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Angelika Benavidez

natural posed headshot image of angelika

Transferred From: Coastal Bend College

Major/Minor: Interdisciplinary studies, early childhood – 6th grade with ESL certification

Hometown: Beeville, Texas

Post-Grad Plans: Become a teacher in Texas and eventually teach abroad to promote equal education in developing countries

Fun Fact: Working toward fluency in Spanish to be a bilingual teacher

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Beeville, outside of Corpus Christi. I attended Coastal Bend College. With a lot of dual credit from high school, I earned my associate degree in applied sciences in a year.

Did you always plan to transfer?

No. I went to community college with plans to become a dental hygienist, but things weren’t unfolding the way I thought they would after high school. I lost myself for a while and wasn’t sure if I wanted to even continue higher education. But there were people in my life that encouraged me to continue forward and attend a larger institution. I wanted to make a difference in the world, and influencing kids seemed like one of the best ways to do that, so I found Texas State because of its elementary education program.

What attracted you to Texas State?

I did a lot of research on schools for education majors and applied to about 10 of them. I was accepted to the majority, but felt that San Marcos and Texas State were where I'd fit in best. I learned about Texas State’s history – how we started off as the Southwest Texas State Normal School in 1903 and how teachers studying here would literally walk down the hill to teach in San Marcos. We are still one of the top universities for teachers. Besides that, I love the scenery in this area. San Marcos feels very historical, especially in areas like the Square.

Did anything in particular help smooth the transition to Texas State?

The most difficult thing was figuring out what all was needed to transfer, especially as I’m a first-generation student. I did a lot of Googling and asking the professionals here at Texas State. I worked hard and didn’t give up. Even now, I see my advisor two times per semester, which is a lot. She helps me understand what needs to happen in order for me to be a successful student here.

I came to San Marcos four months before school started to walk campus and learn what’s what around town. Honestly, it took me about a semester of classes to find friends. It's hard to attend classes every day when you don’t have friends yet as a transfer student. Eventually, I was able to find my place through a student organization, which I found by exploring Texas State's website.

How did you get involved on campus as a transfer?

I spent time on the Texas State website to find student organizations (now I know the Texas State website inside and out!) and ended up joining Bobcat Build. It made it easier for me to network with other students and tell my story of being a transfer student. A lot of transfer students join Bobcat Build. It's an organization that accepts everyone, no matter who you are. It also helped me find my place on campus and opened doors to other opportunities, like becoming a Recruitment Officer for Bobcat Build, and then a Peer Leader with the Center for Retention Management.

Through my work as a Peer Leader, I've had the chance to see behind the scenes at Texas State and how so many offices across campus are working hard to provide outreach events for transfer students. It opened my eyes to see how much Texas State cares about keeping us!

Eventually, I also got to know a lot of people in my major. I’m so close now with this group of education students. I met my very best friend through my major. She's my roommate now, and I would even consider her a sister.

Tell us about your volunteer experience.

I spent the majority of this summer working with a nonprofit called The DREAM Project in Cabarete, a town in the Dominican Republic.

What began as a study abroad trip for my ESL block turned into a five-week stay. During the study abroad trip we worked with street kids in Santiago, teaching them English, eating together, and more. At the end of our study abroad, I was asked to stay and continue my service with them throughout the summer!

The DREAM Project’s goal is to work toward equal education and opportunities for youth in the Dominican Republic. They focus on teaching everything from sex education to literacy. It’s hard to explain how impactful this time was for me – you’d really have to experience it in your own way to fully understand. I saw so much poverty and the will in these kids to learn English, which we’re so privileged to know. I saw crazy things, like pigs getting slaughtered in the middle of the street, dirty water – life is totally different from here.

What does it mean to you to Be a Bobcat?

It means a lot – family. I feel at home here in San Marcos. I have pride and joy and love to tell people that I’m from Texas State, deep in the heart of Texas!

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I want to teach somewhere in Texas initially. After about five years, I would love to teach abroad and work to promote equal education, something that we all deserve, in developing countries. I’d also like to become fluent in Spanish so that I can be a bilingual teacher. This would be a huge benefit to my students.

How is Texas State preparing you for this career?

I feel very prepared for my first teaching position. What Texas State offers education majors is hands-on, in-the-classroom experience. We have great classes on classroom management. I feel like I could walk into a classroom tomorrow and have lesson plans prepared and control the class well.

Our professors also teach us great strategies. Dr. Minda Lopez is one of my favorites. If it wasn’t for her advice and wisdom, I probably wouldn’t have extended my stay in the Dominican Republic this summer.

What's your advice to transfer students considering Texas State?

Research Texas State before you get here and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions. We have so many offices and resources to help you, like the Center for Student Retention.

Everyone’s transfer experience is unique. If you have difficulties getting involved, still get out there and try, no matter the outcome. Don’t give up. You can find your place here at Texas State.

Lastly, coming to town a few months early really helped me – I wouldn’t have been so willing to step out if I hadn’t already become familiar with San Marcos and campus.