As both a director for the School of Education at William Jessup University, as well as an associate professor, Aisha Lowe, Ph.D spends a good chunk of her day-to-day both providing leadership where it’s needed and cultivating young minds.

Lowe earned her undergrad degree in psychology, master’s degree in sociology and Ph.D. in education, all from Stanford University.

What does your job entail?

“I develop and implement courses. Currently, I teach Research Methods and Data Analysis and Statistics in our Master of Arts in teaching program. In that program, I help train future teachers. In my administrative role, I oversee the thesis research process for all students and coordinate research partnerships with local schools and districts.

As the Director of the Office of Academic Research for the university, I work with fellow faculty to seek grant funding to support their research and help facilitate the research strategic plan for the university. Those diverse roles mean my days are variable. In one day, I might meet with a school district superintendent, counsel a student, grade papers, write a grant proposal and meet with faculty to clarify their research program. My job entails a mix of isolated time spent thinking, planning and writing, as well as interactive time spent interfacing with a diverse set of people.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

“I find every element of my job enjoyable (well, except grading). I thrive on both my alone time thinking and planning, and working with others to solve problems and build projects. My job is, for me, a perfect mix of the two. I really enjoy the intellectual pursuit – reading, learning new things, contemplating and debating concepts. I love teaching and doing research. I also enjoy having to build that which does not exist – be it a class, a program, a process or a plan. My job also provides a high-level of flexibility, autonomy and ownership of my time; although it is equally challenging and demanding.”

Do you think your education has prepared you for your current position?

“My education has definitely trained me for my current roles. A professorship typically requires at least a master’s degree; however, a doctorate is preferred by most institutions.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?

“My advice would be to build a deep expertise in your field. That will distinguish you from others who may have the same degrees as you. Also, consider building expertise in other related fields so you do not limit yourself. To build that expertise, read voraciously, stay current on the research in your field and invest in conferences. Also, build as much teaching experience as you can, including K-12 teaching (which is where I started). Lastly, decide early if you are more interested in teaching or conducting research. That will determine the type of institution that is right for you.”

Paulo Acoba is a California native raised in the Bay Area and living in the Central Valley. He enjoys distance running, cycling and grassroots motorsports. He holds a degree in management from the University of California Merced. Paulo has been writing for since 2012 and covering the Fresno area.