Emily staff member is a natural at helping students craft their paths
How many undergraduates make a hobby out of curating their friends’ class schedules, so they graduate efficiently with all credits satisfied?
Angelica Wright, a career navigator for Emily Griffith’s College of Health Sciences and Administration, was arguably born to help people navigate the sometimes confusing matriculation and registration process endemic to institutions of higher education. Fascinated with curriculum and how that translates into a schedule that shapes people’s lives since middle school, she came of age as a natural registrar. “When I was a kid once I hit middle school,” she said, “I was in the catalog and looking at how classes would apply to college.”
She enrolled in college as a high school student in the Aurora Public Schools concurrent enrollment program loading up on history and math classes. By the time Angelica graduated from Rangeview High School, she had amassed 36 college credits, which enabled her to get her bachelor’s degree in business from Colorado State University at 20 and her master’s at 22.
As an undergrad, she worked at CSU’s Native American Cultural Center where she completed a marketing strategy internship and served as a peer mentor. Angelica continued to work in student- facing roles as a graduate student in higher education administration at the University of Denver, completing internships at CU Denver in internship advising and working with students at CU Denver’s American Indian Student Services Center. She is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, an identity, she said that informs everything she does. “I am first a Chahta woman.”
Passionate about higher education access and retention and helping to remove systemic barriers to post-secondary education for indigenous students and students of color, Angelica had heard good things about the College and its work with immigrants, refugees and students of color, so when she saw the posting for the Emily Griffith Career Navigator position, she eagerly applied.
“Emily Griffith was my number one choice,” she said. “I knew they had a population I wanted to work with. This was where I was going to work,” she said.
Hired last year in the midst of the pandemic (Emily Griffith was her number one choice of employer), Angelica has served students from her home computer. The career navigator role, which is part advisor, part admissions and enrollment, allows her to work in her happy place, helping students chart a path to a career. Her first anniversary at Emily is Sept. 24, so this will be her inaugural fall enrollment season.
“It’s going to be a lot, but I’m ready for it,” she said. “It’s super exciting to see and fun to work with students. They are so hopeful for the future and have all these goals they are trying to achieve. To hear the excitement and the joy in their voices when they get into program that’s had a waitlist…when I think about Emily Griffith and who our students are, we are the first access point to changing their lives. To have a role in that is my favorite part.