Cardinal Cadence Fall 2012

Turning a calling into a career

Quentin JilesQuentin Jiles, Houston senior and social work major, was elected Student Government Association president for 2012-2013. Jiles has been president of Lamar's chapter of the NAACP. He is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business fraternity and is a student director of student development in the Office of Student Engagement.

When I first came to campus, I really only stuck with my three closest friends,” he said. “But after getting involved in various organizations, I began to meet people at a whole different level. I got to meet people of different backgrounds and with various interests, and it made the whole experience fun.

Jiles said that through this involvement, he has had the opportunity to hear what students think about the university and the quality of their experience. He said that his mission as SGA president is to be a voice for students and to help increase the quality of their college experience.

“I want everybody to feel included, feel like they are getting a quality education and feel like they are having a good time as well,” he said. “I love my school, and I want everybody to take pride in it.”

Jiles said that, above all, his goal is to serve the students and listen to their ideas.

“I will talk to anyone,” he said. “At the end of the day, if your tuition goes up, so does mine. We are on the same level playing field—I am just a voice for you.”

Jiles said after graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in social work. He plans to put his education to good use through a career as an investigator for Child Protective Services.

“My ultimate goal is to build an agency that can get children adopted out to great homes, and that is something that I feel I will be able to learn through working with CPS,” he said.

“I have always wanted to work with children. When I was in the fifth grade, I saw this girl, who was in the second grade, crying. I asked her why, and she said that her sister wouldn’t give her half of the lunch money that her mother had given her for the both of them. So I took her in the lunch line and split my lunch money with her. After that day, she always sat by me at lunch, so I kind of adopted her as my little sister. I think that was the start of me trying to help people. To me, it felt good. So why not try to turn that into a career and do something that I really love?”

Jiles said the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice at Lamar University helped prepare him for his professional future plans.

“They are always bringing in professional people to talk to you,” he said. “They also have volunteer days where you go to different agencies out in the community—one day it may be at Boys’ Haven and the next may be a soup kitchen. It is a good feeling to be in the field doing volunteer work. It gives you an opportunity to give back to the community while you learn about your discipline. You get a chance to go to various places and see how the different social agencies work together for the benefit of the community. My department really helps prepare you for the field.”

by Andrew Strange
August 2012