Student Profile of
Robert Soliz Gonzales

Robert GonzalesRobert credits his mother as being the motivating force behind his academic success.
“My mother always told us ‘I want you to have more opportunities than I had. You need to get a good education.’ At that time it was difficult to picture being where I am today.”

The odds of attending college were stacked against him, growing up on the southwest side of San Antonio. He was a young Hispanic male whose father had died three months before he was born. The drop-out rate at the high school he attended was more than three times the state’s average.

However, spurred by his mother’s insistence and encouragement, Robert excelled in school and graduated 5th in his class. He also received the most scholarships of any student in his class. “I think I applied for nearly every scholarship I was eligible for.”

Robert put that same diligence into selecting which school to attend. He planned to major in business, so he narrowed his choices to universities accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In his search, he visited a number of campuses including the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Austin.

“I chose A&M-Corpus Christi because it has a good business program, and I liked the atmosphere of the campus.”

Thanks to a University Honors Scholarship as well as the other scholarships he received, Robert enrolled as a full-time student at A&M-Corpus Christi in Fall 1998.

To supplement his scholarships, Robert holds two internship positions, one working for University comptroller, Kathryn Funk-Baxter, and the other working as a peer advisor in the Title V project, a federal grant directed by Dr. Veronica Guerra.

Robert enjoys using the knowledge he has acquired in class to solve real life problems. “A lot of people think accounting is just number crunching. Here at A&M-Corpus Christi, the accounting program emphasizes personal interaction and presentation skills in addition to keeping books. They teach us how to explain what the numbers mean to non-accountants.”

While Robert’s internship in accounting is helping him prepare for his future, his internship with the Title V Project allows him to use his past to help others achieve a brighter future.

Funded by a grant in October 2000, the Title V Hispanic Serving Institution Project seeks to increase the retention and graduation rates of students from low-income, first generation and non-traditional populations. Robert is one of four peer advisors who help familiarize students with the campus, provide tutoring and share advice based on their own experiences.

As a peer advisor, Robert tells students who are academically at-risk and in jeopardy of dropping out: “Don’t give up! If it’s something you want, go after it.”

In August 2002, Robert will graduate with a Bachelors degree in accounting. Afterwards, he hopes to continue his education and obtain a Master of Accountancy degree. Ultimately he would like to become a Certified Public Accountant.

Beating the odds isn’t a matter of luck. It takes hard work and perseverance. That is something Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi senior Robert Soliz Gonzales knows from experience.

His short dark hair stands in spikes, and a large gold cross hangs from a chain around his neck. Dressed in long, baggy shorts and a T-shirt, Robert does not fit the stereotype of a high-achieving accounting major.

“Since people tend to judge others by first impressions, I tone down my appearance and take off my jewelry for work,” he comments. “It’s easier for people to take my suggestions seriously.”

One senses, however, that Robert enjoys catching people off guard at times.

He toys with the gold loop piercing his left earlobe as he recalls being given the “brush off” at a college recruitment fair. “One recruiter said, ‘you have to make the grades to get into our school.’” Smiling wryly, Robert continues, “Then I asked if a 98 GPA and 1200 SAT score were high enough. He scrambled to get me an application.”

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation • Annual Report 2001