UHV junior uses internship to gain health leadership experience

University of Houston-Victoria junior Skyelar Laqua wants to make a difference within the healthcare industry as an administrator.

Skyelar Laqua

Laqua, a 21-year-old Victoria resident, is majoring in business administration with a concentration in healthcare administration. She also is interning with the Victoria County Public Health Department.

Laqua attended Victoria College for two years, taking her basic courses. Transferring to UHV was not a difficult choice.

“I applied to Sam Houston State University but later decided UHV was a much better fit,” she said. “I did not want to leave Victoria. I like being close to home. UHV has a good program, and I love the professors. The education is awesome. It’s like you get the bigger university feel, but it is on a smaller scale.”

Laqua’s initial career interest was interior design.

“I did a complete turn and decided to do something else,” she said. “I wanted to work in a hospital or a nursing home environment, but I did not want to go to medical school. With this, I could still help people but from behind the scenes.”

This semester, Laqua is taking two healthcare administration classes, a management class and a professional writing class. Her favorite class so far was a course in strategic healthcare planning.

“I got a sense of what I will be doing when I finish school,” she said. “That one has given me the best idea of what my job would entail in that field.”

Laqua said she owed her enthusiasm for the class to Michelle Ruiz, a UHV assistant professor of management.

“Dr. Ruiz encourages us to do everything on our own,” Laqua said. “In strategic planning, we were given our own free reign for our plan design and what we thought would be occur if we ever had to implement a plan like that.”

Laqua made the Deans’ List last fall.

“It felt really good to make the list,” she said. “I study hard, and having that kind of reward makes it all worth it.”

As an intern, Laqua coordinates social media for the partners involved in the Health Department’s Active Living Plan, FitVic.

Laqua met with several FitVic partners – Citizens Medical Center, Hospice of South Texas, Boys & Girls Club of Victoria, YMCA of the Golden Crescent and Yoga Chicks – to help orientate them with the program.

“We just planted community gardens so people can learn how to develop healthy eating habits,” she said. “Victoria residents can take a healthy eating class about how to cook healthy. The department is advocating for a bike lane on Red River Street that would help students. The main point is to get Victoria into that healthy-living lifestyle.”

Laqua said her internship is providing connection-building opportunities.

“I am getting to meet all the different people,” she said. “The Health Department is not a hospital, but I’m getting experience with everything.”

Laqua plans to graduate in spring 2018 and apply to graduate school to get her Master of Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare. She plans to leave her mark on the healthcare industry.

“Eventually, I hope I can be in a director position or the CEO of a hospital,” she said. “I want to make patients’ lives a little easier. I want to make the connection between the patient and the doctor better.”

I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.

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.