Thursday, September 20, 2018

Student Regent Jaciel Castro: “I’ve gained insight into the possibilities for UTSA”

Student Regent Jaciel Castro: “I’ve gained insight into the possibilities for UTSA”

Jaciel Castro is learning new ways to connect UTSA with the community.

(Sept. 14, 2017) -- Jaciel Castro has had a busy summer. In addition to working at KIPP San Antonio, running a dance company, and taking care of his son and expecting wife, the UTSA graduate student has maintained a full plate as a UT System Student Regent as both he and his wife pursue graduate degrees. The first UTSA student to serve in the role, Castro represents the UT System student voice at Board of Regents meetings.

In his first three months as the Student Regent, Castro has attended eight meetings, all focused on strategic initiatives to enhance operations at the UT System’s 14 institutions.

“It’s a better experience than I could have ever hoped for,” Castro said. “I wish every student at each UT institution could see what’s going on at System. It’s like a parent. The child never really understands what the parent goes through to give that child an excellent education and a better future. I’m just beginning to see what that parenting looks like from a System perspective.”

Castro says it was a privilege to be a part of the hiring process for new UTSA President Taylor Eighmy.

“It was exciting. I asked him tough questions about how he plans to tie his vision for UTSA into the community,” Castro said. “Dr. Eighmy is a driver for innovation and change. He has what it takes to advance UTSA’s standing.”

Castro has also learned about new opportunities to enhance UTSA’s involvement with public schools in San Antonio.

“I’ve gained insight into the possibilities for UTSA - where we can go and how we can more strongly work with the public schools,” Castro said. “The UT System is doing a lot to enhance student engagement and college graduation rates, and increasing access to policy makers by meeting with city leaders. I’ve learned new ways to bring more resources to our schools and get more students on the path to college.”

His goal is to visit all 14 UT System institutions by the end of December, spending time with students, presidents and community leaders. He wants to learn about their needs and visions then discuss that feedback with the Regents in the spring.

Castro is set to graduate from UTSA with his master’s of science degree in finance with a real estate finance and development concentration in 2018 just after he finishes his term as Student Regent on May 31. Once he graduates, he plans to start working on his second master’s degree at UTSA in urban and regional planning beginning next fall. He also plans to get involved with another board in the San Antonio community to keep the cradle to career conversation going.

“I’m more focused than I have ever felt now that I’ve had this experience,” Castro said. “I better understand why I’m here at UTSA and why I’m with the Board of Regents. I’m excited to see what’s next.”

UTSA is recognized as one of the top five young universities in the nation by Times Higher Education.

- Courtney Clevenger

Learn more about the UT System Student Regent.

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