Kristy Embrack Searles–She/Her/Hers

CliftonStrengths: Input, Learner, Belief, Activator, Individualization
Character Values: Kindness, Love, Humor, Spirituality, Creativity


Master of Science, College Student Personnel, University of Rhode Island (Expected May 2024)
Bachelor of Arts, Government (Political Science), Franklin & Marshall College
Bachelor of Arts, Africana Studies, Franklin & Marshall College
Concentration, Theatre, Dance & Film, Franklin & Marshall College

Career Journey

I migrated to the United States from Georgetown, Guyana in my early childhood and settled Brooklyn, New York. I received a scholarship from the Albert G. Oliver Program for high-achieving students of color from the inner-city to attend Westtown School, a Quaker boarding college preparatory school. The Oliver Program’s mission is to support BIPOC students in navigating academic spaces through college to career. I attended Franklin & Marshall College where I double-majored in Government and Africana Studies as a first-generation student. The most impactful experiences of my college career was studying abroad back home in Guyana to research the transatlantic slave trade by the Dutch West India Company and the indentured servitude of Indians by the British empire in Guyana. I also did my internship shadowing then President Bharat Jagdeo, working specifically in the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Commerce and the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports.

Having been the beneficiary of such support to break down barriers for underrepresented and marginalized students, led me to pursue a career in access and support in academia. I began my professional journey at the University of Pennsylvania in Access & Achievement Programs and the Career Center. Recognizing the importance for funding to advance access and equity, I later transitioned to the Director of Annual Giving at Moorestown Friends School. In 2015, my husband and I moved to Rhode Island to pursue the opening of our family business, Painted Karma, where we custom build furniture and creative designs. Our brick and mortar shop is just on the edge of URI’s campus on Kingstown Road…and of course, I was drawn back to higher education! While still maintaining our business, I returned to my home in career services at the Center for Career & Experiential Education in Employer Relations/Marketing & Events at the University of Rhode Island.

Other Areas of Involvement at URI:
Adjunct Professor in the School of Education
Graduate Student, College Student Personnel
Advisor for the Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA)

When not supporting career and experiential education at URI, you will find me: In my shop designing and creating pieces that evoke joy and harmony! I am a travel enthusiast and curate pieces from international and local artisans and support their work and mission through our business. I am also trained in a classical Indian dance form called Bharatnatyam and African dance and the proud mom of two daughters who are also studying classical Indian dance called Kuchipudi. You will also find me in service as a member of the Theta Psi Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

What Strength, Value, or Personality trait do you identify with most and why? I’m a believer! Belief is the strength that is the guiding principle in my life as I am driven to action based on my values and system of beliefs. There is a strong correlation between belief and social justice and advocacy for self, others and society at large. Making a difference and doing what is right, fair and just, while ensuring that my actions are in alignment with my values and proclaim truth, are of utmost importance.