Meet a Roadrunner: Alex Flores '16 conquered cancer to earn her bachelor's degree
(Feb. 15, 2017) -- Meet Alex Flores '16. Despite an unexpected cancer diagnosis, the UTSA alumna earned her bachelor's degree, a minor and a certificate in just four years.
Growing up, Flores loved music. She knew from the beginning that she wanted her education, and her career, to center around it.
During her senior year at Stevens High School, when she began applying to universities, UTSA was on her radar.
After much consideration, she felt that UTSA was the best option, and shortly after her first few months attending the university, she knew it was the perfect place for her.
"I fell in love with UTSA – everything about it from the people to the faculty and staff and especially the music department," Flores recalls. "It was the perfect fit for me."
Flores enrolled at UTSA in the fall of 2012 and declared a major in music marketing. In her first three years, she learned all about this unique business – taking classes such as Introduction to the Music Industry, Audio Technology and Entrepreneurship in Music. By the end of her junior year, she was on track to graduate in four years. More importantly, she was thriving at UTSA.
But then she was ready to begin her senior year. And right before the start of that fourth year of study came devastating news.
In the summer of 2015, Flores was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In the blink of an eye, her world was turned upside down.
Her doctors advised her to stop working and put school on hold. They wanted her to spend the next year focusing on intense treatment. The solution? Chemotherapy…which completely wiped out her immune system. At her most susceptible point, she was only allowed to leave the house for treatment and doctor's appointments.
But through it all, Flores refused to be thrown off track. And, after nearly six months of treatment, she re-enrolled at UTSA to take a course she needed to complete the music requirements for her major. She wanted desperately to graduate on time.
"During that semester, I did whatever I could to make sure I was here. I went to school with a mask on. I used a cane. I even asked family members to help me get to class," she recalls.
As her health grew better over the next two semesters, she continued to take more classes. By fall 2016, she had taken enough courses to earn her bachelor's degree in music marketing, a minor in business administration and a certificate in music technology.
"Graduation was amazing. It was more than just graduating school; it represented so much more after everything I had gone through."
Currently in remission, Flores will finish her two-and-a-half-year treatment this November.
"I have come leaps and bounds from where I was a year ago," she said. "I can't wait to finish treatment and move on from this chapter of my life."
The UTSA alumna recently started her first full-time job at Youth Orchestra of San Antonio (YOSA). She is also working at UTSA part-time with the Department of Music as a public relations assistant.
"I hope to continue working my way up in the performing arts world and eventually move to Los Angeles or New York."
As she continues to move forward in her career, Flores credits UTSA for giving her the best opportunities and experiences.
"I can certainly say that over the past four years, I have become a much stronger and wiser person. I've grown tremendously and UTSA was a big part of that."
Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at email@example.com so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
The conference will showcase the works of authors, illustrators, and scholars which embody Latino culture and art as a means to promote literacy and reading in Latino children.Durango Building, first floor, Downtown Campus
Registration is open now for this family-friendly and dog-friendly run that supports the UTSA Alumni Association scholarship fund.Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 14th Annual UTSA Storytelling Festival featuring Nancy Simpson, storyteller and keynote speaker. The event is free and open to the public.Main Building, Ground Floor Lobby, Main Campus
Students are invited to a semi-formal, dinner banquet with an awards presentation and dancing. Keynote speaker will be San Antonio City Councilman William Cruz Shaw. Tickets must be purchased by Feb 19 at Roadrunner Express. UTSA students are $15 and guests are $20.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
Dr. Don Jenkins from UT Health SA will lead this event UTSA with up to 30 certified STB trainers, and train up to 300 UTSA students and personnel in stop the bleed methods.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.106), Main Campus
Get to know more about the Bexar County Criminal District Court candidates' stance on the issues before voting in the primary election on March 6.Buena Vista Street Building, Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
As part of RecycleMania,UTSA will provide sensitive document shredding services for the UTSA community. Bring documents to the parking lot between Student Union & Ximenes Avenue Garage. Document pick up also available for the Downtown and Hemisfair Campuses.H-E-B Student Union parking lot, Main Campus
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Koichiro Bansho will speak the importance of the Japan-U.S. relations from the historical and security perspectives. He will go over the history and future of the alliance between the two countries.H-E-B Student Union, Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus