Cassie Howell (she/her)
Development & Data Manager
Raised in a low-income household by parents who worked tirelessly to open and grow their own company, Cassie has personal understanding of the drive and persistence it takes for improving yourself through education and hard work. One parent enrolled in and completed college when Cassie was in elementary school, and the other earned a GED while working, after dropping out of high school. Both found passion and purpose in learning and hard work, and have instilled that in their children. Cassie is enthusiastic to share this passion with other first generation students who also want equal access to education and career opportunities.
With experience in business operations and a passion for public service, Cassie has worked in many fields. Before Access Opportunity, Cassie worked at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and the Southeast Museum of Photography. She also spent time as a graduate counselor at an international study abroad center, and has experience in the sweaty side of construction.
Cassie received her BS in Psychology from the University of Florida with a minor in Business. She also spent some of her undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she loved being a part of the NC Fellows, a leadership development group of diverse individuals.
Cassie enjoys many introverted hobbies like reading, yoga, creating pottery or stained glass, photography, and playing music. More than anything else, Cassie feels most at home in nature - hiking along a stream in the mountains with her son and dog.
Favorite College Experience: "Studying abroad in London. Setting off on foreign city streets, wandering and exploring for hours, trying new foods. Delving into new cultures, stepping outside my comfort zone, embracing differences. And the theater. ALL the theater!"
Advice for High School and College Students: "Take time getting to really know yourself and what you would love to spend your days doing. Work is easiest when it doesn't feel like work - but when it feels like a purpose. Keep your mind and options open, and make room for fun. Take breaks, breathe, exercise, find some people who support you, and find a way to help others."
Favorite Food: "It's a multi-way tie between sushi, Indian, and Mexican food. But I absolutely can't go a day without dark chocolate."