Page banner: Photo collage featuring various members of the UHCL community with the words "People of UHCL" and The Signal's logo hawk on top. Photos by The Signal reporter Leena Vuor. Banner created by The Signal Managing Editor Sam Savell.

In the slideshow above, click on the arrows located at the left and right edges of each image to move forward or go back.

Image: Brandi Rygaard, math major, studying for calculus by the UHCL letters. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.

THE NOT-SO-TYPICAL STUDENTS OF UHCL

Since UHCL was originally founded as a non-traditional university, much has changed. With the addition of freshmen and sophomores has come even greater sense of diversity. So, are we the “typical” college students?

“I don’t believe we have a typical student; that’s what makes us so special!” said Interim Dean of Students David Rachita. “So I guess I’d say that our typical student is a-typical!”

Beyond all the statistics, how do the “typical” UHCL students describe themselves? When students were asked to use one word to do so, it became clear that most of us don’t see ourselves as “typical” college students.

Responses included: Committed. Determined. Driven. Creative. Passionate. Studious. Busy. Dedicated. Ambitious. Resilient. Strategic. Organized. Reliable. Smart.

Ultimately, we are the people of UHCL.

Text: People of UHCL Q&A - Inspired by the popular Humans of New York project, The Signal did some investigating to find out more about the people who embody UHCL.
Image: The Upton family: Kayla, alumna; Steve, alumnus; Kyle, current communication major; and Karen, alumna. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.

The Upton family: Kayla, alumna; Steve, alumnus; Kyle, current communication major; and Karen, alumna. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.

[vc_blockquote type="type1"] “It is such a huge achievement to have our entire family graduate and excel in using our degrees,” said Steve. “It makes me exceptionally pleased and proud to watch another member of my family succeed.” [/vc_blockquote]
Image: Ashley Gebhardt, sophomore, and Lee Ann Wheelbarger, administrative secretary for the School of Business, at the 2015 Harvest Festival. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.

Why did you choose UHCL?

“Convenience, and I wanted to be part of the first freshman class,” Gebhardt said.

Ashley Gebhardt is a student at UHCL pursuing a communication degree. She hopes to be an interior designer in the future. If she is not working hard on her studies, Gebhardt says she is out shopping, decorating her home or working. Gebhardt works in retail right now at Victoria’s Secret in Baybrook Mall.

Photo: Karen Barbier, associate director of media relations, often rides her bike to work. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.

Karen Barbier began working at UHCL in December 1999 after she graduated with her master’s degree in literature from UHCL in 1993. She was promoted to associate director of media relations Sept. 1, 2015, and says she is thrilled to work for such a kind administration and in such a wonderful environment. In her free time she enjoys staying active. Barbier often commutes to work by bike. Recently, she ran the Marine Corps marathon in Washington D.C., and during the summer she loves to spend her time out in the water and surfing.

Photo: UHCL alumna Sammi Sanders, social media specialist, Alvin Community College. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.

Sammi Sanders graduated from UHCL in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She is currently a social media specialist at Alvin Community College, where she is in charge of presenting the “do’s and don’ts” of social media on topics such as how it can affect students’ professional resumes. She also helps with campus tours and has clients outside of her job for when she does Web and graphic design. While Sanders was still attending UHCL she wrote the initial article for People of UHCL, “The not-so-typical students of UHCL.”

THE UPTON FAMILY. From left: Kayla, alumna; Steve, alumnus; Kyle, current communication major; and Karen, alumna.

Ashley Gebhardt, sophomore, and Lee Ann Wheelbarger, administrative secretary for the School of Business, at the 2015 Harvest Festival.

Image: Karen Barbier, associate director of university communications-media relations, on her bike that she rides to work by the pond. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.
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“I love the environment and I love the people. Everyone is so nice, and we have such a great administration.”

– ALUMNA & STAFF MEMBER KAREN BARBIER
Associate Director of University Communications

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Image: Sammi Sanders, UHCL Alumni sitting on a bench at Alvin Community College. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.
Image: Austin Stout, Bachelors of Fine Arts, Sculpture posing by the sculptures at the Arbor Building. Photo by The Signal reporter Kyle Upton.