Friday, September 04, 2015

Meet a Roadrunner: Love of Reading Brings Houston Native to UTSA Libraries

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Lara Lawal

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(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.

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Do you know someone in the UTSA community with a great story to share? Email us at social@utsa.edu, and we will consider your submission for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.

Story Courtesy of Stephanie Sanchez and Alice Frederick, UTSA Libraries

 

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

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.

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Events
Sept. 7, All Day

Labor Day Holiday

All campuses will be closed for the Labor Day holiday.
All Campuses

Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m.

Architecture Connects

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s 2015-16 Speaker Series begins Sept. 9 with Toshiko Mori, the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and principal of Manhattan-based Toshiko Mori Architect.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus

Sept. 12, 11 a.m.

UTSA Football vs. Kansas State

Cheer on the UTSA Roadrunners at their home-opener against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St.

Sept. 15, 5:30 - 7 p.m.

Changing the Conversation: Recovery Works!

As part of National Recovery Month, a panel of substance abuse practitioners and members of the recovery community will discuss issues related to substance abuse treatment and recovery.
Durango Building 1.124 (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Sept. 24, 6 p.m.

The Power of Story in the Landscape of Memory and Identity

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development will host award-winning children’s author and illustrator Yuyi Morales. Morales will share personal stories that have influenced her work as an author and illustrator.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus

Oct. 5, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Civic Engagement Summit

This summit is an opportunity to showcase and share the variety of community engagement activities of UTSA students, faculty, and staff. The summit is currently accepting proposals for poster presentations. The Call for Posters deadline is Friday, Sept. 11.
University Center Denman Room (2.01.28), Main Campus


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