16:21 PM

From teacher to HR: How Valeria found her calling amidst challenges

Written by: Lauren Sawyer

After working as an elementary school teacher for five years, University of Houston- Clear Lake (UHCL) senior Valeria Garcia is graduating this fall with a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management. She said she wanted to try something different, but still serve people. She aspires to work as a corporate recruiter after graduation.

“I decided that I wanted to grow my knowledge and skills in another area. I knew I did not want to be in the classroom for the rest of my life,” Valeria said. “I love working with and helping people, so I decided to pursue my master’s degree in human resources.”

Valeria said she chose to attend UH-Clear Lake because of the convenient location, the benefit of taking courses online while working full-time and the great reviews on the Human Resource Management program.

Before attending UHCL, Valeria received her bachelor’s degree in bilingual education from The University of Rio Grande Valley, becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college. She credits her family for her success, as they contributed to igniting the flame within her. Especially her daughter, Paola, for keeping her going and being her motivation.

“My parents and in-laws are very supportive and helpful when I need them,” she said. “My husband is my backbone and is also very supportive in everything I do. I could not have achieved this milestone without them.”

She started the master’s program in August 2021 and found out she was pregnant the first week of classes.

The news did not deter Valeria from achieving her goals. If anything, it made her push harder. She was determined and fully committed to attaining her degree.

“I was pregnant, teaching fifth grade, and attending school,” she said. “My baby was born in May 2022. It was challenging taking the max number of courses while caring for a newborn, but I managed my time wisely,” she explained.

Time management played a key role in Valeria’s journey. She said sticking to a schedule was helpful when it came to juggling her responsibilities.

She added that although pursuing a degree can be tough, she encourages students to stay true to themselves, and to keep fighting through any hardship they may be facing.

“It can be hard, and sometimes it takes a village. Unfortunately, some people do not have a village to help them. But as long as you have faith in yourself and perseverance, you will be able to accomplish all of your goals,” she said. “Education is powerful, and it is something you will never regret pursuing. It is one thing no one can ever take away from you.”

For more information about UHCL’s College of Business, visit www.uhcl.edu/business/. For more information about Fall 2023 Commencement, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/commencement/.