(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 email@example.com, and we will consider your submission for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Story Courtesy of Stephanie Sanchez and Alice Frederick, UTSA Libraries
UTSA researchers are exploring matter at the atomic level with Helenita. It's one of the most powerful microscopes in the world, with the ability to operate near the theoretical limit of resolution. At 9 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing more than two tons, Helenita can dissect almost anything. With Helenita's resolution, researchers can study particles atom by atom to see how they behave.
That's critical in developing nanotechnology that will help diagnosis early-stage breast cancer or make helmets that are uber strong. Moreover, the detail that Helenita provides will allow nanotechnology researchers to create new therapies and treatments to fight a wide range of human diseases.
Did you know? Helenita can magnify a sample 20 million times its size, which would make a strand of human hair the size of San Antonio.
Join AIA San Antonio’s Women in Architecture group for their networking and happy hour event, where all design professionals are welcome.
Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St.
This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall
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