Student Profile - Stephanie Miranda

When choosing which field to study, Nederland resident Stephanie Miranda knew she wanted to be of service to others.

“At first, I started out as pre-med and after taking the first science class, I decided that was not for me,” Miranda said. “I went on to do business and found out I really liked the banking industry. I didn’t really grow up with much so I wanted to help others learn how to manage their finances and know what to invest in.”

The senior’s desire to pursue business was confirmed when she started working at FivePoint Credit Union in Port Arthur her junior year.

Stephanie Miranda“With my job, I began as a greeter and worked my way up to a teller,” Miranda said. “I love working at my job. I get to help people open up accounts and solve budget problems while gaining experience for my profession. Also, knowing Spanish has helped me a lot with my work at the credit union. It helps me widen my range of communication and my ability to help more people.”

After graduating from Lamar in December 2014, Miranda hopes to stay with her current job and become a full-service representative for the upcoming branch in The Woodlands.

“By staying at my job, I get more valuable work experience,” she said. “Also, I want to get my master’s degree in accounting and eventually move to Houston. There are more opportunities for my profession as well as more accounting firms there. One day, I would like to move on to a bigger corporation.”

During her first semester at Lamar, Miranda focused on transitioning to college life, but she knew she wanted to be involved in something more.

“I was pretty active in high school and so I was wanting something that was going to challenge me,” she said. “I had a friend in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority who convinced me to join, but I was hesitant at first because I believed the stereotypes about sororities.”

Attracted by the diversity of the sorority, Miranda joined Alpha Chi Omega and was surprised about how quickly her initial perceptions changed.

“It was completely different than what I thought it was going to be,” she said. “You have friends that you are going to have for a lifetime. Your sisters are always there for you and supporting you.”

Now serving as president of Alpha Chi Omega, Miranda previously served in her chapter as the vice president of finance, vice president of New member Education, was on the Chapter Relations and Standards board and helped with recruitment.

“I was usually just a member and not a leader, so Alpha Chi Omega gave me the skills and confidence to become a leader,” she said. “I learned how to delegate and compromise as well as the importance of time management and patience. These are skills that transfer to the real world and ones that I use at work.”

Miranda said her involvement in Alpha Chi Omega has given her access to various opportunities.

“With Alpha Chi Omega, I have attended our leadership academy where I was given advice and taught skills that were not only applicable to the sorority, but outside as well,” she said. “I’ve also been to our Texas Executive Retreat four times, and I will be going to the Alpha Chi Omega Convention in California. There, I get to be a voice for our chapter and vote for new policies and by-laws as well as see sisters from all around the world.”

Miranda said one experience from her Alpha Chi Omega participation was life-changing.

“Last year, I received an email from the Alpha Chi Omega’s Global Service Initiative, a program that takes Alpha Chi Omega’s from all over the country and sends them to places around the world to complete service projects, and I wasn’t prepared to go,” she said. “However, when I saw the e-mail last semester advertising their Jamaica service trip, I felt like it was time to give back and to step out of my comfort zone. It was something that I needed to do for myself.”

With a desire to help others and encouragement from her sorority advisor, Miranda applied for the program and was shocked to discover that she was one of 18 applicants selected from the thousands who applied for the trip.

“When applying, I knew even if I didn’t get it, I would still be pretty proud of myself for applying,” she said. “It gave me a boost of confidence to be selected and reminded me that I should give myself more credit than what I do.”

After arriving in Jamaica, Miranda met fellow Alpha Chi Omega’s from around the country and bonded over the task of helping others.

“Although we were all from different states, we all had gone to Jamaica for a purpose and that was to serve others,” she said. “The one thing that had brought us all together was the one thing that would make our bond stronger that week. We were able to share stories and compare how we do things differently in our sororities. From this trip, I brought back tips and strategies on how I can improve things in my sorority.”

One of the first service projects Miranda worked on while in Jamaica was the Ketto Early Childhood Institute.

“Myself and the 17 other girls worked on Ketto for two days,” she said. “The paint was disintegrating and a part of the foundation was breaking down. If they didn’t get it fixed, the school was going to shut down. We went in and painted the entire inside of the school and also knocked down the wall with foundation issues. It took 18 girls two days to do what would have taken the school three weeks to do.”

When working on the second service project in Jamaica, Miranda said people from the town gathered to help them repaint the school.

“The little kids were so excited that they ran up and hugged us,” she said. “The townspeople told us our work was appreciated. I was so inspired by their positivity. I learned their motto, that there are ‘no problems, just situations’.”

Miranda said the service trip to Jamaica opened her mind and made her more persevering.

“It really made me recognize that this is not the only time I can help others,” she said. “After the trip, I appreciate so much more what I have and realize nothing is impossible. I came to help them, but they ended up making me a better person.”

Before Miranda came to Lamar, she planned on eventually transferring to another university, but after entering Lamar, she knew that it was where she belonged.

“Although I did my research before attending Lamar and knew that their business school was good, I came to Lamar initially because it was closer to home,” she said. “However, I ended up loving it here and staying. Lamar helped me accomplish more.”

While attending Lamar, Miranda said she has encountered numerous opportunities.

“Particularly now since I’m preparing to graduate, I have utilized the Department of Career and Testing Services,” she said. “I like to attend the workshops that provide different speakers. They motivate me to keep reaching for my goals and help me improve my resume.”

Miranda said she believes her Lamar education has prepared her for future endeavors.

“It gave me the necessary skills I will need for my career,” she said. “The teachers are well-rounded and really want to prepare you for the real world. It opened my eyes to what will be expected of me.”