(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.
Do you know someone connected with UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at email@example.com, and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Read the stories of other UTSA students, faculty, staff and alumni on the Meet a Roadrunner website.
Join the Center for Military Families for a panel on Politics in the Service of Military Families, featuring Cedric Leighton, David Splitter, Steve Huerta, and the Office of Congressman Henry Cuellar. The event is free and open to the public.
Buena Vista Street Building, Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
UTSA Dance classes will take the stage and share their talents and passion for dance! Come support our growing dance program! $10 admission
Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
This panel presentation will look at the history of the YWCA and the impact the organization has had on women in the San Antonio community.
McKinney Humanities Building (MH 2.02.10), Main Campus
The Demography Lecture Series continues with Dr. Barbara Bird of American University. Her topic focuses on Insights Into a Hard to Find Population: Latino Entrepreneurs in Metro Washington, D.C. Event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the pay stall spaces of the Monterrey surface lot.
Monterrey Building (MNT 3.240), Downtown Campus
This video tells the story of four Latina lesbians who fought for exoneration after being wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting two girls during the Satanic Panic witch-hunt era of the 1980s and 1990s.
North Paseo Building (NPB 1.114), Main Campus
Tejana/Indígena author Ire'ne Lara Ailva will read from her latest work and discuss her approach to reimagining Tejan@ myths.
Main Building (MB 2.404), Main Campus
Muralist Crystal Arias will discuss her current mural "Cultivate the Past to Prestige" at La India Herbs and themes she utilizes in her other works.
McKinney Humanities Building (MH 3.02.26), Main Campus
The UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is a co-sponsor of the CARTA 19th Annual Conference. The group meets annually to exchange educational programs, ideas, and techniques and to network with other teachers of Russian. Registration required.
DoubleTree by Hilton, Downtown San Antonio
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.