By Diana Morose
As a busy student too focused on your assignments and your future, you may not realize there are hundreds of Barry alumni who work on campus.
Meet our very own alumna Shaunelle Wall-Marshall. She has been a part of Barry for over 20 years starting as an international student from Trinidad and Tobago in 2002. She quickly became involved on campus and made Miami her home away from home. Having been captain of the football team at her high school, the Holy Name Convent, her leadership has brought her far to her current position as Associate Vice President in Institutional Advancement here at Barry.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2006, she earned her master’s in human resources development two years later and is currently writing her dissertation for her doctorate with a specialization in higher education administration.
She was member of the Trinidad and Tobago Student Association and a resident assistant for over two and half years. Faculty noticed how involved she was and recognized her leadership qualities by offering a graduate assistantship for her master’s here at Barry to become a graduate assistant for Residential Life.
One of the most impactful memories of her undergraduate years was during Hurricane Wilma in 2005, where she spent around three or four days in the library. She recalls what it was like being a residential assistant (RA) during that time.
“All the RAs had three-hour shifts that they had to rotate through and check on the students who were going stir crazy because they're just trapped in the library, and I thought that I couldn't do this anymore,” states Wall-Marshall.
She mentions that the experience left her traumatized, making her want to pivot away from the current career path she was going toward. Wall-Marshall was led to the Career Center to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. As luck would have it, the Career Center opened and offered her a job as a career counselor, leading her to become a part-time instructor for Career Readiness and First Year Experience classes.
“It was the best thing that ever happened [to me]. The things that I learned there, I realized that I was passionate about, and it wasn't something that I ever thought about doing. I never once said I wanted to grow up to be a career counselor. It was just that hurricane. Then it turned into a 16-year career that I absolutely loved and adored,” she said.
Wall-Marshall said it was difficult transitioning from student to working professional, especially after staying in the same place. Having graduated so recently, she would walk into a classroom on the first day and be reminded of the small age gap between her and the room full of juniors and seniors. It was a lot to juggle, but she eventually learned how to build relationships and assert her authority.
“Everything that I didn't know, [the Career Center] taught me, and they made sure that I knew the material and that I was comfortable with it,” said Wall-Marshall. “And once you know what you're doing, and what you're talking about, students see that, and the respect is naturally there.”
From this transition period, she remembered a funny moment with a former worker of the maintenance staff.
“There was this one particular guy, his name was Pedro—he's not here anymore. But one day, I was walking across campus, and he pulled me aside and he said, ‘Honey, when are you going to graduate? It's been a long time. You have to do your homework.,’” she said chuckling, reminiscing.
Her advice to students working on their career: you get from it what you put into it. Students should take advantage of all the resources available to them and learn to advocate for themselves and what they want. Grind for something you are passionate about and not simply the career offering the most money.
“When you find a job that you find purpose and meaning in, those are the jobs that you're happy going to work to every morning,” she said.