An interview with Lonnie Woods III, the ARAD Professional Development Coordinator


Lonnie Woods III is an artist, educator and student affairs professional who is dedicated to the professional and academic development of art students. Lonnie brings extensive experience in art student advising, professional development coaching and program facilitation. Lonnie has held academic and career advising roles at NYU and The George Washington University in Washington D.C. Lonnie currently serves as lead instructor for the Brooklyn Arts and Culture Program which is an emerging arts administrator internship program for high school students hosted at the Brooklyn Academy of Art (BAM). Lonnie received a B.S. in Fine Art Photography from Towson University and holds a MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs from NYU.

Could you please tell us a little more about yourself?

Well, I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and I studied Fine Art Photography at Towson University in Maryland. After finishing my  undergraduate studies I started a role in Housing and Residence Life at The Maryland Institute College of Art and Design IMG_0619(MICA). That role at MICA solidified my career path because I realized that I loved working at the intersection of art, education and student services.  After two years
working at MICA I moved to NYC to complete my MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs. During undergrad and grad school I completed several internships  at colleges and universities. Working as a resident director in grad school revealed my love for advising students on personal and academic matters, which sparked my interest in career development. It was an organic next step in my career because 1) I loved professional development and 2) I had a bit of leverage because of my internship experience at the Career Center an NYU during graduate school.

After NYU I took on various roles in career development, teaching and academic advising in DC and New York City. My love for professional development, helping students make a plan to achieve their goals led me to the PDC role.

What excites you most about your new position as professional development coordinator?

Professional development has always come naturally to me, but I have realized that there is a science to it and I am excited to share my professional development hacks  with ARAD students. I am excited to learn more about the ARAD student’s career goals so that I can create opportunities to meet their unique needs.

As you help students with their internships, we would love to hear about an internship opportunity that was really helpful and memorable for you. What were some of your takeaways from the opportunities?

I would have to say my Internship at the Wasserman Career Center at NYU during grad school.  This opportunity came about because of a professional motto that I often share with students, which is to “always ask questions, always advocate for yourself, always respectfully inquire”.

I started at the career center as a peer resume review volunteer, and one day I asked my then-supervisor if the center had ever hosted interns. To my surprise the center had not hosted interns in the past, however due to my strong work ethic and professional building skills a position was created.

Through the internship I learned:
-how to give students quality service in a fast paced environment (reviewing resumes in 10 minutes!),
– the power of intentional strategic volunteer experience
– Positions can be created for you as long as an influential leader knows you and understands your potential
-how important it is to speak up and ask questions at work, because without doing so you can miss out on major opportunities
              photo collage by Lonnie Woods
How do you spend your time outside of TC?

After work you can find me creating content for my lifestyle blog so I am constantly writing, taking photos, cooking and listening to music. I am half-homebody, half-social butterfly…some days I enjoy redecorating my apartment and binging YouTube and others I am going on trips or exploring the city (back when we were allowed to).

Thank you, Lonnie, we are excited to have you as part of the ARAD program!

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