Love of Family Inspires Outstanding Graduate to Specialize in Human Resources

Love of Family Inspires Outstanding Graduate to Specialize in Human Resources

Denise Rocha, was one of 535 students who walked the stage during Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s summer commencement ceremony on Aug. 4. Rocha earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources and hopes to one day become an HR director.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – From your first day on the job to the day you retire, it is the unsung heroes – the people who work in Human Resources (HR) department – who help navigate the many milestones of a career. Denise Rocha, who will be one of 535 students walking the stage during Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s summer commencement ceremony on Aug. 4, hopes to one day become an “HR hero” so she can positively impact people within an organization.      

After transferring to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi from the University of Texas to be closer to family as she battled a chronic illness, Rocha changed her major from biochemistry to business management. While working toward a Bachelor of Business Administration, she became captivated with the field of human resources, where she could combine her strong love of family with her fascination for numbers.

“HR creates a family feeling within the organization,” expressed Rocha. “We help people feel like they belong and are being taken care of.”

Rocha was selected to intern in the HR office at the Texas State Aquarium (TSA) in January 2018. During her internship, she found passion working for a non-profit organization committed to its goals, but still puts people (and in this case animals and the environment) before profits. 

“I like doing things for the greater good and I want to be a part of an organization that works toward bettering the community,” said Rocha. “It’s rewarding when you see someone like Tom Schmid, who is president and CEO of the aquarium, pick up trash whenever he sees it. It feels good to know you’re working for someone who cares.”

Rocha’s dependable character and trustworthiness enabled her to take on more responsibilities and extend her spring internship through the summer. Chelsea Bosworth, TSA HR coordinator and Islander alumna ’17, took Rocha under her wing.

“Denise has been a spectacular intern and tremendous asset,” said Bosworth. “She is an absolute joy to have in our office. She’s always ready to take on projects and she’s willing to come in and help, even on her days off.”

Another major mentor along Rocha’s path is Dr. Katherine Roberto, assistant professor of management in the College of Business.

“It’s been a pleasure having Denise in a number of courses,” shared Roberto. “She’s hard-working and dedicated. She’s going to be successful in anything she plans to do because she is dedicated.”

Throughout her academic career, family has been the foundation to Rocha’s success. In 2014, she graduated valedictorian at Bruni High School, near Laredo, and has been on the Dean’s List at A&M-Corpus Christi multiple times. Rocha says her mother, who is a junior high math teacher and counselor, has been her rock – going above and beyond to provide emotional support, financial assistance and strength while Rocha balanced school and doctor’s appointments. Her grandfather, who was also her high school math teacher, also guided her every step of the way.

“My mother and grandfather have shaped who I am today,” expressed Rocha. “They taught me not only how to succeed in the real world and in school but also how to be a strong person.”

During her time at the Island University, Rocha was inducted to both Phi Kappa Phi, which is the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society, and Beta Gamma Sigma, which is the International Business Honor Society. After graduation, Rocha looks forward to pursing a master’s degree as she continues her journey to become an HR director for a non-profit organization and then, one day, an entrepreneur with her own restaurant or retail location.

“Hard work pays off,” said Rocha. “I tell my sister, who is 13, to go the extra mile in high school so she’s prepared to succeed in college. If you work diligently toward your goals, you can accomplish everything you want.”