The Next Generation of the Thunderbird Family of Misfits

By Mackenzie Pedersen, Staff Writer

Each fall semester at Thunderbird, a bushel of interesting individuals flock through the classrooms, the Commons, and (of course) the Pub. As Professor Javidan stated during Foundations, we are the black sheep, and we have found our home at Thunderbird. And inside that home, we have found our long-lost family. The newest additions to the Thunderbird family include people like Tyson Williams (MGM ’18) and Shay Woods (MAGAM ’19).

Courtesy of Tyson Williams

While Tyson Williams currently has his eye on several companies, his long-term goal is to be involved in the business development of a renewable energy company to build power infrastructures in developing countries. When asked why he decided to attend Thunderbird for his graduate program, he responded:

“I first learned of Thunderbird through a professor that taught during my undergrad. At that point, however, my career wasn’t focused on business. It wasn’t until about five years later that reconnected with a military friend that was going to Thunderbird, and after meeting his classmates and friends, I was astounded by the diversity and wealth of knowledge. Around that same time, I was facing an important decision to change my career. I decided to research Thunderbird, and after visiting for a preview day I knew this was the right school for me.”

Tyson’s favorite part of the program is “absolutely the people.” During his time here so far, he has met a lot of great people with diverse backgrounds, and he has truly enjoyed getting to know them, their backgrounds, and their cultural nuances.

Courtesy of Shay Woods

Shay is still researching the many opportunities available. However, if she had to choose today, she would like to work in the airline industry, probably in project management since she has her Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM). As far as why she chose to attend Thunderbird, Shay explained that she always wanted to go into international business and knew that Thunderbird was one of the top international business schools. So, Shay decided that she was going to apply, and if she wasn’t accepted, then she would apply elsewhere. Much to her delight, however, Shay was accepted, and the people of her program are also one of her favorite things about being a T-bird. Shay truly feels as though being part of her cohort is like being a small, little family.

One of Tyson’s main influences to pursue further education was rooted in the fact that he had previously worked in a major company and realized the power that comes with having a Master’s degree and the many doors it can open in the corporate world. Additionally, Tyson has many aspirations:

“Ultimately, it may sound cheesy, but my main aspiration is to be happy. To have a career that I enjoy doing, working with people who are hard workers and that I love working with, living in a city and community that is safe to me is the dream. I think too many people often chase other people’s dreams instead of finding their own dream. Many times, I hear people saying that they want ‘this’ position or to work for ‘that’ company without fully realizing what comes with it. Yeah, you’ll make 100k but you’ll be working 80 hours a week and not seeing your family. For me, I just want to find balance and be happy.”

In between intense studying and schoolwork, Tyson likes to venture to the weird side of YouTube and find videos to laugh at or take a walk in the Arizona night to decompress. Tyson believes there’s something about looking at the sky and watching the stars to put your stress into perspective.

Shay’s family had a large impact on her decision to further her education. She is currently the youngest of her generation, but as her cousins begin to have children, she wants to be a positive role model for them. She hopes to inspire the next generation of her family so that they know they can move away and be successful. They don’t have to stay in one place their entire life. Shay further explained that some of the people who have inspired her to continue her path to success are:

“My dad and my Aunt Rachel are my inspirations. They have always been supportive, and taught me that no matter your circumstance, you can overcome anything if you put your mind to it. My very last semester of my undergrad, I had 18 credit hours, 3 jobs, and an internship, and I would call my dad at least once a week complaining. He would say ‘It’s not always going to be this tough. Work hard now, reap the rewards later.’ And so I have begun to incorporate that into my daily life.”

To decompress from the tedious responsibilities of school, Shay enjoys going to different local coffee shops and taking in the afternoon. Additionally, she enjoys the simple things in life, such as relaxing and enjoying good conversations with her newfound friends.

These are just a couple of the amazing new students that are currently enrolled at Thunderbird, and while this is just a glimpse into who they are, you will get the chance to read about more of the incredible T-birds in next week’s issue of Das Tor!

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