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First generation graduates aim for MBAs

 

 David Aguilar

David Aguilar is a non-traditional student with uncommon ambition. After working the past 20 years for Alamo Community Colleges, Aguilar used a first generation scholarship to complete his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Our Lady of the Lake University – at 55-years-old.

Aguilar has since enrolled in OLLU’s MBA program. “With my master’s degree, I want to be able to obtain an upper management position at Alamo Colleges,” says Aguilar, who works in records management at ACC. “I also hope to become an adjunct professor at OLLU.” 

 

 Roger Gonzales

In December, Aguilar and seven OLLU students became part of the first cohort to graduate as beneficiaries of the William E. Greehey Scholars Program. Launched in January 2012, the program provided scholarship assistance for first generation Alamo Community College students to complete their bachelor’s degree in management through OLLU’s Weekend College.

Others from the cohort who graduated in December: Roger Gonzales, who has enrolled in the MBA program; Roxan Gonzalez, who has been accepted into the MBA program; Carolina Flores and Maria Sandoval, who have applied to the MBA program; and Bradley Loeffler and Edna Saucedo. 

 

 Roxan Gonzalez

These first generation students – each 23 or older – earned bachelor of arts degrees through a fast-track program that featured eight-week semesters. They attended classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5:30 until 9:40 p.m.

“They all have families and kids and full-time jobs,” says Elisabeth Jones, an academic adviser, and admissions counselor for the Greehey Scholars Program. “They all take classes with each other and rely on each other for personal issues and help. The cohort becomes like a little family at Our Lady of the Lake.”

Family atmosphere and small class size attracted Aguilar to the first generation program. “I contacted several other universities and found the classes they offered did not meet my needs nor did they provide the training I would need to be successful in today’s job market,” he says.

“After obtaining my degree, I felt a sense of pride in knowing I was able to accomplish such a feat, especially at my age. This gives me confidence that I will be successful – not only in the master’s program but in my organization. My name has come up for several positions that will be opening very soon.”

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