Humble beginnings did not stop Jessica Hernandez (B.S. ’16) from graduating with highest honors — and nothing’s going to stop her now. With some help from college readiness programs and student success initiatives, she made the most out of her undergraduate experience here on the Forty Acres and is now preparing for her career in speech therapy.
Her secret to success? Engaging in campus life and participating in student success initiatives, including the Longhorn Link Program, which provides opportunities for academic development, and Horns Helping Horns, which focuses on social and financial support for students who arrive at the university with few or no family resources.
Hernandez also aligned her passions with her career goals with some help from faculty and graduate student mentors in the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program (IE). Being the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, she relied upon university resources to get advice about graduate school and her career path. During her time in the IE Program, she learned about the application process and gained some insight into the world of speech therapy.
“This program has helped open up many doors and many opportunities,” Hernandez said in a statement provided by the IE Program. “This was the first time I interacted with a graduate professor and mentor. It was the first time I was going to see a speech language pathologist in action working with a patient. And it was the first time I was given direct access to the world of graduate school. Overall, this program made me realize that a lot of people want us to succeed. I am truly lucky to have been chosen to be in this program as well as participating.”
Read the full story to learn more about her early beginnings in Midland, Texas, and how she took advantage of all the resources the university has to offer to graduate from the Moody College of Communication with highest honors.