Julian Chavez, Undergraduate Program Manager
Department of Integrative Biology
Please tell us about yourself.
Hello, my name is Julian Chavez. I am the undergraduate program manager in The Department of Integrative Biology. I grew up on a farm in the small town of Abbott, Texas. I am a first-generation college graduate. I have a degree in Environmental Science from UTSA and am working on my Master’s in Higher Education Administration.
In my free time, I enjoy cooking, camping, and shopping. I also get a kick out of fixing things and would consider myself a jack of all trades. I have two dogs, one cat, many fish, and several plants. I enjoy nature and I would consider myself a country boy at heart. I believe that knowledge is power and access to education is a human right.
What did your journey to UTSA look like?
My journey to UTSA was rougher than the gravel road I grew up on. I started my higher education journey at McLennan Community College before moving to San Antonio. After a few years of helping out my family and figuring out what to do with my life, I decided to enroll myself in Northwest Vista where I received an associate degree in science. I then transferred to UTSA.
During my undergraduate degree at UTSA, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a research project through the TREE/EYES Programs at UTSA where we were looking at the ecological effects of forest fires in beautiful Valles Caldera, New Mexico. I worked alongside some amazing scientists, including Dr. Bush, during that time.
When I graduated, I was offered a job as a Research Science Associate for the then Department of Environmental Science where I was part of a team that did research on monarch butterflies. Although I love science and I enjoy research, I realized that I could make a greater impact in higher education as an administrator. I eventually found myself in my current position as an undergraduate program manager.
I am thankful for the many people that have believed in me and who have supported me along the way, but I have to give a special shout out to Dr. Bush for believing in me and for being an amazing leader and mentor who has supported and guided me throughout my journey. She has allowed me the opportunity to reach my full potential and I hope that I can inspire our students the way Dr. Bush has inspired me.
How would you describe your role at UTSA in 10 words or less?
I coordinate activities and programs to fulfill departmental and institutional goals.
What is your proudest moment with the College of Sciences?
My proudest moment really was when I got hired. Being a first-generation college graduate to working at a college really defined the odds for me. I am proud of how much I have grown as a person since working here. I truly believe you become the people you surround yourself with. I am fortunate to have surrounded myself with an amazing group of science educators and friends here in the Department of Integrative Biology.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are so many things that I love about my job, but I absolutely love the support that I have at UTSA. The policies that are put in place by the institution really make a difference, but it does not compare to the support that I have from the faculty, staff, and students.
I am proud that I do not have to hide who I am at work. It has helped me realize that all of the things that I believed made me very weak actually make me very strong. I love that I have a platform to share my experiences and I hope my presence at the table helps others feel seen, heard, and empowered.
What does your ideal Saturday look like?
My ideal Saturday would start off with me camping out in the country away from civilization, cell phones, and the internet. I’d spend my morning hanging out in a hammock watching the birds fly and listening to the rustling of the trees blowing in the wind. I would then go horseback riding to explore more of the countryside before making my way back to my campsite. I’d end my day back in my hammock next to a warm campfire looking up at the same stars that looked over my ancestors. I’d fall asleep to the soothing sounds of nature.