By Courtney Buchna
“There are no limitations in what you can do, except the limitations in your own mind as to what you cannot do.”—Anonymous.
Words of wisdom spoken by this anonymous author are words that 2007 IUP graduate Shayla Solomon abides by. Solomon chooses to lead her life with no limitations with her mind, body, and soul. While she leads a life of success in the communications world, she has not forgotten about her community, her college career, future goals, and her passions. As the 2009 crowned winner of Miss Virgin Islands, Solomon is able to lead her life and her career with “no limitations.”
Born and raised in the St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands, Solomon came to IUP for her college education and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications Media. During her time at IUP, Solomon was involved in several honor societies and served as a radio host for WIUP-FM and a producer/television host for WIUP-TV. Now that Solomon has graduated and captured the title of Miss Virgin Islands, she has been able to take her “no limitations” attitude and apply it in the communications field.
Currently, Solomon serves as the public information officer in the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs. As the chief spokesperson of the department, Solomon undertakes large responsibilities, including managing and distributing all of the information to the press, media, consumers, and general public. She is also charged with the task of creating and monitoring programs and activities to educate the public, as well as preparing and editing press releases, newsletters, and department performance reports.
However, serving as a public information officer is not the only position Solomon holds. In the past three years, Solomon has served as the producer for Graffiti Street, the Virgin Islands’ only teen talk show. Solomon had been part of the show throughout high school, but has now taken her participation to a whole new level. Currently in the show’s seventeenth season, Solomon is in charge of assisting the director in the overall operations and organization of the program. She organizes and manages promotions, community service events, social activities, fundraisers, and cost expenditures. In addition, she also is responsible for auditioning and selecting cast members, supervising the cast and production crew, gathering and organizing information for guests for the show, and coordinating and accomplishing pre-production and post-production tasks.
In all her success, Solomon has the right to feel very accomplished thus far in her young life. Solomon has not only been crowned Miss Virgin Islands, but she has also had the opportunity to compete in the Miss America Pageant. Solomon credits her success to having such a strong passion for all of the components of communications media. Solomon knew since she was in the eighth grade that she was going to make a life for herself in this field. She prides herself in her achievements at IUP, in her pageant competitions, and in being able to give back to her community of the Virgin Islands through her work with Graffiti Street.
Despite all of her accomplishments, Solomon does not plan on stopping anytime soon. This spring, Solomon made the decision to go back to school to pursue a master’s degree in Education. Her aspirations do not only come from her career success, but from her time spent at IUP. Solomon accredits her future goals from taking undergraduate classes at IUP and using the inspiration professors gave her to believe in herself. Looking back, Solomon never thought she would make it to where she is today, but now she has decided she is exactly where she wants to be.
Courtney Buchna is a 2011 Communications Media graduate.