Graduation is an exciting time for many, and for Marcos, the sky is the limit. Marcos, who crossed the stage at the 2018 UTSA Commencement Ceremony on May 12, talks about his journey to getting his Master’s degree from the College of Public Policy, opportunities ahead, and his military experience that shaped his decision to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice in this News 4 San Antonio feature story.
Love of country and a passion for justice is what keeps Marcos Mendoza going.
Marcos graduated over the weekend from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Masters degree in Technology Entrepreneurship and Management. A big honor for this striving professional who started his post-high school career by joining the military in the months following 9/11.
“I felt it was my obligation to defend my country by serving in the United States Air Force after a cowardly act in 9/11.”
In 2004, Marcos was deployed to Balad where he served under the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group, providing medical treatment to injured soldiers and Marines.
When he returned to San Antonio, Marcos decided to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice at Northwest Vista College. Then, he joined the Hondo Police Department as a patrol officer.
Not long after that, he would return to UTSA to continue his education.
“As soon as I began my studies at UTSA, I set high standards for myself and immediately became engaged in my classes, student life, and community,” says Marcos. “My goal was to increase my knowledge about our criminal justice policies and eventually play a role in reforming, implementing, and designing policies to better serve public safety.”
Now, with his bachelor and master degrees in hand, Marcos looks ahead to the European Innovation Academy in Italy this summer, where he’ll work with CEOs from all over the world to develop new business technology.
Even with all his success, Marcos doesn’t lose sight of his humble childhood. His family moved to San Antonio from Monterrey, Mexico in the mid-1980s looking for a better opportunity.
“I remember my mother would stand in line during cold raining days in the Santa gift fundraiser to receive gifts for my brothers and I a week before Christmas just so we would have gifts to open for Christmas Eve,” he says.
“I credit my success to the love, values, hard work, commitment, and moral support I received from my parents. I always strive to make my family proud and aspired to serve my community and country.”
Marcos continues to give back to his community and stay engaged with opportunities to teach the next generation of public servants and career professionals. The day before his graduation, he gave a presentation to middle and high school students representing Region 20 at the annual UTSA P-20 Parent Engagement Summit, which took place at UTSA’s Downtown Camus. Educational administrators and career professionals representing various career tracks were present to provide students and parents many college and career preparatory resources.
Parent engagement continues to be critical to student success. Students had the opportunity to listen to Marcos’s presentation on college life. Marcos showed images representing his college experiences and encouraged students to get involved with as many opportunities that come their way. Students were excited to learn that Marcos is a first-generation student and veteran who never gave up on his dream. He graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degree from UTSA’s College of Public Policy, became of member of the Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma, traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico for the College’s Study Abroad Program, worked as an Economic Development Associate for AmeriCorps VISTA, and now, plans to travel to Europe to work with business leaders from all over the world to develop new business technology.
Alumni from the College were also present to participate in the “Discovering Careers” Roundtable. These alums were identified as champions to discuss the relationships between education and career. In this one-on-one session, students and family members asked questions to the volunteers related to the educational requirements for their job, how they got started in their careers, and what advice they have for those who want to pursue a career in public service.