As a former Lady Rebel, Kinesha Davis knows how to give her team her all to reach a common goal. She is originally from Chicago by way of Minnesota. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in kinesiology, she started her career working at her alma mater and has not looked back since.
As a project coordinator with Facilities Management, Davis works hard behind the scenes to complete projects on time and under budget. No matter what the project calls for, Davis is ready to lead by example.
Tell us about an “aha” moment you’ve had in your career.
Early on, I realized you have to remember why you are here. We are here to serve the students. It’s hard to remember that sometimes since (in facilities) we work when most students aren’t on campus. We try to stay out of the way and finish a lot of our projects without interrupting the students’ schedules. This includes working nights or ramping up a project during winter or summer breaks.
Through it all, I stay humble and be mindful. With everything that’s going on in the world, you never know what somebody is dealing with.
What is the last big project that you completed and were excited about?
We just finished the Paul McDermott Physical Education (MPE) locker rooms. The locker rooms were in need of an upgrade for the last few years. There were issues with the budget being too high that we had to work around. Thanks to the plumbers, electricians, the structural shop, Dave Coleman, and others, we got it done. That was really satisfying to see that project through to completion.
Is there anything you do to decompress after finishing a project like this?
No. For us, it is usually on to the next project. We might have our moments for downtime, but during the summer semester, we try to get things done while there are fewer students on campus. We’re already onto the next project. We’re working nights in the library upgrading the Direct Digital Control System (DDC) and fire alarm. There’s always a project that either finds us or we find it.
What made you pick kinesiology as your field of study?
I came to UNLV to play basketball. As a basketball player, I knew it was something that brought me to higher education but not something I wanted to pursue as a career. The events of 9/11 happened in the fall of my senior year and traveling abroad to play basketball wasn’t something I was interested in at that point. I knew once I finished school I would want to have a degree in a field that was respectable.
Kinesiology is the study of movement. It amazes me how much kinesiology is becoming more and more relevant. From ergonomics to how rooms and working environments affect the body. It’s all connected and very interesting to me.
What lessons have you learned from students?
Spending time in the Office of International Students and Scholars and hearing some of their stories and what they go through to pursue their education really taught me about the sacrifices students make to attend UNLV. COVID-19 threatened to remove students from the country. We have students from Ukraine who are unsure of what’s going on at home and if their family is safe. Hearing some of their situations made me put things into perspective. The things we go through like standing in line too long or someone cutting you off on the highway mean nothing compared to real-life situations many students go through. It reminds me to be thankful because what we have can be taken from us at any moment.
If you didn’t have the UNLV community, where would you be?
That depends on where I was at in my life. Back in my younger days, I probably would’ve been in a gym somewhere. Right now, it would probably be the church. I spend a lot of my time in the church helping out and doing activities with the congregation.
I oversee the food bank and set up the audio and sound for our Sunday services. We work with Three Square food bank to box meals and have giveaways for the community. On Sundays, I make sure the sound is in order for our worship services. I am all self-taught. I learned how to control the audio through trial and error. I’m happy to help out in any way possible for my church family.
What is your favorite TV show?
Unsung. I love hearing about some of my favorite R&B artists growing up and what they did to make it and where they are now in life. Other than that, I like watching the news and seeing what’s going on in the world.
Where would you go for a dream vacation?
I would go to Rome, Italy to see the history of the city. While I was there, I would head over to Paris as well. I would check out the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Go for it. If they tell you no, go knock on another door. The worst they can tell you is no. But don’t take no for an answer. Try not to be as shy and timid. And just go for it.
What advice would you give to new staff?
I would say know who you’re trying to reach. Whether you are working with students or being a liaison between students and staff, understand your role and niche and be willing to help out in whatever capacity is needed. Work to the best of your capabilities.
And, as a former UNLV student, what advice would you give to new students?
The library is your friend. I spent hours in the Lied Library and now they have amenities we didn’t have during my time as a student. Students have access to a multimedia lab and 3D printers. I think it’s pretty cool.
Go and check out a book. The feeling of a real book in hand is something we miss with all the technology that surrounds us. Also, being in the library can lead to a conversation and meeting new people. Human interaction is very important.