If there’s one thing Iris Garcia has learned during her time with ACU Online, it is that it’s never too late to achieve your goals. After having a family and creating a successful career for herself, Iris realized earning a Bachelor of Science in Management would polish her professional skills and open doors to future opportunities she would have otherwise not thought possible. A lot of people assume it’s an overwhelming undertaking to go back to school, but ACU Online makes it possible. The online format and structure allows Iris to manage her day-to-today affairs as a wife, mom and an employee, while still understanding the deadlines and expectations she faces as a student.
“When you step outside of your comfort zone and realize you deserve to give to yourself the value of higher education, you see that it’s never too late,” Iris said, reflecting on her own experience. “I just so happened to find it possible to do it on a platform that matched up with my core values.”
In The Family
Iris Garcia is a pastor’s wife and mom to four beautiful girls. Her husband, Edmund Garcia, is currently working on an Integrated Studies degree from ACU Online. Iris was the first out of the two to enroll with ACU. After a short time of seeing his wife proud in purple and enjoying the student experience, Edmund decided to join the Wildcat family, too.
Iris is currently in her first year, but is taking time off for her husband to finish his degree. With the flexibility that ACU Online affords, their family has been able to adjust both degree schedules to align with their individual careers and home life. “I’m just really proud of his accomplishments and can’t wait for him to walk across the stage in December,” Iris said. She plans to complete her degree sometime in the next two years to further her current position in administration.
The career benefits aren’t the only thing that brought Iris to ACU. While looking for universities, she fell in love with ACU’s Christian core values and the biblical teaching she could receive in addition to industry-based courses. She calls it a “two-in-one blessing.” One of her favorite courses so far has been her Bible 101 class. She explained that it stretches you and teaches you to go further in the word of God. By engaging with other students, establishing a relationship with her welcoming counselor and indulging in a Christian-based curriculum, Iris felt at home right away with the university.
Iris works for the Emancipation Park Conservancy, one of the oldest historical parks in Houston. The Emancipation Park Conservancy was founded by four former slaves who purchased 10 acres of land after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The park has been a place of remembrance ever since while servicing a variety of communities, schools and outreach programs. The land has been preserved through the city of Houston by a private board on which Iris serves as the executive administrative assistant and the executive director on staff. Iris was the second individual hired to help build the foundation of the conservancy and sees the role as an honor as she puts her managerial expertise to good use.
Iris joined the Emancipation Park Conservancy after extensive experience in an array of different fields including having served the White House, Pentagon and U.S. Army generals and executives. While she has filled numerous elite positions, she hopes earning a degree herself will promote her to higher levels within executive management and expand her wealth of knowledge in administration and operations so she can help small- and large-scale firms.
“I believe ACU will equip me to move forward in life and polish my professional skills through the curriculum and educational tools it provides,” Iris said. “Many times, a degree speaks louder than experience. ACU will prepare me for larger scale positions and enable me to bring more wealth to my team.”
When Iris is not spending time with her family, working, or taking classes, she loves painting in her at-home gallery and being in the kitchen. In addition to her career in administration, Iris owns a catering business, which provides weekly traditional meals from all cultures to her community. She creates weekly menus and caters parties with the help of other small businesses in the Houston area. Throughout the pandemic, Iris has been able to serve others by providing home-cooked meals to families with students learning virtually from home who don’t have time to cook.
As her husband concludes his degree program at the end of the year, Iris is eager to jump back into online education and further her expertise in the classroom to help serve her community in even bigger ways. No matter what professional level you’re at, or what age you are, it’s never too late to further your education. Check out acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300 to find out how it’s possible for you.