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“This is my UTSA story, and I will tell it for as long as I can.”

Meet Maria

My UTSA story starts back in 2002 when I was 12 years old and going to their first band camp — the UTSA climate and the culture made me feel so welcomed. Even though I ended up going to a different university, every summer I would come back to UTSA to take classes, primarily because I felt closer to my professors and colleagues.

My path with UTSA crossed again because of their partnership with the Northside Independent School District where I teach and their master’s program in educational leadership. My love for UTSA grew even more when I experienced how my professors genuinely wanted to help me follow my passions for advocating for English learner students, specifically those who are refugees and who come to the United States with very limited schooling.

I’ve just finished my first year of doctoral studies and my professor who oversaw my master’s work, Dr. Nathern Okilwa, is now my doctoral advisor. My story of UTSA is really the story of the African philosophy that Dr.Okilwa always tells us, and that’s Ubuntu — I am because we are. I am who I am because of the devoted people of UTSA and of course my UTeach family who have influenced my life’s work.

major: Educational Leadership

year: Doctoral Student

hometown: Bulverde, Texas