Commencement Spotlight: Jacquelyn Reyes learned more about herself at UTSA while helping others

Commencement Spotlight: Jason Eric Gonzales Martinez wants to educate and inspire others through his art

Jacquelyn "Jackie" Reyes

(Dec. 1, 2016) -- Meet Jacquelyn "Jackie" Reyes. She's a first-generation UTSA college student looking to lift others up through service to her community.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Reyes was sure that she would attend college there. She changed her mind during her senior year of high school when she met a UTSA representative at a local college fair who shared the unique opportunities that the university offers its students.

"The information that I got from UTSA was different than others. It felt more modern," said Reyes. "Every pamphlet emphasized diversity, showed how unique UTSA's student population is, and that spoke to me."

Reyes enrolled at UTSA in 2012. She was immediately enamored by the diversity of the student population and the many opportunities to get involved at the university.

Over time, she became a well-known student leader and served as a senator with the UTSA Student Government Association. She joined and eventually became president of the UTSA Filipino Student Association and Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc. She's even an avid athlete in UTSA's many intramural leagues.

"The best part of UTSA is meeting new people from different walks of life," said Reyes. "I enjoy learning about my fellow Roadrunners, what they've been through and where they want to go."

Being an active undergraduate also helped Reyes discover a new passion.

Initially an anthropology major, her extracurricular activities led her to consider a new route in her college journey.

"Through my work with my student organizations, I learned about the importance of community and public service," said Reyes. "Around that time, I began to explore new educational opportunities, and that's when I learned about the public administration program at UTSA. I switched over, and everything clicked for me."

In the UTSA Department of Public Administration, Reyes learned about the many facets of public service, from the work being done in government to the ins-and-outs of community and nonprofit work. Her classes also gave her an understanding of the importance of diversity in the community and the issues facing minority groups.

Reyes says that her education has given her a newer, richer understanding of herself. The UTSA College of Public Policy faculty, which included San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, instilled in her a drive to give back to her community.

Reyes will receive her diploma in December, a bachelor's degree in public administration. After graduation, she plans to volunteer for two years with the Peace Corps. Then, she'll look toward graduate school.

"We rise by lifting others," said Reyes. "I want to be there for people who may feel like they don't have a voice. UTSA helped me find that out about myself. I feel ready for the next chapter of my life."


Learn more about UTSA's first-generation family.

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