/stories/2019/05/graduating-employees-spring-2019
Resilience realized—celebrating employee grads

Resilience realized—celebrating employee grads

Production Services Manager, Angie Carolina Villanueva celebrates receiving her MBA degree during the 2018 spring commencement ceremony.

Photo by Michael Montero/University of Miami

By Life@TheU

Production Services Manager, Angie Carolina Villanueva celebrates receiving her MBA degree during the 2018 spring commencement ceremony.

Photo by Michael Montero/University of Miami

Resilience realized—celebrating employee grads

By Life@TheU
Among the 4,000 graduates crossing the stage during spring commencement are University of Miami employees who will also confer their degrees. In recognition of their accomplishments, we’re sharing highlights and advice for other employees considering going back to school.

What were some highlights during your time as a student and employee?
As a student, I loved my screenwriting courses with Professor Tom Musca. He taught me everything I know about writing a compelling script and thinking through character development. My first script was such a mess, but he was enthusiastic, patient, and very encouraging. Later, I was awarded Best Script at the ’Canes Film Festival for an original pilot episode that I wrote, and the department sent me to Los Angeles as one of the winners.It was a whirlwind of an experience and a long way from my first struggles with screenwriting.

As an employee, I serve students from all walks of life—many from underrepresented or underserved communities—and I’ve actively encouraged them to apply for awards that have not only validated them, but that have changed their lives forever. I just want all of my students to know that there are limitless possibilities for growth and development outside of the traditional classroom setting, and it’s up to them to chart their trajectories.

What advice would you share with other employees who are considering going back to school?
If you are considering returning to school, just start somewhere—even if it’s just with one class. It’s easy to talk yourself out of taking courses when it feels like your life is so full with work and family obligations, but I promise you that you can make the time, and it will make you a better advisor, employee, and person.

What is your favorite UM memory?
I never thought I would be working at UM let alone receiving a degree from the University. Being born and raised in Miami, UM always seemed like the dream place to be, but unattainable for a first-generation student like me. When I was offered a job opportunity at the School of Communication I was over the moon. I received my associate degree from Miami Dade College and I thought that was the best I could do, both financially and academically. However, through the support of my supervisor, the faculty, and staff, I applied for the Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies. Four years later, I know my parents are proud that I am graduating from the place that has had a huge presence in our lives and in the lives of south Floridians. I know my favorite UM memory will be walking across the stage at commencement!

What advice would you share with other employees who are considering going back to school?
Persistence. It won’t be easy to manage work and school. You won’t want to go to class after a full day of work, but if you keep in mind that you will ultimately better yourself and your future, it will make it all worth it. Persistence is the key. Don’t give up.

What were some highlights during your time as a student and employee?
I was part of the launch of the redesigned University website, and news sites, and I constantly work on adding new features to the University’s content management system. I really enjoy working on something that is used and accessed by so many people. Teaching has also been a great experience and I really enjoy my student’s reactions when they realize what they can do with code.   

What advice would you share with other employees who are considering going back to school?
Don’t worry about the time it takes to complete. I was a little worried about how long it would take to finish because the M.F.A is 2 years and going part-time stretched it to 3.5 years but it’s been an amazing experience and I would do it all over again.   

What were some highlights during your time as a student and employee?
During my time here at the University I have been able to work with some of the most innovative and inspiring professionals I have ever met—from the vice president to our front line maintenance team. As a team we were invited to present at a facilities technology users conference and our service center was featured as a case study of service excellence. As a student, the greatest highlight for me was having the opportunity to sit and learn from the professors in my program. Each one possess a passion and a knowledge base that is so extensive it almost seems unreal.

What advice would you share with other employees who are considering going back to school?
It is never too late to go back to school. You have access to a world class institution, take advantage of it.

  

Interested in the employee tuition remission benefit?
Visit the Benefits Office website for more information and eligibility details.