DECEMBER 1, 2022 — It’s been a life-changing journey for Shalita Myrick, who will be the first graduate of UTSA’s new fully online Master of Science in Facility Management this fall.
Like many people, Myrick took a different path when she started college. Thinking her future was in law, she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and government at Spelman College in Atlanta before realizing law school wasn’t for her.
“I fully appreciate my journey and finding things that were not a good fit for me,” Myrick said. “I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, but the most important lesson was finding out what kind of work I wanted to do. I knew the reason I wanted to be a lawyer was because I wanted to help people.”
That mindset led her to jobs in tech and data infrastructure, roles that made her realize that seeing the tangible results of her work was also important to her. Seeing positive results gave her a sense of purpose. Ultimately, she landed on a slightly different field.
Myrick was living in California when she “fell in love with facilities management.” It was during an event for the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute that she heard a woman named Jamila Veasley speak passionately about her job in external affairs.
Myrick reached out to Veasley who worked at Kaiser Permanente, a health care provider, and applied for a job. She worked as an engineering project manager at Kaiser for more than two years before taking a similar position at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas.
“That woman was so passionate about what she did, the mission and what she brought to the table, and I remember thinking ‘I want that,’” Myrick said. “I want to feel good every day about what I am doing.”
Throughout her life, Myrick was inspired in one way or another by strong women like Veasley. She was raised mostly by her mother as her father struggled with addiction after getting out of the Navy, and she was drawn to UTSW because the director of the facilities and engineering department was a woman—a rarity, she said.
Myrick enrolled in her UTSA online master’s program in fall 2020 because she knew it would give her the added flexibility to pursue and complete her education while still making her career and personal life her top priorities. Through it all, she’s maintained a 3.77 grade point average and was awarded the 2021 International Facility Management Association Foundation Scholarship.
She has also relocated three times in the last four years, moving from California to Texas.
Recently married, her husband’s promotion took the couple from Dallas to Houston. Since her master’s program was fully online, she was able to continue advancing toward her degree requirements without interruption. She’s now working as the senior project manager for Facilities Operations at Texas Children’s Hospital.
“When I heard about UTSA’s online program, what really stood out to me was that it’s a platform where I can still gain the experience and knowledge of the wonderful staff that they had on hand for us, but also have the flexibility to live and learn wherever was best suited my life and career at the time,” she said. “That’s something I wouldn’t have had somewhere else.”
Myrick says it was fate that brought her to UTSA—mixed with a bit of courage to overcome the parameters of fear that too often keep people from striving to go beyond what’s comfortable.
“I don’t think I needed to be the first graduate of this program to feel this way but I am thankful that the timing lined up to remind me what the world could look like when you do not see limits for yourself,” she said. “Even if someone stumbles into a career, I hope they love, love what they do so much so that it adds to the joy and purpose of their life.”
Don’t know where to start in looking for a job or internship? Virtually join in a live job/internship search navigation lab-style workshop. Follow along to bookmark and save opportunities you are interested in applying for.Student Union (SU 2.02.04,) Main Campus
Don’t know where to start in looking for a job or internship? 🔍 Primary platforms utilized during this workshop are Handshake and LinkedIn. Some industry-specific job search boards may be utilized.Student Union (SU 2.02.04,) Main Campus
First Friday Stargazing gives anyone free access to the night sky using university telescopes and teaching equipment. Weather permitting, experienced astronomers will provide a handful of telescopes of varying designs, give training on how each operates, and point to various astronomical objects that may appear in the sky for that given time of the year. If you have a telescope and do not know how to operate it, feel free to bring it and get instructions on its use.4th Floor of Flawn Science Building, Main Campus
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