Meet Alexis Fernandez: Former migrant student, current UT senior
3/11/2010At last weekend’s Explore UT, former Migrant Program student Alexis Fernandez hosted an interactive exhibit to inform our campus visitors about the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program. The program offers distance learning courses and tools to help high school students maintain their academic standing and graduate on time while traveling with their families to harvest crops. Alexis, now a senior in Mechanical Engineering at the university, helps the program whenever possible to inform migrant students about the great benefits the program offers.
Where were you when you joined the Migrant Student Program?
"When I joined the Migrant Program, I had recently moved to the Rio Grande Valley. I thought it was great. It gave me the opportunity to take courses and allowed me to free up my schedule so that I was able to take a Telecommunications & Networking class to become A+ Certified. I planned to work as a computer technician to help pay for my college education."
How did the Migrant Program contribute to your success in college?
"The program helped me understand what the effects of my success could be. I learned that my success would not only affect me or my parents, but also so many other students that look for role models and mentors. There have been so many people who have helped me reach my potential….This reminded me to never forget where I come from and that there is always another student out there who can be influenced and helped. I made it a point to give back to the community during my time at the University of Texas. Through my fraternity, Lambda Theta Phi Fraternidad Latina, Inc., I have been able to do so in many ways."
Who was a particularly positive influence on you?
"I had very strong support from one person in particular: Ms. Yolanda Gonzalez. At my high school she was the teacher in charge of the Migrant Program. I remember the door to her room was never closed. Migrant students filled the class daily during their lunch breaks and off periods. She was completely devoted to helping migrant students and ensuring that they graduated. The passion she showed for the program and love for her students was truly inspirational."
What are the most important challenges that working college students face?
"Many students come to college and do not have the necessary skills of managing their time properly. It is a challenge for me every day, but as time has passed I have learned from my experiences, from work and my involvement with on-campus organizations to prioritize. School needs to be the number one priority and I have understood that in order for me to work, be involved, have a social life, and do well in my classes I must be as organized as possible."
More information about the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program is available on its Web site.