On the Job: Dr. Erica Ogburn


Dr. Erica Ogburn has continued to grow personally and professionally since participating in Summer Youth Initiative (SYI). She has earned three college degrees, her bachelor, master, and doctorate. In addition, Dr. Ogburn has held multiple higher education positions while opening and operating her own business. And this is just the start.

“I recently accepted a new position, as the Director of Academic Advising, for the College of Business, University of Houston-Downtown,” says Dr. Ogburn. “I set three goals while pursuing my master’s degree. Goal one was to be an Academic Advisor, which I was able to do in my first professional role at the University of Michigan-Flint. The second goal was to serve as a Director of Academic Advising, which I have accomplished in my current position. Finally, my long-term goal is to become the Vice President of Student Affairs.

As the Director of Advising, Dr. Ogburn has her next steps mapped out. She plans to stay in her current position for three to five years to perfect her leadership skills and learn from those in advanced leadership.

Along with her professional career, Dr. Ogburn runs a resume consulting business, The Resume Bar Services, LLC, where she helps individuals find their professional path.

“I work with individuals to help them navigate the professional world,” says Dr. Ogburn. “Everyone deserves to advance in their industry, and I provide the support needed.”

Through the last three years of running her business, Dr. Ogburn has worked with various community partners in Flint to support career development and financial growth. 

For now, the Flint Southwestern Academy graduate is continuing the path toward her goals, a track that started with SYI.

What does a typical day look like for you?

First, I interact with my advising staff, addressing their concerns with students and advising, ensuring students are supported using best practices. Second, I work with the university to identify student retention and persistence challenges and how my staff can help through student programming, events, and intrusive advising. Third, I manage a team of 11, supporting their personal and professional growth. Finally, my main focus is building relationships with staff and gaining their trust. 

How did the lessons learned in SYI help on the path to this position?

It taught me interviewing skills and processes, preparing me through various tasks, such as using a phone book, writing a check, and filling out an envelope. You might not learn these tasks from your school or parents because of the hustle and bustle of life. But the little things like that are the reason I am who I am today and do the things I do because the SYI program was a part of my parent’s village in raising me.   

What is one of your best memories from SYI?

I remember my time working for Girl Scouts. After SYI, I was hired to clean the site and was thankful because I didn’t have any other employment opportunities that fit within my schedule as a high school student. This role taught me a great work ethic, preparing me for my next role as a co-op student for the Flint Community School’s Administration Building. 

What has stayed with you from the program?

The relationships I developed with other individuals in the program. I am connected with many of them through social media, and we utilize each other for our expertise as young professionals.

What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?

Don’t take these types of resources for granted. Not every person has the opportunity to participate and has these types of exposures. Connect with the individuals delivering the programs and workshops, and ask questions if you need clarification. Be bold and speak up because others can learn from your questions and what you have to share.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.