Stacia Solomon ’96
A business degree isn’t always followed by a traditional business career, as Stacia Solomon ’96 discovered. Solomon graduated from the Bryan School with a BS in management and marketing with dreams of a corporate career, but quickly decided it wasn’t the right fit. She wanted more personal interaction, and the chance to see how her work directly impacted others. That need led to the change direction from business to education.
Solomon returned to the classroom to earn her master of education degree from NC State.
Despite the change of fields, Solomon stated that, “all positions I have held in education have required me to use the marketing skills I have learned in the Bryan School.”
For Solomon, the Bryan School had an immense impact on her and where she is today. One professor who stood out was Dr. Frank Land, an international business professor. Solomon recalled that Dr. Land had a relationship with a professor in England, and the two of them “routinely switched locations.” Dr. Land was a strong advocate for study abroad, so much so that Solomon noted that “no other professor had encouraged me to do anything out of my norm in that way.” With that encouragement, Solomon spent the Spring 1995 semester attending the University of Plymouth in England. The experience gave her, she stated, “a wide worldview, something I never would have gotten had I not taken advantage of that.”
Solomon also recalled how Bryan School classes taught her skills she still uses today. For instance, she remembered several classes that students couldn’t complete successfully without working with a classmate. The experiences taught Solomon skills such as effective teamwork, communication, and even handling disappointment. On top of that, she was able to interact with students who she may have never spoken to otherwise, as they were out of her friend group. By doing this, she was able to learn about different places, ethnicities, and cultures. “There was a lot of diversity in the student population in the Bryan School,” Solomon recalled, “even in the ’90s.” Today, she uses skills she learned as a student in the Bryan School – such as delegating and problem-solving – in the workplace.
Looking back at her time as a Bryan School student, she encourages current students and recent alumni to take advantage of every situation, since “you never know how it’s going to turn out.” She also stressed how important it is to network as much as possible, even if it doesn’t seem like you have much in common with the person. And finally, she advises students and graduates alike to not be scared to leave their comfort zone. Solomon has nothing but fond memories of her time at UNCG and truly believes that “with an education from UNCG, you can literally go anywhere and do anything.”
Solomon has recently moved back to North Carolina after working in California for nearly a decade, and she is confident that the skills she has learned both from her time at the Bryan School and her employment will continue to serve her well as she joins Communities in Schools North Carolina as Vice President for Career and College Readiness.
Writer: Alison McKane ’17