UAH COB graduate DeShanda Frazier established mindset for entrepreneurship at an early age

Deshanda Frazier

UAH COB graduate DeShanda Frazier has a job waiting for her at Bechtel Corporation, headquartered in San Francisco.

Michael Mercier | UAH

DeShanda Frazier’s "mindset" for business began when she was a young girl, assisting her mother with various entrepreneurial ventures.

Frazier graduates from The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s College of Business (UAH) on Thursday, Dec. 6, with an undergraduate degree in Human Resource Management. Frazier said her mother had a knack for selling anything to anyone, at any time. "Mom taught me key lessons on how to sell to different people."

Frazier said whether it was direct marketing sales for beauty care, household supplies, home baked goods or candy sales, her mother was a homegrown entrepreneur. And, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

"When my mom passed away, I kept my business mindset and learned new ways to manage myself and that led me to pursue a business career," she said.

Frazier claims two Alabama cities, Talladega and Birmingham as her "hometowns." She graduated from PD Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham. Frazier is the recipient of several collegiate awards including the Kaplan LSAT and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation Certification Scholarships.

Frazier first heard about UAH in 2014, just before she moved to Huntsville. "I am a native Alabamian, but I didn’t know much about UAH. When I decided to return to college in 2015, I did more research on the university and made plans to attend after completing community college."

She also attended The University of Alabama at Birmingham before entering UAH. "I changed my major a few times," Frazier said. "I went from communications to psychology to history until I made the decision to take a break from college in 2013." While taking some gap time she gained extensive retail management experience by working at big-box stores, mall shops and exclusive specialty boutiques. "I knew if I wanted to go further in a retail management career, I needed to know more about human resources (HR) and business management systems. I had to go back to school," she said.

When Frazier started her coursework at UAH, she initially thought she would declare a major in finance. "But my heart was drawn to human resources, and I never looked back. It was the best academic decision I made."

Frazier eagerly embraces the ever-evolving world of HR management. "Honestly, you will never learn enough. I stay up to date on new transitions in the HR world by reading SHRM newsletters. I am a steadfast believer in continuing education; there are so many certifications and materials to help stay refreshed in the business world. Technology is also a big factor, we have access to almost everything with the click of a button, and we can evolve at the same pace as the business world if we try," she added.

When Frazier graduates next month, she has a job waiting for her at Bechtel Corporation, headquartered in San Francisco. Bechtel is an engineering, procurement, construction, and project management company. It is the largest construction company in the United States.

"I originally applied for an internship with the company in June 2017, while searching for HR research opportunities. I didn’t get that position, but I applied again last February and was selected. I learned during the interview process that I would be interning in Denver.

"I have never been that far away from home, but the experience was amazing. I worked on the Pueblo Chemical-Agent Pilot Plant Project (remnants of mustard agents from World War II)," she explained. "This is a first of its kind project because workers use a more environmentally conscious way of disposing the chemicals. My job during the internship was to support the Bechtel Human Resources Department. It was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity."

After nearly three months on the project, Frazier was offered a full-time position in the Human Resources Department of Bechtel's Nuclear, Security, and Environmental Business Unit, which is supported by the U. S. government. "I am open to traveling where I am most needed to gain experience."

Frazier has completed several successful internships while attending UAH, including Quadrus Corporation (Huntsville), Bechtel National (Oak Ridge, TN), and on campus for the university’s Training and Development Department in HR.

"UAH has been a great experience for me. I have gained so many new friends, and the classes have been applicable to real world experiences," she said. "The class that I enjoyed the most was Human Resources and Labor Relations. There were many classes that I enjoyed as well, but this one stood out the most because of the professor, Dr. Frank Mullins. I could see his passion about the subject and that made me even more motivated to pursue the HR management career path," said Frazier.

"During my class, it was evident that DeShanda had a keen interest in HR management," said Dr. Frank I. Mullins, UAH Associate Professor of Management. "She demonstrated a strong curiosity about the intricacies of managing HR and never hesitated to express her thoughts and opinions as we dealt with a number of legal, social, and organizational issues related to HR management. I have no doubt that she will go on to have a successful career in HR management," Mullins added.

"I am confident that UAH has prepared me well for my career. The College of Business (COB) has been proactive on collaboration and that is something that is very important in the workforce," Frazier noted. "Learning how to work with clients and on teams has proven to be one of the important parts of my future career. UAH has given me the experience I need to have a successful transition into my career."

A member of Omega Tau Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority Inc., Frazier volunteers at the Downtown Rescue Mission, American Heart Association, and other North Alabama social service organizations. "One of the principles of my sisterhood is service. I set out to do something philanthropic every day." In addition, she also assists fellow students in the COB with free resume preparation.

Frazier’s advice to young women considering a career in business is to "never let the word ‘no’ hinder you from reaching your dreams. I believe the word ‘no’ is the encouragement we need to work harder to pursue our goals."

In May 2019, Frazier will begin pursuing a Masters of Science degree in Human Resource Management at The University of Maryland.


Violet Edwards