Meet Brittany Allensworth, Director of Horizons Student Support Services

September 19th, 2022

Brittany Allensworth's career trajectory has accelerated within the last year.

Going from assistant director to the interim director, and now to director of the Horizons Student Support Services program, took Allensworth a minute to process.

“I still remember being a student in the Horizons program like it was yesterday,” she says. “And now I get to bring my experiences as a student as a blueprint for what I want to give my students.”

Stepping into her new role, Allensworth has many goals she wants to achieve as leader of Horizons. One is to lead with honesty. Allensworth remembers that her years in college weren’t always the smoothest, and she wants to be as transparent with her students and colleagues as much as possible.

Pictured: Horizons Director Brittany Allensworth stands with Boiler Gold Rush decorations on Krach Lawn

“I did have some twists and turns, and it was a bit of a roller coaster ride for a while; I hope that inspires students to keep going when things get tough,” she says. “By sharing the many aspects of my journey as a student and encouraging other staff on the team to do the same, my hope is that this transparency creates a safe space for to students to come with any issues they face.”

Read below to learn more about Allensworth’s goals for the program:

Q: Being an alumna of Horizons yourself, how has that experience helped guide you in your new role?

A: I think my experience as a student gives me a baseline of what, at minimum, I want the experience to be for my students. It was a full circle moment for me. I really could not believe that I was the assistant director, then to become the interim director and now the director. It's inspiring in a way. Through me sharing a little bit about my journey just as a first-generation, low-income student and how I was able to successfully navigate my undergraduate experience with the help of Horizons, I hope that encourages other students as well. I hope that it also helps students to understand that Horizons is not just a program for me; it's personal. I am most passionate about doing work that removes obstacles and barriers that first-generation and low-income students face in their pursuit of a college degree. At times it can be hard work, but all the time it is heart work.  

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to students who might be nervous about joining Horizons?

A: It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s about taking advantage of the resources that are available to you. It’s about being open and honest about what it is that you’re experiencing so that you can get the proper support needed to be successful. I want students to know we are here to help celebrate their success and support them through the challenges. At Horizons, perfection is not the expectation, but progression is. We want you to keep rising.

Q: What are some of your top three values as a leader? And how would you implement them as the new director?

A: I think authenticity and transparency are important. I aspire to lead authentically, which I think invites others to come as themselves. I never want my students or staff and colleagues to feel as though they must leave a portion of who they are behind to belong. In me leading authentically, it’s letting them know where my shortcomings are and that we are all human. I aspire to be a servant leader as well, and there are things that I would not expect students or staff to do that I would not be willing to do myself.

Q: What are some of your future goals when looking toward the 2022-2023 academic school year?

A: One area of opportunity is engagement with our juniors and seniors. Our first- and second-year students are engaging within the curriculum, and we also see engagement within the first-semester peer mentoring and faculty mentoring. The second-year students often return as a peer mentor for the incoming students, and then we see a decrease in engagement as students move on to their junior and senior years.

I would like to do a bit of an assessment of our juniors and seniors to see what they need to feel that the program is still impactful. What can we do to create that desire to remain engaged with our program? I am planning and hoping to have our students attend leadership conferences and cultural enrichment experiences. That could look like several things such as etiquette dinners, plays, theaters, or graduate school tours, just to name a few.

I think it's just a matter of improving our program overall, making sure that it is impactful for our students and that it serves their specific needs and interests.

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Sarah Anderson

Communications Assistant for Student Success Programs,

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