Meet LaQuisha Beckum - Educator, Entrepreneur (or as she prefers, Edupreneur) and Author. LaQuisha and Marie crossed paths on Linked In and have been supporting each other in their entrepreneurial goals by sharing resources and insights.
What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?
I work as an adjunct at a local community college, and I have been doing this work for over 12 years. Being an adjunct opened my eyes to the amount of gray that comes along with working in higher education. It's been difficult working within the gray areas, so I decided to create something of my own. I co-founded a non-profit (Generation Reformation) to serve the community in which I grew up, to provide an after school program to local kids that focuses on increasing literacy, and we also hold holiday giveaways in the community as well. More recently, I created an online school, A World of Tomorrow, that's centered on cultural competency, inclusion, equity, and engagement. Although I'm largely promoting to teachers, everyone should attend the online course. It's designed to be a 4-week course where we can create community, and learn from one another. In five steps, course takers who are truly looking for self-transformation, will learn a lot about themselves, and learn to recognize that others have similar patterns of thought, interactions, and behaviors.
I set out to work as a researcher. I enjoy technical writing, because it's clear and straight to the point. I'm a contributing author for a social psychology textbook, "Real-world Occurrences in Social Psychology". So, I never thought I would be a creative writer, but in the last 4 months I have self-published two books on Amazon through kindle direct publishing (KDP). The first book is a short anthology of dreams I've had over the years, and my interpretation of what they meant and what was happening in my life. It's a coffee table book, but very much written as a reflective process. I also provide tips for the reader if they'd like to give interpreting a try. The second book is a children's book I wrote in 2007. I always wanted to self-publish, but it wasn't as easy back then as it is now. It's about a little girl whose difference are very apparent to her peers, and so she has to figure out how she's going to cope with being different. It's also loosely based off some of the difficulties my daughter was having in second grade, because she was different. I am having a lot fun creating works of art, and plan to publish 1-2 more books by the end of the year.
Hobbies...I enjoy making tutus! It's more of a hobby than something I make money from, although we do have a facebook page (@2tubydesign) in case anyone would like a tutu. They're made to order, by hand, so it's the client's one of a kind tutu.
What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?
I studied psychology and sociology as an undergrad, after changing my major 5 times. I went on to study experimental psychology in grad school, then went on to a post master's program for a specialization in education (Ed.S.). Unlike other degrees, I find psychology and education (because I instruct in higher ed) to be direct in that I can use information from both fields of study in the classroom and outside the classroom. As an undergrad, I was raising my first son, so developmental psychology was extremely helpful as a young mother. I also appreciate that I have a broad range of choices having a background in psychology. I could've gone into marketing, business (I/O psychology), counseling, research (which I did coming out of college), etc.
How does your education help you in the work that you do today?
Today in the creation of an online business, my education has taught me the importance of professional development, student-centered approaches to classroom learning, and the necessity of life-long growth. I've learned a lot about teaching and learning, but I also think the education I received through working at the college level has been monumental. I was allowed to (often called on to) collaborate with other faculty and staff, create programs and see them come to fruition, take on leadership roles outside of the classroom with students, faculty and staff, and so many other rich experiences. These have all provided me the know-how to create programs for a non-profit I co-founded. Not only do I want to help educators with professional development, but helping the youth increase their literacy is monumental to the work I am doing.
When it comes to being an author, I think learning how to write concise and clear during my time as a student has helped me tremendously. Although the writing required of writing research-based articles is vastly different than the creative writing process, knowing I could write made it easy for me to switch hats to write more creatively.
Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?
Well, it's not necessarily new, but I'd like to major in chemistry. I was a chem major before changing to psychology, and I find it fascinating! As a psychologist with a background in chemistry, it's fun discussing how chemicals can effect our brain and behavior. I don't get the chance to go in-depth, but it's always a fun time for me and students. Outside of the fact that I like chemistry, I suppose I'm looking to validate myself. I felt overwhelmed when I was younger and in this major. It wasn't the major that overwhelmed me, but life. Having to work full-time, take care of a child's needs full-time, I didn't know how to balance the amount of work I needed to put in to the major while handling life. I feel I'm more equipped with time, and the means to make this happen today.
What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?
I'd like to learn how to better gain traction among the educational-sphere. I have ideas, and I use facebook, linkedin, and twitter to reach people, but perhaps going to the local school districts or the principals of different schools? I just need some help getting others to know and trust me as a new business owner.
Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?
Creating a business, having ideas that you want to share with others, and becoming comfortable being the face of a brand is hard work. It's certainly worth it, however, to do the work you love to do. Don't ever worry about it being too late, because it's never truly is. It just matters that it's something that's on your heart that you feel you can provide to others, especially if it's something you wished you would've had early in your career. Make it happen!
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