(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
UTSA students and the San Antonio community are invited to this event where people shave their head and raise money to fight childhood cancer.
Student Union Lawn, Main Campus
The former curator of literary collections for The Huntington Library will share Secrets from the Stacks: Untold Stories of Collecting the Papers of Contemporary Authors. Lecture is free and open to the public.
John Peace Library (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
Come learn about Korea and its culture through food tasting, music, dance and percussion performance, games, arts, crafts, presentations and more.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Teams of four hit the links for a day of golf that supports UTSA scholarships.
Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio
President Taylor Eighmy invites all UTSA students to "Pizza With The Prez." Come grab a slice of pizza and take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President.
Student Union Ski Lodge Patio, Main Campus
The UTSA Housekeeping Staff’s Erlinda’s Wish Program members created a collection of cookbooks that are being added to the UTSA Libraries Special Collections Mexican Cookbook Collection. Meet the contributors to the collection and sample recipes.
John Peace Library Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
As part of San Antonio's tricentennial, UTSA will celebrate San Antonio's Founder's day with Historic Futures - A Taste of Folklife. The free event will showcase the diverse and rich heritage of San Antonio through a variety of music, dance and international cuisine.
Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
Help raise money for UTSA staff scholarships. Individuals and teams - sign up now for this fun bowling activity. Family and friends are welcome.
University Bowl, 12332 W. IH-10, San Antonio
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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.