I can and try my hardest to make all of my pro staff and CORE teams days a little more interesting and sometimes easier depending on the day,” she said.
CLS Program Director Marta Reeves nominated Grayce Ross for the Student Employee of the Year award.
“Grayce has been a student leader in the Center for Leadership & Service since September 2018, holding the role as Community Budget Coordinator. She tracks expenditures for the CLS budget lines, transcribes the ASHC minutes, and has assisted with the development of Service & Activities budget manager training,” Reeves said.
The S&A Budget is funded by student fees and pays for non-classroom activities on campus, ranging from athletics and CLS to the Thunderword.
“[Ross] wanted to expand her knowledge of S&A and to gain facilitation skills, so she applied and was selected to be the 2020-2021 S&A Budget Chair,” Reeves said.
“She has excellent time-management skills, very organized, and balances both of these positions while being successful academically as a Running Start student.”
Reeves said that Ross has handled both positions with professionalism, helping train both students on the S&A Committee and assisting with S&A budget manager training.
Ross said that she felt uncertain about being a chair over a program while being a Running Start student.
“I had never seen myself as a budget person but when I had applied for the budget coordinator position in the spring of 2018 I thought maybe I could make it work,” she said. “I had always been really good with numbers and my memory was spot on so I thought I could slide through.”
“It was definitely more than 15 year old me had bargained for at the time but I would honestly do it all over again,” Ross said.