Sonya Over – Staff Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce Sonya Over, our very own Financial Aid Advisor!

Sonya’s professional journey began back in 1993 when she graduated Summa Cum Laude from California University of Pennsylvania. She worked hard also to pass the CPA exam in May of 1993.

Before landing at United Career Institute, Sonya held a few different positions. She worked as a finance director with public housing for 10 years, a business manager with the local school district for five years. She was an executive director for a drug and alcohol recovery center for five years. Sonya says that her wide variety of professional experiences has nurtured her desire to see people succeed and achieve their dreams. “I spent decades working in public housing, public education, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. This all gave me the firm belief that anybody can change their lives and, more importantly, anybody can succeed with the right attitude and a strong support system,” she said.

Sonya has been with United for a number of years in a part-time capacity. “I had worked at PIHT (now United Career Institute) as needed for several years, and I really liked the family like atmosphere and the ‘student first’ attitude during my time. There is a common and collective goal among all staff to do whatever it takes to help the students. When the full-time position opened, I realized it would be a great fit to take me into retirement.” Sonya also loves the familial atmosphere amongst staff. “Having a united front with co-workers that have quickly become family makes going to work enjoyable.” She also notes that the school’s small size gives each employee the ability to get to know each student and provide support when needed. Sonya hopes to be able to continue to work in an environment that allows her to make an impact on many people.

Sonya loves her family, and one of her proudest accomplishments is being able to say that she and her siblings are the first generation of college graduates on both sides of her family. “The work ethic instilled in all of us by our mother has allowed us to achieve success in our individual paths.” In fact, Sonya cites her mother as her motivation in life. “Although my mom is no longer with us, she was always and always will be my greatest motivation to do well and make her proud.”

In Sonya’s spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her cat. “Most people don’t know that, although I really love animals, cats were never my favorite. I was a dog lover. However, when my neighbor convinced me to adopt a rescue named Patti Cat, I fell in love, and she is now my special cat. I can’t imagine life without her.”

To learn more about the financial aid process or to speak to Sonya yourself, request information here!

Meghan Murray – Staff Highlight

Meghan Murray is the high school admissions advisor at United Career Institute. She has been with United for almost five years and loves it because it allows her to combine her medical background with her passion for helping people.

Meghan chose to pursue the medical field because, at the time, she was a single mother working in retail and needed more financial stability. A friend recommended looking into healthcare. “I initially wanted to be a nurse, but my friend recommended starting slow so I decided to pursue phlebotomy.” Meghan took a 10-week phlebotomy course and began working part-time as a phlebotomist, while doing other work on the side. After working as a phlebotomist for a while, she decided she wanted to pursue becoming an EMT. She loved her work as an EMT so much that she decided to become a paramedic. Unfortunately, Meghan had an injury that prohibited her ability to get all her truck hours needed to finish her paramedic program.

Meghan decided to continue working as a phlebotomist at The Washington Hospital and Highlands Hospital. It was during this time that she was first approached about teaching phlebotomy. She taught at National Career School, while also continuing to work as an EMT for Fayette EMS. Eventually, Meghan was approached by United Career Institute (Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology at the time) to lead our nighttime Cardio Phlebotomy program. Meghan ran this program for a year before transitioning to teaching day classes in some of United’s other medical programs. “I loved teaching. It was the perfect combination of helping people and utilizing my medical skills.” After teaching in the medical programs for a while, Meghan moved into high school admissions. “The environment is very welcoming and the staff is great. My favorite part of working at United is interacting with the students and helping them achieve their goals and be successful. I truly believe in our school and what it has to offer the people in our community.” Meghan went on to say, “I am motivated by the work that I do. I try really hard to work toward my goals. It makes me happy when students graduate and are successful.”

Meghan certainly has a lot to be proud of in her professional life, but she says she is most proud of her family. “I am proud to have the hard working husband and family that I do. My husband is a United States Marine. My mother is an LPN and my father works for Fayette County Behavioral Health Services. I am also the proud grandmother to the cutest little boy named Collin.”

Long term, Meghan would like to be able to finish her associate degree and officially become a nurse. She would also love to teach again. “I try to use my story to encourage my students to continue with their education and to show them how important it is. I also tell them how a background in the medical field can open many doors for them.”

Something interesting that not many people may not know about Meghan is that she is obsessed with Wonder Woman.  She has a collection of Wonder Woman items in her office and even has a sticker on her car!

To learn more about United’s medical programs and to speak with Meghan yourself, request information here!

Lynda Mayes – Staff Highlight

“My favorite part of working for United Career is being a part of a group that makes you feel like family. That includes both the staff and the students!” –Lynda Mayes

Lynda Mayes - Staff Highlight

Lynda Mayes is the Admissions Advisor at United Career Institute in Irwin. As an Admissions Advisor, Lynda helps potential students find their right education path. A large part of her job involves guiding students through any life obstacles they may have. It’s not uncommon to walk by her office and see her talking with her current students. Whether its school related or personal, Lynda always makes a large effort to help the student keep their eye on the prize!

Lynda has a Bachelor of Science in Administrative Management from Robert Morris University. After graduating she started working at the Westmoreland County Prison. She worked there for three years as a Records Clerk and then moved on to work at the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC). Lynda worked there for nineteen and a half years, working her way up from a Collections Clerk all the way up to a Field Service Super Intendant. During that time, she was managing over sixty-five employees, and was able to complete her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University.

Lynda is motivated by her mother. She says her mother has always encouraged and supported her in her decisions. “Because of her support I want to show the same love and respect towards her by doing the best that I can do.” She is most proud of her family, not only because of their ability to deal with difficult times, but because they always find a way to support each other while doing it.

Lynda’s long term career goals include getting her Ph.D. She would like to get involved in teaching leadership coaching to college students and adults. “It’s important for anyone going into a career to develop leadership and skills to be successful.”