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As Houston deals with catastrophic flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a UT admissions recruiter in that Texas city is still on the job—offering her support to both prospective students in Houston and students she helped bring to Knoxville.

Monica Thompson has been UT’s admissions recruiter in Houston since August 2016. In that short amount of time, she’s helped a number of Houston area students find their way to UT.

The flood has interrupted her routine of visiting schools, so she’s doing what she can to offer the support of the Volunteer family to those who need help.

“Less than a mile from me there has been extreme devastation, and nearby neighborhoods experienced mandatory evacuations.” she said. “All Houston metro area independent school districts have canceled class at least through Labor Day. There are many businesses, homes, and schools under water, so we have no idea when the schools will open back up—let alone be ready for college reps to come visit.”

“Going through this storm has been surreal. To have a storm not only be completely unpredictable but drop unprecedented amounts of rainfall is terrifying.”

Thompson said she’s tried to reach out to UT students she helped recruit.

“I am pretty much on standby at this point, waiting for Houston area schools to get back to a semi-normal routine. So I have reached out to the students who are currently on campus from the Houston metro area, letting them know that I am a resource for their families if they are in need,” she said. “Some of these families have to start over, and I just want to support them in any way that I can. I want them to truly know that the Volunteers are a family, and family takes care of family.”

Last recruitment season, Thompson visited about 70 schools in the southeast Texas region, about 60 of which were in the Houston metro area.

“The increased high school graduation rate in Texas, coupled with the increased competitiveness and cost of admissions to in-state schools, has created a great opportunity for Tennessee to recruit students in this area,” she said. “Families are looking for comparable out-of-state options, and we are a great fit for many of the students.

“With over 300 high schools in the Houston metro area alone, there is an inexhaustible amount of students to recruit.”