Two Islanders Hit the Road to Explore Employment Horizons During Summer Break

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As the fall semester starts and thousands of TAMU-CC students look ahead to their classes and opportunities to get involved in student life, two Islanders are looking back at their summer adventure. Steven Gonzales ‘21 and Tatyanna Rodriguez ’22 both seized the opportunity to find summer employment and internships in their respective fields, which many studies say can lead to high earnings later in their careers.

Gonzales was a kinesiology intern with the Esports Arena in Austin, a chain of indoor arenas and event centers dedicated to esports, an emerging form of competition through video games.

While esports is not taught in TAMU-CC’s kinesiology program, it’s easily comparable to traditional sports due in part to its industry structure and its scale of popularity. It has grown tremendously thanks to popular multiplayer games, such as Fortnite and Overwatch, surpassing $1 billion in terms of industry value, Gonzales said.

“Watching esports has become like watching any other sport in the sense that there are hosts, game analysts, ranked team standings, playoffs, and even national and world tournaments,” Gonzales, a Corpus Christi native, said. “Professional players are drafted and signed into contracts, they practice, and build team synergy.”

During his internship, Gonzales often managed day-to-day operations, which included game setups, time-tracking, station monitoring, and equipment maintenance. However, Gonzales said his favorite part of the job was tournament preparation, especially for events such as the arena’s weekly Super Smash Brothers and Fortnite competitions.

“These games all take place on our private servers which is partly my responsibility to organize and gain access to, syncing our systems to our other locations across the states,” Gonzales said.

More than 1,000 miles north, Rodriguez spent the latter part of her summer working as a stagehand and carpenter for the 2021 Vail Dance Festival, a two-week long dance celebration in the Rocky Mountains. A native of Magnolia, Texas, Rodriguez is working on a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Design-Tech.

“I was in Colorado for twenty days, but honestly, it felt like a year,” Rodriguez said.

Much of Rodriguez’s duties involved scene changes and building the necessary scenic pieces for the festival, along with setup and rigging of materials needed by performing dance companies. The experience greatly improved her confidence, she said, along with giving her the experience to transform short-term working relationships into long-term friendships.

“There were professionals from Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington. D.C., that I would feel comfortable reaching out to for a reference,” Gonzales said. “I’m hoping to work with these people again and keep expanding my horizons.”

Time won’t stop for a single person on this planet so don’t ever stop doing things for you.

Steven Gonzales '21

One memory that stands out for Rodriguez is the grueling task of working as a stagehand for an intricate ballet performance.

“I have never been exposed to that level of dancing and performance, but it was so beautiful and moving that I cried at the end of the show,” Rodriguez said. “I rarely cry for any reason. I was very thankful that I was in Vail at that moment.”

Rodriguez has a few words of wisdom for students looking to get a job in the technical theatre industry: Let your skills speak for themselves.

“Be confident, trust in your experience, and follow your gut. Theatre is a collaborative experience, so be ready to be asked your opinion and to work hard,” she said.

Gonzales, who graduated in August 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Management, had this advice for his fellow Islanders.

“Time won’t stop for a single person on this planet so don’t ever stop doing things for you,” Gonzales said. “Even if it is baby steps, everyone moves at their own pace so just keep pushing forward, and you will reach your goals.”