Wednesday, 21 July 2021 17:20

Spring 2021 graduates

Written by

Nancy Serag-Eldin (Assistant Project Manager, Capital Projects, Houston Public Works), University of Houston

My mother, father, uncle and grandfather are/were Civil Engineers (structural and geotechnical), and my dad is all about Construction Management.  I thought I was such a rebel when I went into Chemical Engineering instead of the family field! Turns out, joke was on me because I was itching to design-build the whole time.  So I went back to school (ugh, so hard starting over at 40!) and got a degree in architecture (to satisfy my design cravings) and a master’s in construction management (to see my designs come to life in 3D). Success to me is EXCELLENCE.  As an Assistant Project Manager, that means thoroughly knowing my projects, both the big picture and the small details.  It means taking pride in the work that I do, even the non-glamorous and mundane tasks.  It’s measured not only by completing projects on time and on budget but doing that with a cohesive team that enjoys working together and would look forward to working together again.  That’s the real measure of success in my book.

My Favorite inspirational quotes are the following:

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”            -Rumi

Favorite fun quote:

“I saw that.”            -Karma


Lucia Chavarria (Staff Analyst, Houston Permitting Center, Houston Public Works), University of Houston-Downtown

I attended the University of Houston-downtown as a fulltime student taking online classes. I graduated in December 2020 with the following degree:

Bachelor of Science /Interdisciplinary Studies

Double minor in Communication and General Business

I am currently working at the Code Development office in the HPW Department. My goals are to grow and learn in the position that I was recently promoted into.  My words of encouragement are that we all face obstacles, and the important thing it to get through them. The obstacles will be a learning curve and make you grow into a resilient individual. I believe that it is possible for anyone to accomplish anything they are willing to work for. You will get out of life what you put into it.

The picture that I attached includes my daughter who also graduated with her Master’s in Education. The Burj Al Arab is in the background of the picture, it is a famous building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Bobbie Jo Taylor (Electrician Bush IAH Airport, Houston Airport System), Lone Star College

I work at Bush IAH Airport in the Electrical shop. I have been with the city for 15 years and this last spring I earned my AAS degree in Architectural Engineering Technology.

I am the first in my immediate family to achieve this goal and I am not stopping at just one degree. My plan is to go back in the fall and start on my bachelor’s degree. It will be hard and demanding but in the end it will be worth it.

Being a single mother raising my two daughters, I knew I would not be able to be there for my girls so I put my dream of getting a higher education on the back burner until 2017 when I finally decided that my time had come to start working toward my dream. I believe that everything happens for a reason and there is a time for everything. I was recognized by Lone Star College as being an older student and they gave me the opportunity to be in a commercial that will reach out to other older students or potential students. I was also recognized by the Houston Chronical for all my hard work and effort that I have done in getting my degree. Even with the typo of pay difference in the article it is very humbling to see my story in the paper and know that all the hard work was well worth it.

Thank you for the opportunity for letting me share a little bit of my story with you.


Fabian Lugo (Fixed Asset Specialist, Houston Public Works, Resources and Client Services Branch) Eastern Gateway Community College

Two years ago, I was having dinner with a friend who I feel is very intelligent.  During our dinner conversation she told me she could never understand why I didn’t have a college degree because I was one of the smartest people she knew.

We talked about me going back to school and the challenges I would face in going back, but she assured me that I would be able to do it. I mentioned that the union I am in would pay for my classes and her reply was what excuse did I have now? So, I began to look at how to apply at Eastern gateway community college online.  In the summer of 2019, I took my first class and boy was I nervous.

I was working full time, coaching a running group of 100 people three days a week, doing volunteer work for the church and dating my wife who at the time has two daughters ages 3 and 11. I myself had a 14 year old. There were nights where I said goodnight to my children and wife at 9 p.m. and stayed up till midnight or later completing my schoolwork. I spent my weekends doing schoolwork, and sometimes had to miss family events just to get in an assignment in on time.

That first semester was tough and was I nervous when grades were due because I was sure I had failed. Surprisingly, I aced all my classes and every class thereafter!! I graduated Suma Cum Laude on June 1st of 2021 with an associates’ degree in Business Management and will continue on to my bachelor’s degree after a brief pause to allow for the birth of my daughter.

Along the way I learned that I have the discipline to stick to my schedule and to hold myself accountable. These two very important things have helped me in my day to day life and work. I have been working for the city since 2016 as a senior inventory management clerk. This February I took a position at 611 Walker as a fixed assets specialist. I plan on staying with the city and continuing with my education for the foreseeable future.


Marlon Scott (Financial Analysts III, General Services Department), New England College

My name is Marlon Scott, I am a Financial Analyst III working in General Services.  I recently graduated with a master’s degree in Accounting/Forensic Accounting from New England College.  My goal is to be the best person and employee that I can be.  The future will take care of itself.  The only inspirational advice I can give to anyone is if you do not have the faith and trust in GOD and yourself no one else will.  You have to look deep into your soul and go after what you want. 


William Flowers (IAH Airside Operations Supervisor, Houston Airport System), Kansas State University

My name is William Flowers. I am an IAH Airside Operations Supervisor at Bush IAH

I graduated from Kansas State University (KSU) with a master’s degree in community development. I was looking at career paths in aviation, and I saw that planning was a nice concept that dealt with policy and design, so I wanted to take an interest in that.”  I learned to balance my time as a supervisor and the rigorous demands of my master’s program. “Working in [airport] operations is a 24-7, 365 job. Trying to do that and maintain my GPA and do all my schoolwork is like having another full-time job.” As part of my schoolwork, I conducted research on various topics on city development and how some infrastructure issues on cities affected daily living. The process typically involved writing ten pages per week to complete various projects.

I hope my community development master’s degree leads to a future career path in airport planning.


Nyake Kingue, (Customer Service Representative III, Houston Health Department) Texas Southern University

I am pleased to share with you my recent accomplishment. I am an employee at the Health Department/Vital Statistics and I recently obtained my bachelor’s degree in biology at Texas Southern University, with a minor in Chemistry on May 8th.  After successfully completing my final course in June 2021, I am expected to walk across the stage in December 2021.

During most of my time attending college, I worked full-time to support myself and help my family. I also motivated myself to balance both work and studies. It was not easy, but the challenge was worth it.  Born and raised in Cameroon, the Environmental sciences and conservation played a huge role in our community and that awakened a burning interest in the sciences.

Working and taking classes (online) was very hard, going to the library after work and on weekends, missing out on some activities were some of the things I had to give up. I had to set a balance.  Through that process, I grew, and I was able to sort my priorities. A lot of days, I didn’t think I could read another word but the thought of how far I have come kept me grounded and motivated. Before working for the City, I handled multiple jobs at the same time, was a volunteer and an Intern. This was two years ago. At the same time, it was very challenging, but I made sure it didn’t prevent me from completing what I had started. Overall, handling both was very enriching. Having been with the City for about two years now, there is a lot I have learned and that has broadened my knowledge even more.

Thanks to my family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, hearing their inspiring stories kept me grounded. Being the first child, I am grateful to have my family experience this accomplishment.

My advice to anyone looking towards attaining their goals while working, stay grounded and motivated always. Find what inspires you and what keeps you going. Discipline also plays a great role. In the end, the experience will all be worth it.

My goal is to pursue a career in the environmental health field and hopefully, to educate and to make an impact in my community.  Also, to never stop learning.


Keeysha Holmes (Administrative Coordinator Human Resources/Payroll, Housing and Community Development) Houston Baptist University

I attended the Houston Baptist University online graduate program. I received the Master of Science in Human Resource Management degree.  My inspirational thought is “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”


Dr. JoAnne Perry (Director’s Office, Learning and Development, Houston Public Works) Houston Baptist University

I attended Houston Baptist University and earned a Doctor of Education degree in Executive Educational Leadership (with honors). My goals are to continue to educate, empower and enlighten others. My inspirational thought is to set your educational endeavors and standards and go for it!

Keeysha Holmes

Keeysha Holmes, Administrative Coordinator Human Resources/Payroll, Housing and Community Development, earned a Master of Science in Human Resource Management degree from Houston Baptist University.

KSU-Grad-Pic Nyake-Kingue masters-gown Chavarria-Lpicture Keeysha Holmes