(Jan. 7, 2015) -- Meet Fernando Ortiz Jr. At an early age, he charted the life he wanted to lead; journalist, academic scholar and author. At age 40, Ortiz is two-thirds of the way to reaching those lifetime goals.
Born in Connecticut, Ortiz moved to Corpus Christi with his family and then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he was fortunate enough to work side-by-side with his future wife, Ayse, at the Daily Texan student newspaper.
After earning his history degree, Ortiz worked briefly for a Boston publishing company but returned home to be closer to his loved ones and girlfriend, now residing in San Antonio. He worked seven years at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and climbed his way up from news assistant to a seat on the editorial board, a feat that had never been done before at the paper. All the while, Ortiz and Ayse commuted between cities to see each other.
In 2006, a junior copywriter position opened up at the San Antonio Express-News, and Ortiz jumped at the opportunity. On the job, he earned promotions up to senior editor, but after 11 years in the media business, he decided to take a buy-out offer and begin the next phase of his charted plan.
Ortiz enrolled at UTSA to pursue a master's degree in history. His writing experience and ability to edit and clearly express himself helped him land several positions as a grader, teaching assistant and research assistant. He enjoyed helping students write essays and improve their writing skills.
As a graduate student, Ortiz flourished and engrossed himself in his master's thesis, "Port in the Storm: Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, Hurricane Beulah and the Lower Rio Grande Valley."
The thesis focused on a revered physician who dedicated 60 years of his life to serving the impoverished and less fortunate in need of medical attention in Starr County. Ramirez' efforts were key to expanding health care for tens of thousands of Valley residents and helped open up medical educational opportunities for area students.
In September 1967, he used his skills to provide medical care to hurricane victims in the Rio Grande Valley and in Mexico when catastrophic rains hit the areas. He also was instrumental in mobilizing state and federal resources to provide aid.
"He believed, from the very beginning of his life, that he could make a difference, and after Beulah, government and military officials came to visit him to praise him for his effective leadership in a crisis situation," said Ortiz.
Ortiz credits his supportive wife and the UTSA history faculty for pushing him along the way.
Now that the thesis is complete and his master's degree is in hand, Ortiz is reviewing doctoral programs around the country and looking to publish his research on Dr. Ramirez and Hurricane Beulah.
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Learn more about UTSA's College of Business master's programs. These hands-on sessions allow students to review application procedures, learn admissions requirements and ask questions about the college master's programs.
Business Building (BB 4.02.10), Main Campus
Orientation marks a major step toward becoming a Roadrunner. It is a unique experience designed to welcome freshmen and transfers to UTSA and ensure a successful transition into college. They will learn about UTSA, prepare for their first semester and have fun meeting other students. There is also a special Family Orientation program too.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The three-day event showcases the Lone Star State's diversity adn rich heritage through a wide variety of ethnic food, music, dance, arts and crafts.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Learn more about UTSA's Master of Arts degree in Education and five program areas at this free informational session.
Main Building (MB 0.410), Main Campus
The 3rd annual event showcases the latest research discoveries of trainees, faculty, staff and students from health-related disciplines. Register in advance for this free event.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), Main Campus
The inaugural Roadrunner Weekend begins with a golf scramble on Friday and a Gala and After Party Saturday night. The event connects UTSA alumni and supports scholarships.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr., San Antonio
The Academy is targeted at providing instructional tools to create a social studies curriculum with Chicano/Mexican American content.
Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
The sympoisum will focus on the interface between aging and neurodegenerative diseases, will educate the wider research community about advancements in this fast-paced field and stimulate collaborative research in this area. Register online for this free event.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), 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.
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