Outstanding Islander Amado Lazo ’23 Excels in IT, Earns Computer Science Degree

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Amado Lazo ’23 has always been fascinated by the transformative power of technology.

“From the intricacies of maintaining existing software to the excitement of creating new applications that enhance people’s daily lives, I find technology incredibly rewarding,” Lazo said.

His accomplishments in the field and desire to help others are why he was selected as the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Engineering Summer 2023 Outstanding Islander Graduate. Lazo will earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. The Aug. 12 ceremony is breaking records with 740 students earning their degrees, making it the largest summer class in the university’s 76-year history.

While attending San Diego Early College High School in San Diego, Texas, Lazo was an inaugural and active member of his school’s robotics team, which competed in numerous competitions in and around the Coastal Bend, including on the Island Campus. In 2020, upon high school graduation, he also simultaneously earned an Associate of Science from Coastal Bend College.

His high school guidance counselor was the first to officially introduce him to the idea of becoming an Islander.

“Intrigued by the field of computer science and its potential for innovation, I went into further research and discovered that TAMU-CC offered a comprehensive and accredited program in computer science,” Lazo said. “TAMU-CC’s computer science program has an excellent reputation and is known for its comprehensive curriculum, innovative research opportunities, and exceptional faculty.”

Lazo said he was also impressed by the friendly spirit of campus and the opportunity to build relationships in and out of the classroom.

“The people at TAMU-CC create a supportive and inclusive community that fosters collaboration and personal growth,” Lazo said. “All of the events and activities I took part in – from going to the Izz-Fest concert to working out in the Dugan Gym – made me feel like I was part of something exciting and meaningful.”

One of the most meaningful parts of Lazo’s time on the Island was his student worker position as an IT technical assistant at the Center for Academic Student Achievement (CASA). For the last year and a half, Lazo assisted university staff with technical issues while gaining experience that will serve him in the future, including using tools such as Excel, Power Queries, and Power BI.

“Working at CASA has played a crucial role in solidifying my career goals and shaping my professional trajectory,” Lazo said. “These hands-on skills acquired at CASA have provided me with the necessary foundation to thrive in the industry and pursue my professional aspirations with confidence.”

During his time at CASA, he created custom software that streamlined a departmental workflow to reduce the time of batch converting documents by 60% — time the department was then able to re-invest into direct student services.

“Kind and approachable, Amado exhibits extraordinary attention to detail and resourcefulness in completing complex projects,” said John Fortiscue, TAMU-CC Director of Student Success Data and Technology. “I believe Amado’s dedication to leveraging technology showcases his genuine desire to help others and his exceptional abilities as a tech-savvy problem solver.”

In his capstone course, Lazo’s team worked on a collaborative project with a client in California to create an AI-powered resume builder. He used that same resume builder to put the final touches on his own resume.

“Our objective was to assist students in creating more effective resumes, increasing their chances of securing job opportunities,” he said. “With so many emerging AI-powered websites, I’m excited about the potential to increase a person’s productivity while also improving their lifestyle by automating simple tasks.”

In summer 2021, he was selected to take part in the IBM Accelerate program, which he describes as a “profound experience” that built career-ready skills, grew his network, and gave him renewed confidence in his abilities.

“Joining IBM and collaborating with their talented team was an honor and a significant milestone for me,” he said. “I had the privilege of working with cutting-edge technologies that didn’t just enhance my resume with the prestigious IBM name but also deepened my knowledge and surpassed the expectations set by my degree program. As someone from a small town with no prior professional software engineering experience, being selected for the Accelerate program was a humbling affirmation of my potential and an incredible opportunity for growth.”

Lazo also prepared himself professionally by attending job fairs on campus and learning from faculty mentors in his department.

“Building relationships with faculty members also had an impact on my growth and development,” Lazo said. “Through conversations and interactions with professors outside of the classroom, I received guidance, mentorship, and a deeper understanding of my field of study.”

Now on the brink of graduating, just three years after he began his studies, Lazo is poised to take the next steps in his career as a data analyst or software engineer, hoping to grow with an organization known for innovation.

“I want to make a meaningful impact in my field,” Lazo said. “I aspire to be hired by a company that is at the forefront of revolutionizing how people live, leveraging technology to bring about positive change. I am driven to continuously innovate and develop solutions for problems that have yet to be solved.”