By Brittany Worthington, Marketing Student Assistant
Texas Performing Arts student employee Adrienne Boni Banks received the distinct honor of being recognized as a finalist for the University of Texas at Austin’s President’s Student Employee of the Year Award. Even with an intense graduate school course load, part-time internship and personal commitments, Adrienne created a position that was all her own. We sat down with this Master of Social Work graduate to learn about her role at TPA.
What is your position at TPA?
I'm the Student Engagement Senior Student Associate at TPA. As the first person in this newly created position, I've worked with Student Engagement Coordinator Tim Rogers to shape the position throughout my two years here.
What does your position entail?
One of my main responsibilities includes researching and analyzing student interaction with TPA as an organization. I uncover what motivates them to be successful employees, volunteers, and ushers in order to help TPA target the best ways to recruit and engage students.
Other responsibilities include helping with the analytics and logistics side of student engagement. This includes tasks like reviewing Bass Pass surveys and strategizing ways to improve the experience for student ticket buyers, helping plan and run special events like pre-show events and parties, as well as reviewing applications and interview candidates for the new student AmBASSador program. I also serve on the Student Employment Advisory Council, planning student employee events. Additionally, I help plan and develop course material for Tim’s new audience engagement class.
How did you react when you heard you were a Finalist in the Student Employee of the Year Award?
Honestly, I was pretty shocked! I have the opportunity to work with so many energetic and hardworking student employees even in my own small area at TPA, who are always inspiring me to be better at my job. I can't imagine all of the well-deserving student employees across the whole university who could and should be recognized for their work! I am so grateful to my supervisor for nominating me. It has really affirmed the work I do here and made me feel appreciated.
What do you think makes for a successful student employee?
I think a successful employee is someone who is passionate about the organization’s mission the work the organization is doing and who is willing to help out their teammates. As a student employee specifically, you will be successful if you strike a balance between work and school. It’s important to and know how to set diligent boundaries for yourself.
Why do you enjoy working at TPA in your position? What has made it a meaningful experience?
As a graduate student, I need to spend a lot of time off-campus for field hours. Interacting with my supervisor and team here has helped me grow a sense of pride for and connection to UT-Austin and TPA. I feel like a member of a tight- knit community at TPA while being at a huge university. In the Student Engagement area, student employees serve as a point of entry for students to become lifelong lovers and patrons of the arts, making the work itself worthwhile.
What have you learned from working at TPA?
At TPA, I have had the opportunity to work independently a lot of the time, which will be vital for my future job in social work. Not having a supervisor with you constantly watching over your shoulder helps you learn your own work style, teaches you accountability, and develops organization skills.
How has your time and your work experience job at TPA prepared you for your future career goals?
I am also interested in working in community arts programming one day after getting to know the community's needs through clinical social work. After getting to know the community’s needs through clinical social work, I’d like to work in community arts programming one day. Being a part of a large arts organization like TPA has given me an inside look into the logistics of public arts programming. TPA also sent me to the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Cconference in New York City where I was able to experience the landscape of community and social justice work being done in the arts throughout the nation.!
Why would you encourage someone to apply to a job with TPA?
The staff members here are truly supportive of student employees and are willing to work with you and your schedule. They want to help set you up for success both at work and in your academics. Plus, the community of staff and students is amazing and we have so much fun!
What's next for you?
I just completed my final field internship for social work with the Child Protective Services, and I will be stepping into an employee role as a Conservatorship worker. I'm excited to be working with families to make changes to improve the lives of children in foster care.