From Humble Beginnings to Educator, Attorney, and Educational Thought Leader: How Dr. Tracy G. Crump’s Journey Changed Her Life and Is Inspiring Her to Change How Students Experience the Higher Education System
Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracy G. Crump, PhD, JD, LLM.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up with humble beginnings. My family did not have resources overflowing, but we had what we needed when needed. While neither my parents nor grandparents graduated college, achieving higher education was constantly stressed as the best method for gaining social capital and improving our family’s circumstances.
I have been interested in the law since I was fourteen years old. I witnessed my peers—playmates, acquaintances, and neighbors—face life-and-death decisions trying to navigate life with insufficient resources. As a youth, I often wondered why some people had access to food and shelter, and others did not. In my teenage years, I was confronted with the implications of not having resources as my schoolmates, and I traveled from school to school for academic competitions. During this time, I noted that some schools had books and materials that others did not. I also noted that having access to the additional resources allowed people to prepare in ways that those who did not have access to the resources could not.
After sitting with my questions and experiences, I focused my career goals on addressing crime and criminological issues. I continued my education to become a criminal justice teacher and an attorney. I also committed to doing what I could connect people with services and resources to assist in navigating life, their educational pursuits, and career aspirations.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
Life is rarely a straight path. As a teenager, I saw poverty’s impact on individuals, families, and communities daily. I also experienced the devastation that could occur when neighborhoods were overrun with gang activity, the effect of substance abuse, and the implications of not having sufficient treatment and rehabilitation opportunities.
The resulting environment led to individual pressures like citizens being afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation; community members essentially being forced to stay in their homes due to fear of being victimized; and structural societal pressures like neighborhood disinvestment, inequitable housing practices, inadequate access to health and mental health services, and the residual effects of community discrimination.
Navigating these early experiences prepared me for my challenges. For example, the several times I was told that the work I wanted to do was not work a “girl” should want to do could have taken me out if I had not previously developed my expectations and goals for myself and a sense of belonging with my mentors and peers. And when I was informed that less than 5% of lawyers were Americans of African descent and even fewer were women, that could have stopped my educational pursuits if I was not already honing my persistence, commitment, motivation, emotional maturity, adaptability, resilience, and grit muscles. Identifying and addressing these challenges helped me along my life’s journey. These experiences are at the heart of my reasons for being passionate about the work I do today.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Professionally, I am a business owner, trainer, college professor, Criminologist, Victimologist, and attorney. In my business, I provide state-certified continuing education courses to cosmetology professionals in domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment awareness. I also partner with colleges, universities, corporations, and non-profit agencies to perform equity assessments, develop strategic diversity plans, provide intercultural team consultations, and lead interactive workshops focused on managing bias and microaggressions in the workplace and managing mental hygiene in diverse communities. I teach undergraduate and graduate students Criminal Justice and Sociology courses as a university professor.
At my core, I am someone who wants to help others. I am an award-winning educator and thought leader who has taught college for almost two decades. I am dedicated to assisting clients in clarifying their goals, honing their skills, and empowering them to succeed. I have also been a college student for over 30 years. People should work with me over the competition because I bring the totality of my experience to my clients. Whether I am coaching college students, early-career educators, or leaders, my unique understanding of university faculty, staff, and students helps me understand pain points and craft strategies for college preparation, workplace navigation, and grant writing. Additionally, because I have navigated the higher education occupational landscape at public, private, and faith-based institutions as an adjunct, tenure-track, and tenured educator who is from diverse communities, I also bring my experience when I am teaching and speaking on diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice (DEIBJ).
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
My best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success is to look within. Success means different things to different people. Find out what ignites your passion for achieving an outcome that makes you happy and proud to be you. Seriously think about the impact you want to make on the people you care about and identify the resources you need to make that impact, the actions you need to take to bring the outcome to fruition, and the work you need to do to maintain the effect that your work will produce.
I would also remind people that reaching a success milestone or benchmark is not the journey’s end. It is the beginning of the next journey. Achieving our goals is one of the first signs we need to develop new plans. Those striving for personal success, which makes people internally happy, need consistent, continuous improvement to maintain their growth mindset. Seeking these opportunities for personal development helps shape new goals, highlights attitudes and personality traits that need to be developed or refined, identifies behaviors and actions that will lead to desired outcomes, and presents methods and techniques to allow progress to be measured, evaluated, and adjusted to achieve future goals. Striving for success is a wonderfully exciting cyclical journey that is undefined, indefinite, and limitless.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
In my current season, the measure of my success is how my work impacted, empowered, and lifted others. There are no fancy titles for my business card for that, but it means the world to me. As a first-generation college student, I relied heavily on my family, extended village and “kinfolx,” and mentors to help me understand myself and the world. Without them pouring into me, I would have struggled to persevere. So, success now means I can repay those who showed me kindness and shared their wisdom by sharing my knowledge and expertise with others. I am doing that now through my book A.C.E.S. for Students: Strategies for Success in the First Year of College & Beyond. This book is the definitive guide to give college students the preparation they need for college success.
When I entered college, I needed a book like A.C.E.S. for Students. Having one could have saved me a great deal of hardship. Because I did not find a resource that allowed me to engage in the deep dive I needed to establish the mental, emotional, and physical fortitude it took to help me persist in college and graduate, I experienced many trials and tribulations. Once I worked through the obstacles, processed them, and developed systems to address issues, I knew I needed to share my experiences with those who would come after me. So, I am sharing now with the hope that my educational success can help others achieve their desired success.
What’s next for you?
I will continue to serve in excellence as the Chief Education Officer at Tracy Crump Enterprises, LLC, where I help students and educators prosper by clarifying their goals and resources, sharpening their skills, and empowering them to strive for success. I will also continue to teach Criminal Justice and Sociology students and facilitate law enforcement trainings. We are updating our curriculum and rolling out several new offers to allow our clients to work with us face-to-face and virtually.
With my trainings and upcoming book tour, I aim to help 1,000,000 students confidently enter college knowing their goals, understanding their resources, and feeling prepared to seize their destiny by “activating their A.C.E.S.” A.C.E.S. for Students helps readers eliminate intrapersonal barriers to college access, retention, and graduation.
I am also booking speaking engagements and college and university orientation sessions for the book tour. The book campaign will allow us to virtually tour campuses around the U.S. and host workshops. Additionally, we’ve begun posting resources and information on our Instagram and Twitter pages to educate the public about our work and share resources that could benefit college-bound and college students. I hope every reader critically engages with the book, tackles the curriculum and exercises throughout, and applies their newfound knowledge of themselves and the college environment to propel them to their desired goal.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
People can connect with me on LinkedIn, where I post weekly articles about education at: www.linkedin.com/in/tracygcrump
People can visit my business website to learn more about my business, book, and services at: https://tracycrumpenterprisesllc.com/
People can visit my speaker’s website to book me for speaking engagements or A.C.E.S. for Students: Strategies for Success in the First Year of College & Beyond orientation sessions or workshops at: https://tracygcrump.com/
People can follow A.C.E.S. for Students: Strategies for Success in the First Year of College & Beyond on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/theacesframework/
People can follow A.C.E.S. for Students: Strategies for Success in the First Year of College & Beyond on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/AcesFramework