For the past 13 years, Shelby Cearley has served the people at Texas Tech University. She began working there as an intern while she was earning her undergraduate degree, and after spending time as an adjunct instructor in speech communication for South Plains College, she returned to the university. To prepare for her career, she received a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies in 2003, and is currently completing a Master of Arts in communication studies from Texas Tech University.
Ms. Cearley has held her current position since she developed it four years ago in an effort to professionalize the office. She also single-handedly reclassified all of the positions that exist within the graduate admissions office. Developing her position remains one of her greatest career accomplishments to this day. A graduate of the NAFSA Academy for International Education (Class IV), Ms. Cearley has presented several admissions- and credentials-related sessions at regional and national conferences, and was chosen as a delegate for the 2007 Baden-Wurttemberg Seminar in Stuttgart, Germany. She is also very active in the Association of Metroplex International Educators and Liaison for NAFSA Region III, RAP and Admissions. Furthermore, Ms. Cearley is a member of the Texas International Education Specialists, the Association of Metroplex International Educators, The Association of International Credential Evaluation Professionals, the Modern Language Association, the Texas Community College Teachers Association, and The International Women’s Leadership Association.
Over the course of her journey, Ms. Cearley has been inspired by her maternal grandfather, who was unable to follow his dreams of going to college and becoming a professor because he had to take care of his family. He eventually became a successful entrepreneur, but always instilled the value of education into his family. Similarly, both her parents were educators. Her father was a professor in college, and her mother received a doctorate degree in English and technical writing while raising a family, which she then used to teach at a community college for 40 years.
Looking to the future, Ms. Cearley hopes to soon finish her master’s degree, and then start a doctoral program, potentially in international education. She is currently being groomed for a higher position as well, and she hopes to take it on when the time is right. Her career in higher education has been recognized with the Award for Outstanding Service for NAFSA, Region III and 2012’s Campus International Action Award.
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