Outstanding business student plans to help communities prosper
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Meredith Bridges was getting ready to start student teaching so she could become a teacher. However, once the schools shut down, all student teaching was suspended, and she decided to find a new plan for her career.
Now, Bridges is preparing to graduate on May 14 with a Master of Science in entrepreneurship and economic development from the University of Houston-Victoria College of Business with a goal to work in community development in the future. She was also named the Outstanding Graduate Student for the business school. Salvador Francis Palma of Houston was named the Outstanding Undergraduate Student.
“Receiving this award was such a welcome surprise,” said Bridges, a native of Cypress. “It’s rejuvenated me and helped me find the energy to get through this last semester. The past two years have been some crazy times, and being in UHV’s online program has helped me feel connected to the world.”
Each semester, faculty from UHV’s four colleges select outstanding graduates to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold two spring graduation ceremonies on May 14 at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the colleges of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and Natural & Applied Science. The 3 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the colleges of Business and Education & Health Professions. A live-streaming broadcast of the ceremonies will be available at www.uhv.edu/graduation.
“Meredith is a great student who did an outstanding job in my class,” said David Summers, UHV associate professor of entrepreneurship. “She will do well in community economy building. I am excited for her and wish her all the best.”
Bridges chose to pursue a degree in entrepreneurship and economic development because she had considered owning her own business in the past, she said. However, as she took more classes and better understood how economic development works, she decided she would rather help communities build their economies.
“We read a lot of articles in class about how communities can come together to revitalize their economies,” she said. “I loved learning about that, and now my dream job is to work in a Main Street development office and help a community grow in new and exciting ways.”
In addition to helping her find a new direction for her career, her time taking online classes also helped Bridges to cope with some difficult times at home. During the pandemic, she gave birth to her third child. She had some post-partum difficulties that resulted in a hospital stay, and her school work gave her something to focus on other than her problems, she said.
At the same time, her husband was working as a resident in a local hospital, which meant he was working about 80 hours a week. However, between help from her parents, who helped take care of the children, encouragement from her husband, and working on her classwork while staying up late at night to feed and care for the new baby, she was able to complete her degree in just two years.
“I’m grateful to everyone in my family for their support and encouragement,” Bridges said. “My parents never hesitated to take the kids for a weekend or even a whole week to help, and my husband has always given me amazing support. He’s never complained about how much time I had to devote to studying or anything. I couldn’t have done it without their help.”
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.