(Nov. 27, 2013) -- Meet Omolara-Jara Lawal. The Houston native overcame significant obstacles before finding success at UTSA.
Lara was four years old when her mother died of leukemia. Soon after, her father sent her and her three brothers to live in Nigeria with an uncle and aunt. Her oldest brother stayed in Houston with her father.
"I don't think he was overburdened but I think it would have been a lot to take care of five kids," she says.
While in Nigeria, Lara learned to speak her father's native language, Yoruba, as well as some French. She also assimilated to the region's strict cultural norms.
"There is a lot of discipline in Nigeria," she says.
After skipping the fifth and sixth grades, Lara returned to Houston at age 10.
"I was teased a little," she says. "You know kids, when they see someone they're not used to seeing."
Lawal, though, found her own world in the library.
"I love to read," gushes the UTSA business finance major.
When she started at UTSA, she says she frequently visited the John Peace Library. When she saw the library had an opening for a peer coach — student workers trained to help other students with library-related inquires — she jumped at the opportunity.
Lara says her job is exciting and rewarding because students are always thankful for assistance. Tyler Dunn, a library assistant who supervises the peer coaches, said Lara is always very helpful to students.
"Lara's outgoing personality and leadership skills make her very effective at sharing her library know-how with other students," Dunn said.
Lawal said she enjoys helping others at the Libraries, and hopes to build on her skills by working for Teach for America after she graduates.
Lara says she misses her family very much, but she hopes she's made them proud.
"I know my dad always wants what is best for me," she said.
Do you know someone in the UTSA community with a great story to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will consider your submission for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Story Courtesy of Stephanie Sanchez and Alice Frederick, UTSA Libraries
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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