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 states
However, spurred by his mothers 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 Roberts 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: Dont give up! If its
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
the odds isnt
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.
tend to judge others by first impressions, I tone down my appearance and
take off my jewelry for work, he comments. Its easier
for people to take my suggestions seriously.
One senses, however,
that Robert enjoys catching people off guard at times.
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.