We knew she was a star well before Forbes hailed Tamara Wilkerson as one of the magazine’s “30 Under 30” in Education for 2017, but what a thrill to see her recognized for her leadership as Executive Director of the African American Teaching Fellows. A former Women’s Center intern, Tamara graduated in 2012 from UVA’s Curry School of Education with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education and is currently at work on her dissertation for an Ed.d in Leadership from Morgan State. We’re honored to shine our “spotlight” on her.
1. The work/life pathway to where you are now, was that totally planned? Organic? Some combination?
It was definitely a combination. I knew in school that I wanted to someday be a CEO (of what, I wasn’t quite sure!) so I always took advantage of leadership roles. From being an intern at the Women’s Center, being a Resident Advisor, and even a Peer Advisor – I always wanted to grow as a leader. However, I never knew that I would end up in the nonprofit sector – so that was a surprise! It just fell into my lap and worked out for me.
2. Looking back, what advice would you give your former, Women’s Center intern-self?
I was very self-conscious and didn’t trust my own abilities. I would tell her that she is enough, and capable of achieving each and every dream she has!
3. Describe your dream vacation.
Valencia, Spain! I studied there when I was at UVA and I have been dying to go back. I’d love to be there, relaxing on the beach.
4. Who’s going to play you in the movie of your life?
Even though she looks nothing like me, I absolutely love Taraji P. Henson. I’d pick her just because she’s a great actress.
5. What’s one object in your life you’re so attached to it has to be with you every day?
My Apple watch. I’m obsessed with tracking my workouts, and my steps. This lets me do that and read all my text messages!
6. If you could get coffee with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Without a doubt, Oprah. She is amazing. I’d love to pick her brain and ask her lots of questions.
7. How best can WC students/interns fight the good fight during this turbulent time?
Stay motivated! Know that the work you do is needed and is valued. Even when things get difficult, you are making a difference. Continue to share your gifts with others, because I am sure that you are changing lives daily.