First-Year Islanders Welcomed into Islander Family at Convocation

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – To kickstart the 2019-2020 academic year, First-Year Islander students celebrated the transition into their new “home away from home” during the 10th annual Convocation on Aug. 23.

“This is an opportunity for the campus community to tell students ‘You are a part of this University and we want you here,’” said Bernadette Flores, Professional Assistant Professor in Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s University College and two-time Islander alumna. “I’m proud to be a part of A&M-Corpus Christi and the efforts we do to make everyone feel welcomed.”

During Convocation, incoming students felt a wave of Islander pride as they were greeted by exuberant members of the campus community, including administrators, faculty, staff, and members of the Islander Alumni Association. Students received a lapel pin symbolizing the Islander experience and the University’s commitment to helping students achieve success. Additionally, students learned about Islander traditions, recited the Islander pledge, acquired information on University resources, and heard advice from students, faculty, and administration.

“I’m looking forward to making friends, having new experiences, and improving my life overall,” said Bryce Balusek, a first-year pre-allied health major and Calallen native who signed on to play Islanders Baseball. “The community is great, and it looks like there’s going to be a lot of good sports competition here. Go ‘Ders’!”

To welcome the first chapter of their new voyage, keynote speaker Odell Bizzell, a nationally known blogger, speaker, author, and internet personality, encouraged Islanders to redefine success – it’s more than an achievement, it’s who a person becomes along the journey, he told the crowd.

“It’s an entirely new environment and a whole different feeling,” said Marissa Garcia, a first-year biology student from San Antonio. “I’m not going back to my high school classes. I’m going to achieve my dreams at this University.”

Celeste Molano, a first-year marine biology student, looks forward to jumping right into her classes and labs.  

“I’ve wanted to do marine biology since I was little so it’s a dream come true,” said Molano. “I’ve always wanted to come to the Island University – it’s been one of my top choices, so it’s pretty great that I get to come here and experience it.”

Convocation is a part of First Wave, an extended orientation program to jumpstart campus engagement and establish new support systems by building connections with students, faculty, and staff for improved student success. The Convocation speaker was sponsored by the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health.