Transferred From: Art Institute of Austin
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Post-Grad Plans: Work for a company doing treasury finance
Fun Fact: Has travelled all over the world (Thailand, Dubai, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, London, Philippines) and has plans to visit Australia, New Zealand, Paris, and Prague
Where are you from?
I originally came to the United States as a Haitian refugee, although now Austin is home. I love to travel, which is one of the reasons I enlisted in the U.S. Navy after finishing my associate in the culinary arts. I wanted to be a chef on a cruise ship, but could not, as I was too young. So, I started as an undesignated Airman in Jacksonville, Florida, and eventually became a quartermaster while stationed in Japan.
What led you to higher education after leaving the military?
I already had my associate degree, but after leaving the military I went on to finish a bachelor’s in culinary management from the Art Institute of Austin, graduating in 2015. With this degree, I spent a while working as a chef at Google, and then as a traveling catering personnel with Cirque du Soleil. I did all of the dessert catering! Then, I worked at the airport doing fingerprinting with MorphoTrust for TSA.
Did you always plan to transfer?
No. I came to realize over time that what I was doing wasn't sustainable in the long-term. I want to be in an industry that I can retire from, and I couldn't envision myself doing that at any of my previous companies.
What attracted you to Texas State?
I wanted to be somewhere close to Austin, but didn’t love the other schools in the area. I love the small city feel of San Marcos, where I can be part of a large university, but not in the middle of a huge city – it’s not overwhelming. So, I chose Texas State!
How was the transfer process?
Because I already have bachelor’s degree, I had to apply as a transfer student. It was a smooth process — I emailed someone in Admissions and received an email back with no problems.
Through the Transfer Student Success team, I had the opportunity to participate in all of the events they put on for transfer students, such as Retention Management’s Week of Transfer. They do events like Krav Maga (so much fun), informational events in the LBJ Student Center; staff from the Student Recreation Center also come and talk about their classes, student counseling services talks about resources for de-stressing, and more.
Did anything in particular help smooth the transition to Texas State?
At first, I felt like there were so many resources I didn’t even know about but discovered over time. Following accounts on social media was a huge help. A few of my favorites...
- Student Support Services is great for first-generation students. That and the Honors College allow you to register for classes early. (The Honors College even has a coffee lounge and study rooms!)
- Career Services has many resources, including something called Career in the City where you go on a “field trip” and meet professionals at various companies in downtown Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. Also, Career Services opens their interview rooms during finals for studying.
- I love the phrase “Once a Bobcat, Always a Bobcat.” Did you know that after you graduate, you can always come back to Career Services for assistance?
- Brilliant Bobcats out of Retention Management puts on helpful events that cover topics like time management, note taking skills, and test-taking skills.
How did you get involved on campus as a transfer?
I've joined several student organizations on campus and in the McCoy College of Business Administration, including the following:
- Finance Management Association – I was the fundraising officer for the last three semesters, which means I ensured members volunteered for flower sales during commencement. This is how we make money to fund our activities, such as a trip to New York or Chicago over spring break. This year we went to New York and saw Bloomberg’s headquarters. We got to tour it, which was amazing, especially because we have the Bloomberg trading labs in McCoy.
- Beta Gamma Sigma is an organization that the top 10 percent ranked of undergraduate students in McCoy are invited to join.
- Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) – This one is technically a class and an experience, so it's tough to get into as you have to go through an application process. We managed an $850,000 endowment fund for the McCoy Foundation.
What has your experience been at Texas State as a U.S. military veteran?
It has been amazing. SLAC has resources just for veterans and a program to get connected with someone on campus who will take you around and show you all of the resources for veterans. There are many veterans working on campus: the Veterans Tutoring Veterans Program is run by Dr. Carl Van Aacken, who is also a U.S. veteran, and Ross Wood, one of the career services advisors, is ex-military and extremely helpful.
And here's a tip — the LBJ Student Center even has a Veteran’s Lounge with a microwave and fridge (especially helpful for nontraditional students who don’t have swipes).
What does it mean to you to Be a Bobcat?
Connected. Not just to programs during your time on campus, but everything you get after graduation. If you need, you can always come back to Career Services and they will assist you at no charge. They will review your LinkedIn and resume.
You will always, always be a Bobcat. That is an amazing feeling.
What's your advice to transfer students considering Texas State?
The first thing is to figure out which program is right for you. Career Services is a huge help with this, as is the Undergraduate Academic Center.
Students should seek stuff out – no one found me and forced me to get involved. Don't simply go to class and then back home. I got involved by asking my professors about various organizations in the field I’m studying, and they pointed me in the right direction. Whatever you’re interested in, I promise you it exists at TXST.
For example, I decided I wanted to enhance my leadership skills, so I visited the LBJ Student Center and joined the Student Leadership Board (SLB). I learned so much about what it takes to be a leader through their seven-day retreat in New Braunfels called LeaderShape.