Women’s History Month Profile: Student Success Coach, Theresa Lucas

March 7, 2023

Get to Know Noodle Student Success Coach, Theresa Lucas

Great leaders are brave enough to call folks in, calm enough to call folks out and are willing to stand up for the right thing.

‍Theresa Lucas is a Student Support Coach at Noodle. She’s lived all over the United States but calls Long Beach, CA home. She received her Bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University and completed her Master’s at University of Southern California. Theresa is currently pursuing her Doctorate from USC as well and recalls always wanting to educate people and help them grow. Here at Noodle she works on the SSE team at SMU Lyle as well as two data teams. She utilizes her leadership arsenal and skills by putting the human being first before anything else. 

What elements or traits does a great leader exhibit?

A great leader is someone who can get people to buy into the vision or goals you have set. A great leader is someone who can guide others and help folks along the way. Specifically, they are strong communicators, open and accepting of people different from themselves. Great leaders are brave enough to call folks in, calm enough to call folks out and are willing to stand up for the right thing. Most important, great leaders are able to role model a holistically healthy life.

When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?

I think of Michelle and Barack Obama, Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. I also think of Bree Newsome, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa. I think of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Malala Yousafzai, Rosalind Brewer,  Cori Bush, AOC, Maxine Waters and Greta Thunberg. I listed mostly women who fight for what they believe in and don’t give up. They embody all of the traits I consider traits of great leadership and they apologize when they miss the mark.

How has your personal leadership style evolved?

My leadership style has grown the more that I evolve as a person. I think it’s less that my leadership style has evolved because it’s always been about loving everyone and putting the human first. I used to be the leader that filled everyone else’s cup prior to filling my own. These days I fill and drink from my own cup first and then help other people fill their cups too.

What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.

I currently work on the SSE team as a Student Support Coach (SSC) for SMU Lyle. In my role as an SSC, I play an important role in the transition of the students to the university, helping them build community and how they gain success from matriculation to graduation. Prior to joining Noodle, I worked for over 10  years in student support areas at universities including being in a role that focused just on online students. I was drawn to Noodle because of our mission to decrease the cost of education and because of the folks I met who spoke so highly of the organization and of our CEO, John Katzman.

How do you support the success of your team?

In addition to being an SSC, I am also on the Data Driven Strategy team and the Data subteam. I help to gather, analyze, and compile data about how well we are doing as individual coaches, within our programs, on the SSE team, and as an organization. 

Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places or experiences.

From a young age I was taught to value the differences in people and cultures. As the daughter of a Black and Jewish woman and a German and Catholic man who were always hosting international students, most people would consider my life by itself to be diverse. However, the most impactful experience for me was when I worked with international student athletes for several years. I learned bits and pieces of their languages and cultures, met their families, and traveled to their countries. The lessons I learned from those years have shaped my life.

What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?

Practicing the pause, effectively calling people in, communicating clearly, honoring the human, being data driven, taking care of myself, storytelling and knowing when to ask for help!

Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.

I’m neurodivergent and it helps me look at life differently than most people I know. Because of this I have always been “the youngest” in a group of folks doing something – I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree at 20 years old and my Master’s degree at 21 years old.

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