Commencement Spotlight: Katie Willard
May 25, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
“Commencement Spotlight” is a series focused on highlighting SHSU graduates who have made remarkable strides in their lives to reach commencement day. These stories from Bearkats graduating this month, who have demonstrated a “can-do” spirit through challenges and service, remind us of the many ways Sam Houston State University is preparing students for meaningful lives of achievement. Visit today@sam/commencementspotlight to find the list of stories highlighted so far.
Degree: Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems
“I am a complete non-traditional student. Married young, both as a couple attending SHSU, working at SHSU, and moving onto full-time jobs at SHSU. Bearkats through and through, we love SHSU!”
Katie Willard currently serves as an inventory specialist with SHSU Facilities Management. She is the recipient of the Wood Matthews Scholarship Fund, the Loretta J Hankins Endowed Scholarship, the John C. and Wilma McAdams Memorial Scholarship, the Joe M. MacKenzie Scholarship, and the Jim Stevens Information Technology Scholarship.
What challenges did you face to complete your college degree?
I married my high school sweetheart at age 19, and we were completely financially independent. I worked on campus as a student worker in IT for minimum wage, while attending classes full time. My husband did the same, we struggled to make ends meet for a long time. We both did well, receiving several scholarships and recognitions. I was presented the opportunity to move to a full-time position within IT@Sam, despite not having a complete degree. I took the position while still working on my degree each semester. After 5.5 years, I graduated in May.
What future career goals do you have?
I am very interested in project management, or an analyst type position. I don’t have specific companies in mind; I work towards a good environment and healthy work life balance. Whether I find that at SHSU, or a multi-billion-dollar company matters little to me.
What will you miss most about your time as an SHSU student?
The bright spot is that most of the SHSU traditions I’ll continue to be a part of as a staff member for SHSU! The Tree of Light is a big one on the list, and the Fall Carnival is always really awesome. Parents Weekend won’t have the same ring to it, but I look forward to still being a part of campus in a different capacity!
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