Outstanding Islander Graduate and Student-Athlete Maria Beltran ’23 Earns Business Degree

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A native of Argentina, Maria Beltran ’23 said she has witnessed a lot of financial hardship in her home country. But it is that very experience that has driven her to study finance. As an international student and athlete at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, her passion for business and helping others are the reasons why she was chosen by the TAMU-CC Office of the Provost as the Outstanding Islander Graduate for the College of Business. She will cross the stage on May 20 during a record-breaking ceremony that includes 1,319 graduates, the most Islanders to ever graduate in a single semester in the history of the university.

Beltran initially came to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to play for the Islanders Women’s Golf team.

“As I was being recruited for golf, I fell in love with the campus, the university, the faculty and all of the opportunities it provides to its students,” Beltran said. “In Argentina, we had some financial issues that would have prevented me from attending university in the United States if it wasn’t for my athletic scholarship. That changed my life forever and I will always be grateful for that.”

When she got to the Island University, she knew right away she wanted to study business.

“I chose finance because I have always found money really interesting,” she said. “Coming from a country that faces a lot of challenges financially, I developed an interest in how to solve those problems and how to be more efficient with money.”

During her time at TAMU-CC, Beltran stayed busy — really busy. While maintaining her 4.0 GPA throughout her undergraduate career, she also played golf, engaged in student organizations, and volunteered in the community.

“Being part of the golf team gave me the experience I need for the real world,” Beltran said. “I learned skills like time management, teamwork, and active listening.”

In January 2022, she began work as a tutor at the Center of Academic Student Achievement (CASA), working seven to 10 hours per week as CASA’s only finance tutor.

“During the limited free time Maria has, she has been tutoring finance students in the evening,” said Pat Stephens, Islanders Women’s Golf Coach. “She enjoys sharing her vast knowledge with other students and helping them be successful.”

An active member and now president of the TAMU-CC Student Finance Association (SFA), Beltran has helped shape the organization into one that focuses on networking possibilities and skills needed for success in the business world.

“I am helping my SFA students prepare for their future in the finance and corporate world,” she said. “I make sure they have the tools and resources they need to expand their networking and make meaningful connections with business leaders and community businesses that can benefit from TAMU-CC students.”

Her highlights in this role included making connections with Frost Bank and working with her peers to manage an investment fund. The value of the portfolio is $16,000 and is invested mainly in U.S. equity and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

All the while, she continued with the sport she loved, working through injuries and the balancing act that is the life of a student-athlete to become one of the team’s strongest players.

“For her senior season, Maria has been a bright spot on the team with the second lowest stroke average last fall,” Stephens said. “She plays very good golf, shooting her record college round of 3 under par this spring, and was an integral part of the team’s success this season.”

Beltran placed top-10 for Islanders at the Southland Conference Championship and followed it up with a third place showing at the PGA Works Collegiate Championship. She helped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi win its postseason tournament for the third year in a row. Beltran ended the year with a 75.70 scoring average and shot in the 60’s three times.

Additionally, Beltran was the only student-athlete in the entire athletic department to win two awards at the Blue Carpet Awards, the department’s end-of-year banquet. She won the Team Leadership award from the golf program and the department’s Lee Denmon Islander Way Award. The Denmon award represents how Lee embodied the spirit of an Islander in his drive to achieve excellence with integrity and respect, a dedication to his team above himself, and a commitment to his community.

Beltran credits the professors in her program who mentored her, gave her advice, and allowed her to grow in her responsibilities on campus while she balanced her athletics and academics.

“This university gave me the chance to develop as a student and learn about finance and business, but also gave me the courage and the confidence to be whatever I want to be and helped me to know that I am capable of achieving whatever goal I set my eyes on,” she said.

The next goal she has in mind is to earn her Master of Science in Finance at Fairfield University.

“Once I graduate, I would love to go work for a financial institution and start my career as a financial analyst and explore other areas as well, like wealth advisor and eventually focus on financial inclusion,” Beltran added.

It’s all possible, she says, because of the Island University and the generosity of scholarships she received here — athletic, academic, and endowed.

“It gave me a new chance at life,” she said. “It gave me the possibility to get out of a country that has a lot of issues, and it gave me a new start in an amazing country I really like. I can see myself succeed in this country and bring as many good things as I can to it. It gave me the chance to fulfill my dream.”