Do you think it’s difficult facing difficult challenges? Then ask Ciarra Joyner how she does it.
At the age of 25, Joyner has already obtained a master’s degree in education administration in higher education from the University of New Orleans. She now works as an admissions counselor at DillardUniversity in New Orleans. When asked how she felt about her new position, Joyner said, “I enjoy being a counselor here; the students and staff are really nice I must admit. They welcomed me with open arms.”
Joyner moved to New Orleans from Neptune, NJ to help her sister pay rent and provide moral support while her sister attended law school. However, when she arrived she found herself facing many challenges. When she came to New Orleans, she didn’t know anyone but her sister. “I am Greek so I meet people everywhere,” she said. Because she is a Delta, there are always going to be people in her extended family.
With compassion and determination, Joyner has made great strides in her life, as stated by Joyner’s parents. As the youngest of two, Joyner always saw herself as an individual who wanted to help others. In her past career, working for an NBC affiliate, Joyner said that it just wasn’t the place for her.
“When you work in news, you see too much of the negative and not enough positive things in the news. That is not what I wanted to be involved in. I wanted to feel like I helped people at the end of the day,” Joyner said.
After she graduated from the University of Tampa in 2003, Joyner found herself substitute teaching at Lusher Elementary, in New Orleans, in efforts to make a difference in others lives.
In the spring of 2005 Joyner worked as the Vision Quest coordinator for Acorn tutoring program at Dillard, but many students didn’t come in contact with her. Now she is in a position where students can come in contact with and interact with her on a daily basis.
With a bubbly personality and quick wit to match, Joyner can be found conversing with various high school students in efforts to get them to attend Dillard for the upcoming fall and spring semester. “My job is quite challenging, trying to get students to come to Dillard after the hurricane is really hard work,” Joyner said.
Joyner said that the state of the city and the school, as well as trying to compete with online and other institutions is the biggest challenge of all. “Black students have more opportunities and more money available to them, so we have to fight for our students,” Joyner said. She works 50 hours every week to make an extra effort to recruit new students, as stated by her co-workers.