Leyalle Harris shares her recipe for college success

When Leyalle Harris started her freshman year at the University of Idaho (UI), her brother-in-law gave her some advice that became her secret sauce for college success. 

“Don’t let class stand in the way of your learning,” said Harris, who joined the Statewide team on January 13. “It’s advice that guides me to this day in my work with the UA Scholars and Alaska 529 programs; to remember the work we do for students isn’t just for their degrees but for their complete experience with the university.”

In her position, Harris supports the Alaska 529 program and coordinates the UA Scholars program.

“I have only been here a short time but I love how much people enjoy their jobs,” said Harris. “I understand there were some changes that happened last year but everyone has positive attitudes and sees the bigger picture of why they do what they do.”

Harris graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from UI. True to her secret recipe for success, Harris’ outside the classroom experience working for the dean of students office inspired her to devote her career to serving students. After graduation she worked as the assistant fraternity and sorority life advisor at UI.

“I had the opportunity to work for Bruce Pitman who had been the Dean of Students for 40 years when he retired,” said Harris. “He loved helping students and his passion was contagious. That is where I decided I really wanted to work in higher education.”

Harris was born and raised in Colorado. Her family still lives in Arvada and Longmont, where she grew up. Harris moved to Alaska at the end of October from Texas, where her husband was stationed with the military. While she is still adjusting to the cooler temperatures, Harris is enjoying Fairbanks.

“My husband and I have always liked the outdoors and are looking forward to hiking, fishing and hunting here,” said Harris. “My two children are toddler age and love to play in the snow. I am also a runner, when it is warm.”

In her spare time, Harris enjoys cooking and trying new recipes.

“I love to cook,” said Harris.”It is one of the ways I destress and use some creativity. My grandma taught me when I was really young and continued to teach me new things until she passed. I love trying new recipes so if you have anything you really enjoy, send it my way.”