Laura Shackelford, M.Ed.
Laura Shackelford serves as the Director for the Career Connections Center at Texas Woman’s University. With more than 12 years of experience in higher education and human resources management and a passion for student success, Laura leads a team of 20 professional and part-time staff to cultivate a career culture at TWU. She previously worked for the University of North Texas (UNT) for nearly 4 years within the Career Center, serving in progressively higher-level roles in the department’s leadership team. Laura received her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah and has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Gonzaga University. An advocate for healthy work life integration, Laura is a proud adoptive mother to a beautiful baby boy.
Laura’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder results: Futuristic, Activator, Strategic, Learner, Arranger
Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, reading and watching British literature/miniseries, playing Nintendo Switch, kayaking, visiting Disney theme parks, and driving golf carts whenever possible.
Lucy Moran, MS.Ed., GCDF
Associate Director, Consulting and Programming
Lucy Moran serves as Associate Director, Consulting and Programming for the Career Connections Center at Texas Woman’s University. Lucy leads the consultant team with over eight years in career services in higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science in Education with a focus on student affairs, both from Indiana University. She has worked in career services at Indiana University, Queens College in Charlotte, NC and as Assistant Director of Career Services at Berry College in Mt. Berry, GA. After taking some time to be home with her children, Lucy returned to work at Frisco ISD. As her daughter was exploring colleges, Lucy felt the pull to return to higher education and to career services and found a perfect fit at TWU. For the past year, she served as Career Consultant for our Dallas campus and is now excited to lead our team of consultants to build a career culture across all TWU campuses.
Lucy and her husband, Wes, live with her son, Joshua, in Frisco where she also serves as a board member/band mom for Liberty High School Marching Band. Lucy’s daughter, Katie, is pursuing a BFA in acting at St. Edward’s University in Austin. The family enjoys hiking and being outdoors when it’s not excruciatingly hot (and it is Texas so it’s hot all the time!); “The Office” and true crime shows are a fun, less physically taxing alternative. Lucy is also an avid reader, and expert napper and collector of craft supplies.
Lucy’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder results are: Empathy, Relator, Connectedness, Input and Intellection. She loves to build relationships with students, faculty and staff and to learn everyone’s unique story.
Lucy is currently fascinated with the works of Brene Brown. “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.” This quote underscores the importance of authenticity in our lives. To truly be happy, we must learn to love ourselves as we are.
Dr. Gregory Shirley
Associate Director Employer Relations
Dr. Greg Shirley, II serves as the Associate Director for Employer Relations, Technology, & Operations at the Texas Woman’s University Career Connections Center. Dr. Shirley possesses 12 years of relevant experience in higher education, specifically in student affairs and career development. He received his Doctor of Education in Educational Administration, Emphasis in Curriculum, Supervision, and Instruction as well as his Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Paul Quinn College.
Greg’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder results are WOO, Input, Connectedness, Positivity, and Communication, so making connections and building relationships are nothing new to him! He’s an avid fan of ‘Murder, She Wrote’, considers his spirit animals to be Alvin, The Chipmunk and Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and loves to catch a workout in at the TWU FitRec Center whenever he can.
Greg favorite quote is from Charles Swindoll, and it reads, “We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
Specialities and InterestsEmployer Relations, Social Media & Professionalism, Diversity & Inclusion, Career & Professional Development, Student Affairs, Presentations and Facilitation
Jakin Vela, M.Ed.
Assistant Director Employer Relations
Jakin Vela serves as the Assistant Director for Employer Relations at the Career Connections Center at Texas Woman’s University. His diverse professional background in law, education, non-profit management, music & film, and personal development support him in his role of developing relationships with diverse employers. He is passionate about connecting TWU students and alumni to a wide range of career opportunities. Jakin earned his M.Ed in Educational Leadership (Higher Education) at Southern Methodist University, his BA in Sociology at the University of North Texas, and a Paralegal Certificate from Collin College. He’s working on his dissertation to fulfill the requirements for his PhD in Sociology at TWU.
Jakin’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder Results are: Strategic, Maximizer, Relator, Empathy, and Arranger. He likes to learn about people’s deepest desires, passions, and strengths, so he can guide them to opportunities where they will thrive and shine. After all, he was a producer and casting director for films!
Outside of career services, Jakin is an avid gamer (mainly PC & Nintendo), a social science researcher, and a singer-songwriter. His current research focuses on minority game developers and the workplace marginalization they face in the video games industry. Additionally, Jakin serves as the Secretary for Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society and as the Advisor for the Smash Brothers Alliance student organization at TWU. He also leads an LGBTQ+ online gaming community in Final Fantasy XIV with his husband Jordan.
One of Jakin’s favorite quotes is from Marie Forleo: “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” Jakin believes that we can easily lose ourselves in constant overthinking, and often times the best path toward clarity is to try things out!
Career Consultant, Denton Campus
Vianet Garza serves as the Career Consultant for the College of Health Sciences and for Exploratory students at the Career Connections Center. She is a proud first generation college student who is passionate about helping other first generation students succeed in college. She holds a Master of Science in Counseling from the University of North Texas and has 4 years of experience in professional development and career readiness.
Vianet’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder results are Empathy, Context, Connectedness, Intellection, and Developer, so if you stop by her office it is very likely she will ask for your life story. Given her love for stories, it will come to no surprise that she’s an avid podcast listener of ‘This American Life’ and ‘Story Corps’, both from NPR. She’s a Ravenclaw with a dash of Gryffindor and is still very angry that Peeves was not included in the Harry Potter movies. During school breaks, you will find her learning about different cultures as she makes it a point to travel to a different country at least twice a year – so far she’s at 10 countries.
Vianet’s favorite quote is from Martin Luther King Jr. – “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” She believes in using her voice to help others reach their life goals.
CollegesCollege of Health SciencesExploratory/Undecided
Rohit Prasad, M.Ed.
Career Consultant, Denton Campus
Rohit Prasad serves as the Career Consultant for the College of Business. Rohit is a proud first-generation student and dedicated community-minded professional with more than 1,200+ combined service hours. Along with his background in student affairs and college readiness, he also serves as an adjunct faculty member for first-time college students in the UNIV 1231 class.
Rohit’s top 5 strengths are Restorative, Relator, Responsibility, Connectedness, and Individualization. He loves to figure out complex problems and find a path forward. Having teachers that pushed him to be more is something he tries to embody in his own work with students. Outside of work, Rohit enjoys working on 3D puzzles and creating artwork. Don’t hesitate to ask him about the different works of art and mythological statues that can be found in his office.
Rohit’s favorite quote is from Batman Begins – “It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.” For Rohit, intentions, theories, ideas have no inherent value by themselves. The actions you take and the decisions you make are what make a real impact to the people and world around you.
CollegesCollege of Business
Elizabeth MacDonald. M.S., CCSP
Career Consultant, Denton Campus
Elizabeth MacDonald likes helping students find out what motivates them for career and life satisfaction. As someone who struggled with what to major in and how to start a career path, Elizabeth fully empathizes with the challenges of making career decisions while in college. She enjoys guiding students through the processes of self-discovery, strategy, and tackling obstacles. She believes that her main role is to listen and help students hear their own voice as they share their unique stories and current interests.
Elizabeth has a background in higher education, human resources administration, and social services. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and a Master of Science in Global e-Learning from Texas A&M – Commerce. In addition, she holds credentialing as a Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP) through the National Career Development Association. She currently serves as a Career Consultant to the students in the College of Arts & Sciences.
If you are ever at a flea market, thrift store, book store, or antiques mall, you might spot Elizabeth browsing the aisles for fun, exciting finds and good reads. She also likes to spend time at the beach, the lake, art galleries, the theater, tending to her flower beds, and spending time with family and friends.
CollegesCollege of Arts & Sciences
Chrissy Meek. M.A.
Career Consultant, Denton Campus
Chrissy Meek serves as the Career Consultant for the College of Nursing and the College of Professional Education at the Career Connections Center. She is a passionate counseling professional and a first generation college student. She completed her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in December 2019 and is concurrently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Counseling Psychology. Chrissy has served the mental health and college student communities since 2015 working with Denton County MHMR, Friends of the Family, the TWU Social Work Department, Veterans Affairs, and TWU Counseling and Psychological Services.
Chrissy approaches her work from a relational-cultural perspective incorporating connectedness, and student context, culture, identity, values, and goals into the consulting process. Chrissy is also a highly sensitive person and utilizes her sensitivity to connect and engage with her students and colleagues in meaningful ways. She appreciates moving artwork, calm or nostalgic (1980s) music, and mindfulness meditation. She is also a colossal Star Trek fan and will not hesitate to quote Captain Jean Luc Picard at any available moment. Chrissy also shares her Hogwarts house, Ravenclaw, with her colleague and friend, Vianet Garza.
Chrissy’s favorite modern philosopher is Brene Brown and she loves the quote, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Chrissy believes in wholehearted living and the power of connection through vulnerability and sharing our stories.
CollegesCollege of NursingCollege of Professional Education
Trevor McCray, M.A.
Career Consultant, Dallas Campus
Trevor serves as the Career Consultant assisting the Nursing, Graduate Physical Therapy, Graduate Occupational Therapy, and Graduate Business students on the Dallas campus. He is from the great state of Louisiana, where the skies are rainy and sunny, but the food and drinks flow like a river. He received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies from Northwestern State University, his master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University, and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Trevor’s top five strengths are Focus, Discipline, Command, Significance, and Relator. He inspires and empowers students to be their champion in their career endeavors.
Trevor is addicted to gummy bears and gummy worms for some odd reason, but that’s partially because he’s particular about his teeth. In his spare time, he loves to brush his teeth, learn new boxing techniques, travel randomly, shop via Amazon, juice veggies and fruits, and explore eateries.
A quote that guides Trevor is by Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
CollegesCollege of BusinessCollege of Health SciencesCollege of NursingTWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences - Dallas Center
Bryana Ortiz, M. Ed. LPC-Intern
Career Consultant, Houston Campus
Bryana Ortiz serves as the Career Consultant for the Institute of Health Sciences Career Connections Center in Houston, TX. Bryana holds a Master of Education in Counselor Education from Texas Tech University. She is in her first year as a professional, and enjoys the growth adjusting to the professional world has brought. Bryana was a career counselor intern at Texas Tech, where she found that fostering hope with college students was very inspiring and fulfilling. She was also an intern at the Lubbock County Detention Center, where she served as a counselor that helped inmates realize their worth and help them reestablish themselves in society.
Bryana’s top 5 strengths are Developer, Restorative, Connectedness, Empathy, and Responsibility, so problem solving, small victories, and making meaning are things she thoroughly enjoys. Bryana gets sucked into any crime show and movie, Law and Order: SVU and Mind Hunters are a couple to name, but only during the day time. However, Finding Nemo and A Walk to Remember will always be honorable mentions.
Bryana’s favorite quote is by Jennfier Lee, and reads “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” What sets Bryana’s soul on fire is encouraging others in their own pursuit.
CollegesCollege of Arts & SciencesCollege of BusinessCollege of Health SciencesCollege of NursingCollege of Professional EducationExploratory/UndecidedTWU Institute of Health Sciences - Houston Center
Brookelyn Bush, M.Ed.
Graduate Assistant-Employer Relations
Brookelyn is the first Graduate Assistant for Employer Relations at the Texas Woman’s University Career Connections Center. Her background is in social work and education. Within her diverse backgrounds she’s learned that her passion lies in enhancing the quality of life for others, finding a balance, and initially guide one back to a structured environment.
Brookelyn is currently pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy in Family Studies from Texas Woman’s University. She received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Science from the University of Texas at Arlington, and her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Texas Woman’s University.
Brookelyn’s strengths lie in communication, listening, problem solving, and analyzing. These strengths are vital to her because they provide wise counsel to others and allows her to have a different perspective of the world, one that helps to make sense to oneself and to other people.
Outside of school and work, Brookelyn enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, shopping, and reading a good book.
Her favorite quote is from Michele Obama which reads, “The only limit to the height of your achievement is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”