Alicia Becker: A Changemaker’s Journey

downloadThe path toward a higher education comes with twists and turns. Alicia Becker, a first-generation college graduate, knows this all too well. After navigating her way to two degrees, Becker’s educational journey is continuing at the Marriott School’s Ballard Center for Self-Reliance, where she works as partner relations manager and adjunct professor.

Her path began as a psychology undergrad at the University of Utah. A few months after graduation, Becker was slated to attend law school. But she encountered another opportunity that changed her course: working for Teen Parents Succeeding, a nonprofit geared toward helping teenage mothers finish high school and prepare for college.

“It was a great learning experience that I continue to learn from today,” Becker says. “Making that sacrifice to delay law school was probably one of the best things I could have done.”

A year later, Becker began law school and eventually graduated from the University of Missouri. She then took a position working for the university’s Office of Research, studying federal regulation compliance and conflicts of interest.

“My favorite part about working in an administrative office was I got to work with every school on campus,” Becker says. “It was really neat to go into each different school and become familiar with its dialogue and perspective on issues.”

The next twist in the road was coming to Provo. Becker’s husband, Nick, is a professional golfer and took a position as BYU’s assistant women’s golf coach. After making the move with her husband and three children, Becker started to explore opportunities at the university. That’s when she found the Ballard Center.

“I was blown away by the work it does,” Becker says. “I was really excited to get involved. In a way, I felt like my divergent paths had converged, and what seemed like random course changes all made sense.”

Becker has been with the Ballard Center for more than a year, working with the center’s social innovation partners. Now she teaches the Social Innovation Projects course, which offers students real-world social innovation experiences right here on campus. Becker also leads the Social Innovation Lecture series.

“The most important thing I hope students learn about social innovation is that nothing really works out the way you expect it will,” Becker explains. “Being equipped with the ability to shift and continue moving when you hit a road block is one thing you will see in social innovation and in life over and over again. It’s important to stay the course and realize that it’s going to be a hard road but one well worth taking.”