Monday, August 03, 2015

Commencement Close-Up: Business training at UTSA gives first-gen graduate-to-be Patricia Martinez tools to succeed

Patricia Martinez

Patricia Martinez

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(Dec. 19, 2012) -- Some might call it a coincidence, but Patricia Martinez knows better. One day this fall, she approached a recruiting table for DHI Mortgage in the halls of the College of Business. Later that day she attended an information session about the company. The next day she had a job interview. Two more interviews – and she was hired.

"I knew what kind of questions to ask and how to ask them," said Martinez, a management major graduating this December from the Honors College. "And, thank goodness I was prepared for such a rigorous interview process."

For Martinez, the road wasn't always this easy, and she wasn't always this prepared.

A native of central Mexico, Martinez moved with her family to Texas when she was 11 years old and started fourth grade not knowing a word of English. Today, at age 23, she will be the first person in her family to graduate from college.

"Being a first-generation college student, there was no role model in my family who I could go to for advice about college," she said. "Instead, I found those role models in the classroom. It was wonderful to realize that my professors, staff and fellow students wanted me to succeed as much as I wanted to succeed."

UTSA provides access to higher education for many first-generation college students and is one of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions in the nation.

Finding it difficult at first to adjust to being on a campus with nearly 31,000 students, Martinez decided to get involved in student organizations such as the Business Scholars Program, a one-on-one mentoring program for first-generation college students offered by the College of Business Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD).

Founded in 2007, CSPD provides academic advising and career-preparation programs and services, which give business students a competitive edge in obtaining internships and securing employment.

"When I first came to college, I had no idea what it meant to be a 'professional,'" said Martinez. "Getting involved with the Center for Student Professional Development has made the biggest difference in my life."

During her first year at UTSA, Martinez took a work-study job at CSPD. A pivotal experience for her was going through the H-E-B Career Action Program, a 15-hour program of comprehensive professional development including resume writing, business and dining etiquette, professional dress, elevator speech practice, mock interviews and speed networking. Roughly 250 business students enroll in the program each semester. Approximately 2,500 students participate in CSPD programs and services annually.

Martinez recognizes how much she has changed because of her involvement with CSPD. "When I started the Career Action Program, I was extremely nervous to talk in front of people, especially in an interview setting," she said. "Thanks to all the practice I've had, I now have no problem speaking with anyone. The key is practicing. The Center for Student Professional Development provides that opportunity to practice in a safe and supportive environment."

We all know the familiar adage "practice makes perfect." But, in Martinez' case, practice makes employed.

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA researcher is a star behind the cloud

A revolution in cloud computing is underway, and Ravi Sandhu believes it will be much bigger than the PC and Internet revolutions that have already changed the way we live. Sandhu, director of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security, says UTSA is taking a leadership role in tackling three fundamental cloud technology problems: how to build and operate the cloud, how to use it profitably for diverse applications and how to keep it secure.

Sandhu, the Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security in the College of Sciences, and Ram Krishnan, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the UTSA College of Engineering, are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve cloud security.

Did you know? Sandhu, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert, holds 30 patents, has authored more than 250 papers and been cited more than 30,000 times.

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Events
Aug. 1, 9 p.m.

"Inside Peace" documentary screening

This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle

Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p,m,; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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