September 8, 2022

‘Last Chance U’ Star Brittany Wagner Hired as Director of the UM's Grainger Center for Professional Development

Brittany Wagner, star of the hit original docuseries, “Last Chance U” on Netflix, has been hired as director of the Grainger Center for Professional Development and as a full-time instructor and advisor in the University of Montevallo’s Stephens College of Business.

She started this fall.

“We wanted to bring her in full-time because her expertise in the sports field allows her to manage our sports business minor,” said Dr. Amiee Mellon, interim dean and associate professor of business. “Her connections, professional coaching and speaking are skills that will benefit UM students in the Grainger Center’s activities and outcomes.”

Wagner was formerly an adjunct professor teaching sports management courses for UM. In 2017, she started a company, “10 Thousand Pencils,” where she travels the country as a motivational speaker and consultant for K-12 schools and universities, with a specific focus on at-risk students and athletic programs.

She has more than 15 years of experience as an academic advisor and has helped more than 200 student-athletes academically qualify for nationally respected NCAA Division I schools.

“I honestly never saw myself in this arena,” Wagner said. “I’ve always been on the athletic and advising side, but when I started as adjunct, I found I had a passion for teaching and immediately fell in love with it.”

“The Grainger Center is a new venture that allows me to get back to my roots of really getting to know the students and working with them on a one-on-one basis, which is really exciting to me.”

Wagner is teaching an introduction to business course for freshmen, which will allow her to get to know students during their freshmen year and work with them through their senior year in the job placement process.

The Grainger Center was originally started by Executive in Residence Bill Hamer, and soon after led by its former director, Dr. Gary Johnson, to help with job placement by assisting students with résumé building and interviewing skills. More than 600 students were helped by the center in the four years.

The center is now open to all business students.

“Moving forward, the purpose of the center will be to help these students with their overall development, personal and professional,” Wagner said. “It’s meeting them where they are and moving them forward.”

Wagner is originally from Clinton, Mississippi, and has lived in Birmingham for the past four years. She has a bachelor’s degree in sport communication and a master’s degree in sport administration from Mississippi State University.

She is the author of the book, “Next Chance You,” released in September 2021.