Desirae Harper-Payne, a senior and Spanish major at the University of Louisville, cultivated a deep passion for speaking Spanish and learning about the culture at a young age.
“In elementary school, it was a requirement to take Spanish and I have been interested in speaking Spanish and learning about culture ever since,” said Desirae, who joined the Metropolitan College program in Spring 2019.
As a frontline supervisor at UPS, Desirae has embraced the opportunity to work with many of the Spanish-speaking employees in the operation, practicing Spanish and gaining fluency and confidence in the language.
Outside of UPS, Desirae is extremely involved on campus and in the community.
Currently, Desirae is the Spanish Club president and has volunteered at La Casita Center, a non-profit organization that helps to enhance the well-being of Louisville's Latinx community through education, empowerment, advocacy, and wellness.
In 2019, Desirae traveled to Panama through a study abroad program at the university and had the opportunity to immerse in the culture, volunteer at an orphanage, and go on many excursions.
Desirae’s commitment to academic excellence and career pursuits has not gone without recognition. This spring, Desirae received a nomination for the 2021 Outstanding Metropolitan College Student Award, an award that recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding leadership, work-life balance, and academic success.
Set to graduate in the spring of 2022, Desirae aims to become a Spanish translator and then open a multicultural arts center.
Learn more about Desirae Harper-Payne in this Metropolitan College Spotlight Q&A Interview and Video
Video Produced By: Renecia Griffie Davis
Music in this video:
Song Artist: Scott Holmes Music
Song Title: Dream Come True
What inspired you to participate in the MC program?
I decided to participate in the MC program because I wanted to become a part of a group with like-minded individuals and be able to network with those individuals, so that I could develop into the best form of myself and help other people as well.
What has been your biggest challenge as a MC participant and how did you overcome this challenges?
My biggest challenge as an MC participant has been learning how to communicate with people. I have learned that there is no uniform way of communicating with people and sometimes I have to adapt to peoples' styles. This has allowed me to communicate better with people that are in different age groups and people that come from different backgrounds than myself.
What motivates and drives you to succeed while pursuing your educational goals?
What motivates and drives me to succeed to pursue my education or degree is knowing that I can go to work every night and I am going to be putting my degree to use every night that I go out to my work area. It makes me feel comfortable knowing that I am helping people that do not yet feel comfortable enough with English. I practice Spanish with my employees, and they practice English with me.
How has working at UPS contributed to your personal and professional growth?
Working at UPS, especially in the supervisor position , has allowed me to be more confident in my decision-making skills, display responsibility by paying close attention, incorporate good listening skills into work in a fast paced, changing environment and it has allowed me to learn how to be reliable and patient when working with others.
What person(s) has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My 9-year-old niece and my former Full-Time supervisor have been the biggest influences in my life. My niece always tells me that one day she wants to be just like me. She looks at me as a mother figure. The decisions that I make impact her directly because what she sees me doing, she will want to emulate. My former Full-Time supervisor taught me that perception becomes reality. When I start to doubt myself, I remember to manifest my confidence and to speak things into existence.
What advice do you have for students interested in the MC program?
The advice that I have for students interested in the MC program is to not let the big fast-paced work environment scare them. UPS is a place where you can make lifetime friends no matter how young or old you are. There are a plethora of individuals that have unique skills, and when we come together we make a great team.
What is an interesting or fun fact about yourself?
I have been to El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama. I am left-handed, I am very charismatic, and I am artistic.
We are proud of our current students and alumni and their incredible accomplishments! The MC Spotlight is a way for us to highlight the amazing things our current students and alumni are doing. As you read their stories, you will learn how their Metropolitan College experiences helped to shape their futures and influence their careers.
We are always on the lookout for inspiring MC Spotlight stories. If you or someone you know is interested in sharing a story with us, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: At Metropolitan College, we consider our alumni anyone who has ever completed coursework and received tuition benefits with us.
“UPS has enhanced my leadership skills and communication skills. Those are the skills I will need in the social work industry, and I feel well prepared.”
"The Metro College program has allowed me to go through college without worrying about my financial needs and the academic bonuses you receive at the end of the semester are truly amazing!"