Gabriel Islas

Gabriel Islas

Name: Gabriel Islas
Age: 23
Major: Interdisciplinary EC-6th English as a Second Language
College/Department: Education
Hometown: Mission, TX

I decided to attend UTRGV to stay close to my family and friends. From my experience at UTRGV, this university offers a comforting environment where all students can discover their true passion and identities through academics, events, organizations, scholarships, volunteering, etc.

What made you decide on your current major?
I chose to pursue an education degree in teaching to make an impact on my future students’ education, careers and lives. My passion is to promote higher education in each student by encouraging them to become well educated professional scholars. Furthermore, I want to provide a safe, comfortable and productive environment for each of my students to attain their academic goals and aspirations. Many great educators believe in their students; therefore, I would like to be part of that journey. I have been inspired and encouraged by several great educators to become a public-school teacher; to share the message of teaching, becoming a role-model and inspire students to believe in themselves and never give up.

What do you like most about UTRGV?
What I like most about UTRGV is that the majority of the professors are approachable, reasonable, understanding, compassionate and accepting of all their students. The professors at UTRGV are willing to help and guide you through your academic journey in college. At UTRGV, you can feel the positive energy which radiates a sense of family, morality and proper values.

What are some of your favorite study spots on campus?
Some of my favorite study spots at UTRGV are Starbucks, Jazzman's and the study center at the STAC building. I can meet with my peers/friends after class to study or complete group projects and/or assignments. Another favorite spot to study alone is the quiet section at the UTRGV library on the second floor. This section provides study cubicles where I can isolate myself and study free from distractions.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
Personally, I take pride in being a Vaquero because it fosters and promotes the primary principles of higher education, such as honesty, integrity, equality and ethics.

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
UTRGV has provided great opportunities in which I have grown to achieve my new goals and pursue my love for teaching. While attending UTRGV, I have had the prestigious pleasure in taking part in different organizations which have opened doors to communicate and network with other individuals on campus and across the nation. Through these organizations, I have learned how to become a leader, and I pride myself in the way I have executed such roles with professionalism and integrity. Furthermore, working with these organizations, I have been able to return back to our community by taking part in community service events. 

What are a few of your favorite books?
Throughout my lifetime, I have read many books that I find exciting. However, one of my favorite and most preferred books is "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe," by Benjamin Alire Saenz. This book contains many important messages and themes that I can relate to. I mostly prefer to read fiction genre books. From my perspective, fiction helps me escape from reality for a second and forget about my personal problems.

What’s in your playlist right now?
Currently I listen to a variety of diverse artists, songs and genres. My favorite artist that I have admired for years and continue to have a significant impact on my life is Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga advocates for equality, acceptance and love through the art of her music. Lady Gaga has taught me to follow my dreams and to love myself regardless of any judgments.