February 3, 2016//
Meet Wayne Gonzales '11. He worked hard for his criminal justice degree and is now putting it to good use working in the banking industry.
I may have been the first person in my family to go to college, but when the time comes for me to have my own family, they're going to be Roadrunners.”
– Wayne Gonzales
When Gonzales was growing up in San Antonio, his mother instilled in him the importance of a college education.
"We were working class," he said. "We didn't have a lot of the things most people had, but my mom provided for us."
Even though no one in his family had gone to college, there was no question about Gonzales getting an education.
"It wasn't an 'if,' it was a 'when,'" he said.
Gonzales knew he wanted to stay close to home, and when faced with the many higher education options in San Antonio, he found UTSA to be the most impressive.
"I had a few friends who were pre-law and told me that UTSA had a lot of really impressive professors," he said. "So I chose UTSA because I wanted to be a lawyer and I knew I needed the best pre-law experience."
Gonzales remembers the message he received on his first day of class with Craig Pair, adjunct professor of criminal justice.
"He told us that we're going to learn to roll up our sleeves and get dirty," Gonzales said. "He made sure we knew our decisions were going to be scrutinized and we'd have to defend our positions. It was tough."
Pair also advised Gonzales that his financial experience and a criminal justice degree would make him a unique fit for tracking and preventing crime in the banking industry. Gonzales now says he couldn't be happier with his career.
"If UTSA taught me one valuable lesson, it was that no one is going to just hand you what you want," he said.
The UTSA alum now uses his criminal justice degree to sniff out fraud in the financial industry. Pair has since invited him back to his classroom to speak with other UTSA students about white collar crime.
"I may have been the first person in my family to go to college, but when the time comes for me to have my own family, they're going to be Roadrunners," he said. "It's really simple."
In December, Gonzales and his colleagues traveled to New York City to ring the bell at NASDAQ in honor of their company, Payment Data Systems, Inc., becoming publicly traded there.
"It was bright, loud and noisy," he said. "But it was incredible. I felt like I'd made it, and that it was all worth it, just for this."
Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we might consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.