Very little looked familiar. Yet, this year’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (we say Nick-whistle), electronically attended by more than 700 students must be called a success. AAUW Maryland played a major role as a platinum sponsor of the always inspiring Women of Distinction (WoD) event, which several of us witnessed on 26 May.
In her opening remarks, AAUW CEO Kim Churches singled out, from a number of corporate sponsors, our state’s generosity with warm gratitude. The AAUW website also prominently displayed our sponsorship status, our state logo, and AAUW Maryland Woman of Distinction, Dr. A. Yvette Myrick, our honoree in whose name we raised the necessary funds. Kim Churches later called Dr. Myrick’s remarks “truly inspiring.” Her “authenticity and passion shone through.” Yvette, “filled with much gratitude,” called her experience “an amazing honor.”
Since joining the Baltimore Branch in 2006, Yvette has held various leadership roles at the branch level, including multiple terms as V.P. of Membership and Board Member. Yvette developed, organized and managed the “Finding Dollars for College” event held at Western High school in Baltimore for several years. This event brought out high school students and their parents, financial aid officers, guidance counselors, and school administrators, for the purpose of assisting attending students find and qualify for post high school financial aid.
Yvette is also co-creator of a blog “Thriving in Higher Education Careers” which highlights the successes of professionals in education and industry. The blog has been developed into a book, Thriving in Higher Education Careers, which she co-wrote with Dr. Estelle Young. The book is a resource for people in higher education or for anyone desiring personal growth in their career endeavors. She is currently Dean of Adult Education at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, which has a student body of over 20,000 students.
Yvette earned a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore, a Master of Science in Adult Education from Coppin State University, and a Doctor of Education Degree in Higher Education Administration from the George Washington University.
Jacki Gray’s Introductory Remarks at Women of Distinction Ceremony
Good morning President Churches, fellow AAUW members, attending NCCWSL participants, and esteemed women of distinction for year 2021, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Dr. A. Yvette Myrick, AAUW’s Maryland Woman of Distinction for 2021.
As most of us know, one of the main components of AAUW’s mission statement is education. The vast majority of people living in the United States enjoy the privilege of free public education, a basic right, that when successfully completed through 12th grade, can open doors to higher education and pathways to a multitude of career opportunities and advanced educational pursuits.
As a young girl growing up in Baltimore’s public housing projects, Yvette possessed a thirst for knowledge — so much so, that she set major goals for herself. One of those goals was to attend college. Yvette went on to graduate from the University of Baltimore with a B.S. in Business Administration, however, she did not stop there. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Adult and Continuing Education from Coppin State University, and to top that off, she obtained a doctorate in higher education from the George Washington University in 2014.
These academic achievements are significant and resulted from many long hours of commitment and sacrifice, but Yvette still found time during her academic journey to share her love of education with others. Not long after joining AAUW Baltimore in 2006, she developed, organized and hosted the “Finding Money for College” event held at Western High School in Baltimore for four straight years. This event attracted dozens of college recruiters and hundreds of college bound students. Many college graduates today have Dr. Myrick to thank for enabling them to fulfill their educational and career goals.
When Yvette accepted a job as an administrator at a college in Colorado, she still found time to impart knowledge and education to those seeking to better themselves. She has co-authored a book, Thriving in Higher Education Careers, and currently co-hosts a podcast, Thriving in Higher Education. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors such as a scholarship from the College Reading and Learning Association, recipient of a General Research grant from the University of Phoenix, and a Graduate Fellowship from the George Washington University. She has presented at conferences throughout the United States and outside the United States in places like England and Barbados. In a career for over 25 years with adult learners, she has worked in California, North Carolina, Maryland, and Colorado.
Yvette has committed her life to the pursuit of knowledge, education and advanced learning, and she has worked tirelessly, yet enthusiastically to guide others along the same path. Her motto for students, friends, co-workers and fellow AAUW members is to “Keep it moving forward, no matter what life brings your way, never give up and always think about ways to improve and grow!”
Remarks by Dr. A. Yvette Myrick
I am so honored to be selected for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) MD Women of Distinction award. I also feel blessed to have this opportunity to speak to all the amazing College Women Student Leaders. You are my inspiration. Thank you to everyone for attending the ceremony today.
I reflect back on my educational and professional journey from being born in the Baltimore City projects to today in accepting this award. Yes, it was a lot of hard work, dedication, and it did not happen overnight. In addition to that, as I reflect on my life journey and reading, talking and listening to others, there several themes that kept appearing and I would like to share those themes with everyone.
I am sure that you have heard or used a GPS when you are need directions to reach your destination. We always say GPS but what does stand GPS stand for?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System (GPS).
Instead of Global Positioning System, I want you to think of three other words that I think are some of the themes to navigating the life journey.
G instead of Global think of Goals– When I was a little girl growing up in the projects, not too many people were asking about my long and short term goals. Maybe there was a question about what I wanted to be when I grew up, but that was the extent of it. Goals to me are your vision for the future. The short term goals are milestones to help you reach you long term goals. I set SMART long term goals for myself and short term goals that were connected to my short term goals such as earning my doctoral degree, buying a house, and traveling outside the US.
P instead of Positioning think of Perseverance – Despite difficulties, challenges, obstacles, barriers, and discouragement that you may face in life, you have to persevere. As you look at me and other people that you think have it all together, just know that along the way, there are challenges and disappointments. Also, what some people call failures, I call opportunities. I actually learned more from the things that did not out work for me because I learned what not to do again. No matter what life throws your way, you have to find the strength to keep going and do not quit, keep it moving.
S instead of System think of Support – In life you need the supporters in your corner to keep you going. It could be friend, family, advisor, professor, supervisor, neighbor, or mentor. I really learned that those relationships are key to success. I would not be here if I did not have the support of one of my greatest supporters from birth, my dad. There were many other supporters such as my grandmothers (deceased), husband, stepdad, sister, nieces, family, friends, my faith is important, and organizations like AAUW and P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization). Welcome supporters from all races, backgrounds, and cultures. I could go on and on, but you get the point that it takes a village. Be your own supporter. It is okay to thank yourself when you hit those milestones. You should have fun, laugh, do Karaoke, dance, practice self-care (physical and mental).
It goes both ways, be a support for someone else.
Quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
A Quick Review
What does G stand for? Goals
What does P stand for? Perseverance
What does S stand for? Support
Utilize the GPS to navigate and reach your professional and personal destinations in your life journey.
I leave you with these final words that I say at the end of my Thriving in Higher Education podcast- I Believe in You!
Thank you again for this award.