Dance Alumna Puts Best Foot Forward In Career Development
March 29, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
By Katy Belanger
Sam Houston State University alumna Shaté Hayes (’14) is a content producer and educator, passionate about storytelling to strengthen career advancement, personal growth, and community empowerment. Since receiving her MFA in Dance, Hayes now serves as an educator, author, self-confidence booster, and founder of The Working Dancer, an online career resource for aspiring artists.
Early in her dance career, she considered graduate school. After moving to Texas from LA, she gravitated toward the graduate program at SHSU, but put her application on hold when she received a dance job in Shanghai. It wasn’t until she returned to Texas that she set her sights back on grad school. The decision led to her joining the program, and eventually teaching many movement and lecture courses as a graduate teaching assistant.
“While in my final semester, I was asked to be a TA for a Career Resources class. The focus of the class was to teach career-building skills to undergrad dance majors, which is where I fell in love with career development,” said Hayes. “Because I was able to share how I'd built my career prior to grad school, a number of the students I had relationships with started coming to me with career questions. After that semester, I decided to start a blog to address some of those questions. That's how TheWorkingDancer.com was born.”
Hayes also said that her favorite accomplishments from her time at SHSU were her thesis research and concert.
“I chose a subject matter that is important to me, and the research I conducted broadened my perspective on movement and art in general. Not only that, but I absolutely loved producing my own show, which is work I plan to return to at some point in my life. I was able to develop a story and see that story come to life on stage with a beautiful all-female cast; definitely an experience I'll never forget.”
After graduation, Hayes spent time choreographing and teaching at colleges in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. She has found that her time at SHSU has made an impact in the work she does now.
“I incorporated career development into my curriculum whenever possible, and I continued building ‘The Working Dancer’ on the side. My blog posts on the site led to writing opportunities with local dance publications like Dance! North Texas, which eventually turned into writing opportunities with Dance Magazine.”
After three years of teaching, she wanted to work full-time in career development. She now works at 2U, an EdTech company, as their Manager of Career Experiences.
“Now, I get to design and develop career solutions and content every day, and I still write for dance media publications, sit on career panels for dancers, and hold career workshops and discussions for dancers and college students, which I love. Saying ‘yes’ to that TA assignment absolutely changed the trajectory of my career.”
Contact Shaté Hayes or explore what she has done here.
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