A University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) graduate student has been selected as the newest UT System Student Regent, the first UTSA student to serve in the role. Jaciel Castro, a UTSA master’s of business administration student pursuing a real estate finance concentration, will represent the UT System student voice at Board of Regents meetings.
Over the one-year term, which began June 1, Castro will travel to all 14 UT System institutions, visiting with their presidents, students and student governments.
“I will listen to their needs and visions and bring that voice to the Board of Regents and help them understand how their decisions affect students,” said Castro.
The UT System Student Regent program was authorized by Governor Rick Perry in 2005. In the role, Castro will attend four annual Regents’ meetings and three to four special meetings. His first, scheduled later this month, will focus on the new UTSA president search.
Castro has the same rights as regularly appointed board members, except the right to vote.
As the UT System Student Regent, Castro’s priorities are student success and retention. He wants to find out what programs are working at other universities in the UT System and bring new ideas back to UTSA.
“I know there are some awesome things happening at UT System I can share with departments at UTSA,” said Castro. ”I also want to be part of the process as we enhance some already successful practices.”
He also believes UTSA has a lot to teach the other institutions.
“There is so much diversity among our students and departments,” said Castro. “I believe UTSA represents what universities will look like across the country in the next 30 years. It has the potential to show the country what can be done for minority students.”
Castro has already taken what he’s learned at UTSA and applied it to his job as a school administrator and college counselor with KIPP San Antonio Public Schools.
“The real estate courses I’ve taken at UTSA have been key to understanding the role of real estate in building schools and determining locations,” said Castro. “I want to take the skills I’m learning at UTSA and apply them to the public school system.”
He’s also inspiring his own family. Born and raised in Mexico, Castro is the first of five generations to not only attend college but earn a bachelor’s degree and pursue a master’s. Now, his sisters are college graduates and several of his cousins are going to college.
Castro says he’s excited to represent UTSA as its first Student Regent.
“The UT System as a whole has a lot to say when it comes to research, innovation and program development,” Castro said. “It’s exciting to be among such an outstanding group of people and learn about the universities and what they’re achieving in Texas and across the world.”
– Courtney Clevenger