WGU Texas Strategic Partnerships Manager Ivette Morales shared how family values of hard work and education made an impact on her from a young age. Ivette recently graduated with her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from WGU after becoming the first person in her family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. To celebrate Women’s History Month, Ivette shares how her mother and grandmother influenced and helped her overcome obstacles to achieve her education goals.
Share a bit about your background—work, family, career, goals.
I come from a family of persevering immigrants who instilled in me the importance of hard work and education. My grandparents came from Mexico with little to no education seeking opportunities for our family. One of my fondest memories is my grandmother, Manuela, crying with me about how important education is and how she wished she could have gone to school. She lost her mom at the age of four and had to take on the household duties with her six-year-old sister, and was not able to attend school. My grandparents passed on to my mother these important lessons, and she passed them down to me. My mother believed in my abilities, encouraging me to finish any program I started.
It may have taken me longer than I wanted, but I became the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and I wasn’t going to stop there. I pursued and completed a master’s degree in Communication and Media studies. With my education, I was able to start my career with Western Governors University. It feels like I have come full circle, from a yearning to fulfill my education to help others like me pursue theirs. I was also able to complete my MBA in a year, which I never thought would be possible. Perhaps my biggest accomplishment is having my picture on my grandmother’s wall along with all my cousins and siblings who followed suit.
How did you learn about WGU Texas and why did you choose our university?
The very first time I heard about WGU Texas was when a recruiter from WGU contacted me about an employment opportunity. We talked about all the great things WGU had to offer students and quite honestly, I found it too good to be true. I politely agreed to the first interview and proceeded to do my research. Turns out, it was all true and I could not wait to start my career as a Strategic Partnerships Manager with WGU Texas. After a couple of months, I knew I found a place where I could grow and continue to pursue my goal of obtaining my Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
What made you decide to get your degree at this point in your life?
My education and career have led me in so many different directions. In my career, one thing has remained constant: things change, and you must adapt to succeed. I initially wanted to pursue my MBA before obtaining my master's in communication and media studies, but I lacked the confidence. Once I started my career and witnessed how WGU Texas was student-centric, competency-based, and provided students with an abundance of resources, I felt confident that I too was ready to take on the MBA program.
Was your mentor important to your success? Did your mentor help you overcome any obstacles on the way to completing your degree; can you share a specific anecdote about that?
My mentor played a great part in my success. We were in contact throughout the program and she provided guidance, assistance, and support with all my questions or concerns. As I progressed through my program during the COVID pandemic, she would send me congratulatory emails after each course. This served as an encouragement to continue to push through my courses.
If applicable, how was WGU Texas different than your other college experiences?
WGU Texas offered the flexibility that I did not receive with my previous college experience. It was great to be able to learn at my own pace, and not have to worry about parking. The flexibility provided by the competency-based model served as a motivator to graduate sooner.
Now that you’ve finished your degree, what are your career plans?
I look forward to growing with WGU and applying everything I learned in my MBA program to my current position. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spread the message of WGU Texas and help others achieve their educational goals.
Were there any barriers you’ve had to overcome (education, career)? How important is an education in your family and who were your influencers, cheerleaders, and supporters?
The biggest barriers I had to overcome would be balancing my children, work-life, and pursuit of higher education. Having had my first child very young, it was important for me to work and provide for my family. Since I entered the workforce before I graduated high school, I was often met with jobs that required many hours to receive a decent paycheck. This experience served as a reminder of just how important completing my education was. With WGU Texas, I did not worry about missing work or taking time off to attend class or take exams. With the support of my family, most of all my mom, I was able to accomplish my educational goals.
Can you share your future career and life goals?
As of now, I feel that I have found my calling with WGU Texas. I truly wish to continue with WGU Texas in the future. I hope to reach as many potential students who need the right information and encouragement to start or finish their higher education programs.