The Result of Grit | UMBC Student Success Stories

When you consider grit and how it helps shape success, you realize there is such opportunity for those willing to open their minds.

A Journey of Grit and Success

Rebecca Shields began her journey to UMBC after graduating with a degree in neuroscience from a small liberal arts college in New York. “I started working in the field but realized I was actually allergic to man-made rubber, and couldn’t handle the gloves that were in the labs. So, I had to really look at what else I could do. My parents, both working in the field of systems engineering, suggested that as an option. After all, it’s a booming field and truly interests me,” said Shields.

She rolled up her sleeves ready to show her true grit by enrolling in UMBC’s Systems Engineering graduate program. “I absolutely loved it.”

Shields explained that she struggled during her undergraduate program, but that struggle only helped create more grit and ultimate success. “I graduated with a 4.0 and already have a job lined up at Northrop Grumman!”

The Best Parts

When asked what she enjoyed most about the systems engineering graduate program at UMBC, she said she really enjoyed the class work and the people.

What really stuck out to Shields was the faculty. She recalls many of them going above and beyond, including Dr. Thomas Moore and Dr. Jeff Ray. “You could just see how proud Dr. Moore was of every accomplishment I did.” The faculty are experts in their field and bring that experience into the classroom. “They’re so qualified, patient, and accommodating. No matter what, no matter the time of day, they would always respond to any questions. It was really nice to have that support,” said Shields.

The best part of the Systems Engineering graduate program at UMBC for Shields was the application aspect. “You can directly apply what you’re learning into work. And, that’s what I did. And, it was great,” said Shields. “I know I can handle anything after going through this.”

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