TCU students return to work at university

This time last year, as Alexis Branaman and Lindsay Ray were walking the stage to receive their diplomas in May 2010, they had no idea they would soon return to the university as employees.

Graduating with a degree in international studies, Branaman now works in the Center for International Studies: TCU Abroad as a study abroad coordinator for TCU, and she said she’s the luckiest girl in the world.

“To be completely honest with you, I never thought in a million years that this would be the department to have a job opening because it’s a really small department,” she said.

But it did.

Branaman stayed up to date with job openings through the university’s Human Resources posting while interning in Fort Worth for the summer, she said.

Already having housing accommodations set up post-graduation, if there were a chance to stay in Fort Worth she definitely wanted to take the shot and see, she said.

After filling out the application, Branaman said she went through four rounds of interviews. To her luck, she got the job.

Branaman said the position for the study abroad coordinator lined up perfectly with her degree along with her passion for student experience and other cultures.

“Working for the university made a lot of sense,” she said.

Tracy Williams, associate director of international studies, said having Branaman on board has been a pleasure.

“She understands the TCU experience,” she said. “She helps us better know how to connect to TCU students.”

A former Horned Frog herself, being an alumnus or alumna when applying to work for the university definitely gives the applicant a point in his or her favor, she said.

Ray, who double majored in entrepreneurial management and theatre said she had always hoped to work for the university. Ray now works in the Office of Admission as an admission counselor. “It was something I had been interested in for a long time,” she said. “I’m just really glad it worked out, even though it wasn’t directly what my major was.”

Ray said having gone to a school like TCU that gives so much to its students, all she wanted to do is give back and do the same.

“Especially now being in admission, I’m able to help recruit new Horned Frogs,” she said. “It has given me the ability to give back to the university that has given me a lot.”

Branaman said she enjoys waking up and coming to work.

“I do advising with students, so I do a lot of one on one’s with current TCU students who are trying to develop plans to go abroad,” she said. “And by doing that I get the interactive perspective that I really enjoy of getting to work with people all day long.”

Branaman said she was never worried about not being respected by students for her young age.

“The thing that I have found is that the majority of the students I advise either have no idea that I went to TCU or are usually almost comforted by the fact that I am a recent graduate and understand how TCU departments work,” she said.

A moment she is looking forward to, however, will take place this summer, she said.

“I will be doing Frog Camp this summer as a staff member,” she said. “I was a Frog Camp director and facilitator so that’s been an interesting transition.”

Both Branaman and Ray said they both enjoy now getting paid by the university rather than having to pay for tuition. Branaman said the money she makes has helped her pay for classes towards her graduate degree.

And Ray said the worry of tuition is a distant memory.

“Instead of getting a bill every month, I get a paycheck,” she said.

One aspect that has been a challenge, however? The wardrobe.

“I can’t wear my rain boots to work when it’s raining, I still have be in business attire,” Ray said. “Sometimes I wish I could just throw on those shorts and rain boots.”