(Dec. 20, 2013) -- Meet Jesus Kristian Martinez. His inspiring story demonstrates it's never too late to pursue your dreams.
Martinez was the ninth of 10 children raised in the Rio Grande Valley by a single mother. After graduating from high school, he began taking college courses. But, life took over and circumstances deterred him from completing his baccalaureate studies.
After 16 years of "living in the real world," however, Martinez decided to give college another try. He was inspired by the "We Are UTSA" commercials he saw on television and thought, "Maybe I can do that. Why not? Maybe it's not too late." So at 39, he enrolled as a transfer student at UTSA.
"I've always wanted to be a part of the UT System -- always, always," he explained. "As a Texan, I think it's really important to be part of the UT System."
It was a decision he hasn't regretted.
At UTSA, Martinez found a warm community and a sense of belonging -- a friendly environment teeming with rich cultures. He also found a great support network among the UTSA faculty.
"The professors here are very, very helpful... they all want to see you succeed," he says. "They prepare you to just never give up. It's easy to give up, and it's easy to think that you have nobody on your side or backing you up. The professors were always behind you 100 percent."
Today, Martinez dreams of pursuing a master's degree at UTSA in counseling to build a career in social work and therapy -- a professional path dedicated to building and strengthening community.
To prepare for his master's program, he's pursuing courses in community health, kinesiology and sociology as a multidisciplinary studies major. The customizable degree program allows undergraduates to earn a bachelor's degree while pursuing three focus areas, provided one of the three is liberal arts-based.
Now, Martinez is eyeing graduation, which is just days away. He's eager to be a part of the UTSA alumni network one of his classmates joined just a semester earlier.
"The way they treated her when she walked in to pick up her invitations for her guests -- with such dignity and respect… she was a Roadrunner. She had already accomplished it. That made me extremely proud. And, then they welcomed her to the Alumni [Association], and I just couldn't wait for them to say that to me."
He added, "She had a sense of belonging. She was part of something. And that will never go away."
Do you know a fascinating UTSA student who is planning to graduate in May 2014? Share that story with us at email@example.com.
Ron Ellis conducts the student instrumental ensemble in a free concert that is open to the public.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (Arts 2.03.02), Main Campus
The UTSA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is hosting a day full of outreach events and activities by the U.S. Navy as part of a larger Navy presence in San Antonio called Navy Week with various events in the community through Feb. 25.
Student Union Paseo and Convocation Center entrance, Main Campus
Join this interactive play that is a courtroom drama and the audience is the jury. Discussion and will follow.
Student Union, Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Langston Clark, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will discuss exploring the historical context for the role of black athletes in contemporary social movements.
John Peace Library, Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSA African American Studies program invites speakers from the leading African American Fraternities and Sororities for a panel discussion of the history of each organization and to enlighten the audience about the community service, academic purpose, professionalism and ethical roots of each group.
Student Union, Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24), Main Campus
MuTe Fest is a celebration of original music and technology. Three days of concerts, sessions, and informative lectures will offer a unique experience of musical works created by fellow UTSA students and the chance to gain valuable knowledge about music technology.
Art Building, Music Tech Lab (Arts 3.01.30B), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries hosts Assistant Professor Ian Caine for his lecture, Architectural Postcards from Space, as part of the popular Pizza + Research series. Pizza will be served while supplies last.
Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.304), Downtown Campus
The theme of this year’s symposium is Black & Brown Futures. The free event will give UTSA students and the community the opportunity to meet and hear national scholars talk about current research and academic trends relevant to the lives of African Americans in the United States.
Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.