(April 30, 2014) -- Meet Alex Camacho. After graduating from UTSA, he plans to return to his native country, Mexico, so he can to help make life better for everyone.
A senior majoring in political science and public administration, and a member of the Honors College, Camacho recently won a UT System Archer Fellowship and the 2014 Elie Wiesel ethics essay prize.
For the Archer fellowship, he will spend the fall semester as a public policy intern at an agency in Washington, D.C. Only 40 students from across the UT System receive the award, which provides opportunities for career development and cultural enrichment.
Additionally, Camacho won third place in the 2014 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Contest for his paper, "Exploring the Ethics of National Loyalty: The New 'Compromiso' -- Mexican Students Abroad in the U.S." He will receive a $1,500 award in New York in September, where he also will meet Wiesel.
The contest is sponsored by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Wiesel is a holocaust survivor and president of the foundation, which he and his wife created to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice. In the annual contest, a committee reads the submissions and narrows the field to 13 finalists. Wiesel reads the 13 essays and selects the five winners.
Camacho says he received invaluable guidance on the Wiesel essay from John Phillip Santos, UTSA distinguished senior lecturer in the Honors College, who also is a filmmaker, producer, journalist, author and the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar.
"The faculty at UTSA treat you like you belong and are not just another number," said Camacho. "Professor Santos is one of those excellent teachers and has helped me tremendously."
After graduating from UTSA in December, Camacho plans to earn a law degree and a master's in public policy, and then return to Mexico to help change the political system. He would like to be mayor of Mexico City, but overall, he wants to influence policy to improve the education system and reduce poverty and violence.
A San Antonio resident for 12 years, Camacho came here with his parents from Mexico when he was age 10. After drug violence in Mexico subsided and when the recession hit the U.S., his parents returned to Mexico, but he remained to pursue a UTSA degree.
Camacho knows San Antonio best, but he has maintained Mexican family and cultural ties over the years. His core belief is that it's an ethical responsibility for foreign students to return to their home countries to aid in development.
"I want to stop the brain drain from Mexico," he said. "To do that, graduates need to have networks and information about jobs in their home countries."
So, he is working with Rene Zenteno, UTSA vice provost for international initiatives and former Mexico undersecretary of population, migration and religious affairs, to establish a student organization to help with networking.
Called Mexicanos En (Mexicans In), the group will help Mexican students in the United States learn about Mexico job opportunities. He hopes Mexicanos En can expand to universities across the United States.
It's a tall order, but with calm assurance, Camacho is set on achieving his objectives to give back to his native country.
Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
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