Let’s laud our employee graduates

Let’s laud our employee graduates

By Life@TheU

Let’s laud our employee graduates

By Life@TheU
Among the thousands of students finishing a chapter of their academic careers this fall, there are a number of University of Miami employees celebrating their achievements with family and friends.

While commencement celebrations this fall might look a little different than they have in the past, the achievements of our 2020 graduating students are still ones to be lauded. Amanda Garcia, travel manager for the Department of Travel Management who earned her Masters in International Administrations this year, took a moment to reflect and share some highlights from her time as an employee and a student.

What were some of your highlights as a graduate student and University employee?

Oh my! I would say that the biggest highlight of my time here thus far has been the feeling of belonging. As an employee, I can honestly say that I have made longtime friends who push me up and empower me to keep reaching for the stars. As a student, it still shocks me how close everyone pursuing my degree was. Almost all the MAIA students were part of one WhatsApp group chat where everyone would check in on one another and share stories. It’s very empowering to learn from others.

Prior to the pandemic, I thoroughly enjoyed attending football games as a “student”—what an experience—and being able to serve as a mentor for high school students in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program as a result of being an employee.

What is a favorite UM memory? 
That is hard to choose! Aside from getting to celebrate during commencement this fall, I will say that the opportunity to travel to California, with the Frost School of Music, to meet with Capitol Records and to Atlanta to meet with a travel vendor was among my favorite memories. I can honestly say I can’t wait for our work lives to normalize again from COVID, so that more individuals can take advantage of traveling again for work. It is great to meet face-to-face with vendors and University affiliates to strengthen our relationships. I am sure plenty of others can agree.

Have you received any awards, honors, or special achievements? 
I would say a special achievement was to be promoted to my current position.

Please share any advice that you might have for employees looking to go back to school.
Stop looking for excuses to not do it; and, just do it. Even if it is one class a semester or year, you have an opportunity that many people can only dream of.

Learn more about stories and advice shared earlier this year from other 2020 employee graduates.

Interested in learning about the University employee tuition remission benefit?

Visit the Benefits Office website for more information and eligibility details.