By Elizabeth Kerin
Miquela Camara is singular in more ways than one. Six years after her graduation, the University of Dallas alumnus returned to Irving to fill the position of assistant director of student activities. She owns her own strength and conditioning consulting firm, which she co-founded, and she is a huge advocate for liberal arts education. She is also probably the only person on campus with $20,000 worth of tattoos.
By the time that I walked through the door of Miquela’s office in the SALC, she had already led morning training and yoga with the UD basketball guys, showered and completed her first task of the day – ordering Oktoberfest cups. It was 8:27 a.m.
After graduating in 2008 with a degree in biology, Miquela co-founded her own strength and conditioning consulting firm, whose clientele consists of select lacrosse and football teams, marathon runners and even NFL players. She also worked as program coordinator at British Columbia Institute of Technology, a large public university in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she was the youngest on staff by over a decade.
She has now returned to her UD roots.
“I really do love this university, which is why I’m back,” she said. “I figured this is the best way to give back to the school that I love.”
I couldn’t resist the urge to ask about her tattoos.
“My recommendation to those reading this article: They need to mean something,” she insisted. She proudly revealed the meaning behind her most prominent piece: an arm sleeve. It is a Maori-style piece, designed by some of her clients who are Polynesian athletes. Every strand of her arm tattoo holds a deep meaning to Miquela and is unique to her sleeve.
“This is 20 hours,” she said, gazing down at her arm. “I earned my tattoo.”
She reflects back on her studies here and praises the Core for how it has served her in attaining everything from prestigious positions to her own business.
“In your time at UD, the academics here are really hard,” she said. “By the time you graduate and you move into the real world, you start to realize that you really are far better read, better-spoken individuals than [many others in the working world]… Once you’re in the real world you see the value of the education that you’ve received.”
Miquela spoke with admiration of what Renee Talamantez, former assistant director of student activities, had established and accomplished. Yet she maintained that she and Talamantez have different styles.
“I’m very different than Renee,” she said. “It’s not that I want to shake things up — our big events will always be our big events, but it’s time to present new events to campus, bring some fresh things to the student body so things don’t become monotonous from year to year on campus. “
This reporter got the impression that, as the latest addition to UD’s student life staff, Miquela is an energizer bunny, ready to continue our favorite traditions and mix up the rest.
Miquela’s passionate approach to her new role at her alma mater is aimed at uniting the UD community as a whole. In her aspirations to put energy into student activities, she shared her conviction that the student body is one big family.
“Coming back to UD was like coming home,” she said.