(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.
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
Cheer on the UTSA Roadrunners at their home-opener against the Kansas State Wildcats.
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