Meet a Roadrunner: Alumnus James Pobanz helps local vets struggling with mental illness
(May 24, 2017) -- Meet James Pobanz '14, '17. This UTSA alumnus and veteran is making a difference in the lives of other local veterans.
This spring, Pobanz was offered a job at a local non-profit agency called Family Endeavors. He assists veterans and their families at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic where quality, accessible and comprehensive mental health care is provided to veterans and their families at no cost. Services are available to any person who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, regardless of their role or discharge status.
"My volunteer work and the social work courses I took at UTSA prepared me to help veterans transitioning into civilian life," said Pobanz. "I am a veteran myself, so I understand the challenges service members face when it comes to pursuing academic and career goals."
Pobanz served in the U.S. Army for 17 years, with four overseas combat deployments during that time.
After serving in the Army, Pobanz moved to San Antonio to be closer to family. He wanted to continue his education so he enrolled at UTSA in 2013 to earn his bachelor's degree in multidisciplinary studies.
When he returned to UTSA to pursue his Master of Social Work degree, Pobanz made time to serve. He became involved in veteran volunteer services including the American GI Forum, where he worked with homeless veterans. He was also a mentor for the Wounded Warrior Project and a fellow in the Veterans in Global Leadership program. The latter is run by a non-profit agency that brings together young veterans interested in global leadership opportunities.
"UTSA is very veteran-friendly. I was fortunate that people took time to mentor me during my time at UTSA," said Pobanz. "I thought it was imperative for me to give back and help others transition into civilian life and being a full-time student."
His desire to give back happened on and off campus. As a mentor of the PIVOT for Academic Success program at UTSA, Pobanz tutored other student veterans.
In 2016, Pobanz was selected as the social work Student of the Year in the UTSA College of Public Policy. He attributes much of his academic success to the scholarships he received as a UTSA student, opportunities like the Juanita Firestone Endowed Scholarship and the Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work. The scholarships enabled Pobanz to receive an education and have time to volunteer with different groups.
Before graduating from UTSA, he received the President's Volunteer Service national award for completing 281 community service hours in 2016.
"At some point, we all need a hand up or someone just to listen. The sense of satisfaction one gets from selfless service is immeasurable. I hope that my example motivates UTSA students to engage in our community to become that agent of change," said Pobanz.
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.
In honor of UTSA's 50th Anniversary in 2019, the university is hosting Roadrunner Days Spring Edition - two weeks of semester-launching activities built around our deeply held values of student success, student involvement, community service and fun!Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event (weather permitting).Flawn Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughn Jr. Observatory, 4th floor of Flawn Building, Main Campus
All UTSA students, faculty, staff, alums & families are invited to march as a unified community. Register here: bit.ly/2TYbHbR. Shuttles will be provided from the Main and Downtown Campuses.Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, 3501 MLK Dr., San Antonio
UTSA's John Nix invites the community to sing "Amazing Grace" and “We Shall Overcome” at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The intent of this nationwide effort is to honor Dr. King's legacy and to spread a sense of community in the United States.Locations throughout the United States
Opening Reception got exhibit featuring artists Miguel Aragon, Aaron Coleman, Sandra Fernandez, Annalise Gratovich, Marco Hernandez, Kristen Powers Nowlin, & Patricia Villalobos EcheverriaMain Art Gallery, Arts Building (ART 2.03.04), Main Campus
Tracy Cowden, Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music and chair of the UTSA Department of Music launches the UTSA 50th Anniversary Scholars Speaker Series with Music as Medicine: The Power and Influence of Music on our Health.Radius Center, 106 Auditorium Cir. #120, San Antonio
UTSA African American Studies Program presents this series featuring Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus)
The annual event features authentic foods, music, dance, martial arts, shopping, games and entertainment from China, to the Indian Sub-continent, and the island nations of the Pacific. The Festival features two stages, a martial arts demonstration area, children’s hands on crafting area, anime activities, bonsai and ikebana displays, mahjong table and more.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus