Senior Jade Russell is a first-generation student from Houston majoring in actuarial science. A member of the College of Business Business Honors Program, Russell has participated in a study abroad to Costa Rica, made lifelong friends and great strides academically and professionally as part of her Roadrunner journey.
At the beginning of my undergraduate degree at UTSA, I found my introduction to accounting classes to be my favorite. I have always liked puzzles and math, and accounting was a chance to bridge those two things and create an interesting challenge. I really loved these classes because they encouraged teamwork, and I was able to make a friend in ACC 2013. We ended up in ACC 2033 and FIN 3013 together as well before we finished our COB core courses. His name is Michael Virata, and we met up at least once a week to do the homework, drink coffee and study for the exams. Later on, we would expand our study session to other students in our classes and ended up with a large study group. I truly believe success in any course requires at least one friend, and I am grateful to have made a good one.
Professor Marcela Lopez taught Spanish 1 during Summer 2018. She was by far the kindest and most understanding professor I had. She created a relaxed and fun classroom environment, where students felt comfortable to joke around and ask questions. I would often go to her office hours just to chat a bit and practice my Spanish. She transferred to another university a few years ago, I hope she is doing well.
How has COVID affected your studies or you personally this semester?
This global pandemic brought a lot of struggles in many ways, to a lot of people. I am fortunate to be in a position where I could continue to work from home and continue my degree online. However, I personally do not thrive in online classes. I love being on campus, studying in the library, chatting with friends, or simply walking around. I have really craved the routine of campus life, and the structure it provides. Although, in a perfect world we could be on campus again, the safety and health of everyone is much more important.
What have you learned most from your program of study thus far?
The biggest lesson I have learned from my program of study so far is that school is much harder without a friend. Classes are much harder when you cannot turn to the person next to you and ask a question about a concept you might have missed last week. The community of support you create while on campus can be the difference between feeling successful and confident to feeling alone and doubtful. I am grateful for all my friends and fellow students who have helped create an environment that is welcoming to success.
Any organizations or activities that you’ve been involved with in the COB or at UTSA?
I am involved in two main organizations on campus, although I have joined and left many. The first one being a volunteer club on campus called PAWS, Protector of Animals Welfare and Safety. Throughout my involvement in this club, I became one of the officers. We organized and shuttled students to different animal sanctuaries every other Saturday to do volunteer work such as feeding pigs and brushing donkeys. I love volunteering, especially for causes that involve animals. The second organization is Business Honors Program. I am fortunate to be a part of the first group of students to be initiated into BHP. My involvement in the organization led me to work for the COB as a student associate. I now get to work for and help manage the Business Honors Program, while staying an active member.
What are you watching, reading or listening to right now?
I am reading a book called, Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. It explains the collapse of Tharanos, the multi-billion dollar biotech startup in 2015. I am interested to find out what exactly went wrong and how the events played out. I am currently making my way through all of Netflix’s baking shows, although I personally do not bake, I like watching others do it.
Professional work experience or internships that you’ve participated in?
I did a study abroad in Costa Rica for three months where I lived with a host mom and attended Veritas Universidad and traveled to multiple locations in that country. I was immersed in the culture, participated in ecological classes and was able to experience a unique and special experience. I have worked as a student associate for the College of Business Undergraduate Program for the past year and a half. I have expanded my knowledge and understanding of professionalism and the inner working of a team. I am currently applying for Summer 2021 internships, and hopefully if COVID allows, I can expand my studies and be able to apply it to real-world work.
What are your future career plans?
I graduate with my Bachelor of Business Degree in Actuarial Science in December of 2021. Career wise, I hope to have networked with a company I can see myself working at for many years to come and to have built a connection to ensure an after graduation offer. Personal future plans, I hope to travel anywhere and everywhere, experience as much as I can and expand my world knowledge.