Education has always been an important part of Paula Guidry’s life. She’s the daughter of a K-12 teacher and a social worker, so family dinner table conversations have always centered on opportunity and access through education.
“I really love our Dallas College students,” said Guidry. “Community college students are unrivaled. They are so excited about their learning. They are so deeply committed to making a better life for themselves through education, and they’re just such a joy to work with.”
Out of the Lab, Into the Classroom
Guidry’s career didn’t begin in education — instead, she started out as a research immunologist whose work has been published in several scientific journals.
But during a four-year postdoc, Guidry discovered a love of teaching. In addition to working on research projects, she taught immunology topics to graduate and medical students.
“When my postdoc was coming to an end, I was looking at what was next for me. I was starting to look in the education field because I really enjoyed that.”
As Guidry transitioned from research into education, she first worked several part-time jobs, including as an adjunct at Dallas College’s Brookhaven and Richland campuses and as a lab coordinator at Brookhaven.
A year later, in 2013 Guidry joined Dallas College full time, eventually transitioning into a role as a project lead for an HSI STEM grant. This position was her first experience in the realm of student success and would lead the way to her current role.
Opportunities for Success
Today, as the interim dean of pathway success, Guidry oversees three departments within Student Success: Pathway Success, Career and Transfer Skills Development and Degree Audit.
Each of these areas works to set students up for success, from helping them understand their future career options and ensuring they’re on the correct path to complete their credentials, to giving them the skills needed to be successful as they enter the workplace.
For Guidry, the students are the best part of working at Dallas College, and she appreciates being able to work with like-minded people who feel the same way.
“The energy around working with people with the same purpose, with a like mind around what we do to help members of our community access opportunity through education is thrilling. I love working with my colleagues toward those ends, and every discussion is always about what’s going to drive better outcomes for students.”
Guidry also recognizes and appreciates the diverse experiences her colleagues bring to the table. “Each of us has very different backgrounds. Each of us has very different talents, and leveraging those talents to our purpose makes it an exciting place to work.”
“It’s about giving opportunity to members of our community, to our students. It’s about giving opportunity to members of our staff to be the best that they can be, to meet their goals, to go where they want to go to. Overall, that just makes it a fantastic place to spend most of my waking hours.”