Merary De La Fuente

Merary de la Fuente

Name: Merary De La Fuente
Age: 24
Major: Criminal Justice
College: College of Liberal Arts
Hometown: Alamo, TX
High School: PSJA Memorial High School, Alamo, TX 

As a UTRGV graduate student, I have seen the commitment and dedication this institution has for its students and their success. I have a great appreciation for this institute because it allows students to become passionate and determined about their degree and future career, and that is exceptionally empowering. I have always enjoyed my experiences at UTRGV and believe I made the correct decision of continuing my education at my alma mater.

What made you decide on your current major?
Throughout my personal life, I have unfortunately seen many injustices and lawlessness in the world we live in, even within my own family. Every day when we turn on the news, or log on to our social media, something terrible and unfair is happening in our society. My hope is that I can somehow be a part of the change and the shift that my generation is tirelessly and continuously trying to make in this world through my education. Additionally, I am also surrounded by people in my life that serve in our criminal justice system and I have seen how selfless and courageous they are in serving our community, and furthermore added to my interest in the field.

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It has definitely been an adjustment and an immense change, but I am trying my best and coping the best way that I can. I think it is so important to become extra attentive and aware of our surroundings, whether it be physical surroundings or the responsibilities we are dealing with such as school, work, family, etc. The most productive and proactive tip that has helped me maneuver through life as a student is to just keep moving - whether I am running, walking or crawling, never stop doing don’t stop working. 

What are your greatest strengths and what are some challenges? 
I have come to many realizations about myself throughout this pandemic but the most important thing I realized is that one of my strengths is resilience and perseverance. Amidst all the troubles and worries I found a way to keep going and keep myself motivated even though it felt like the world around me was crumbling. 

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
My goal is to obtain a master’s in criminal justice and work in the law enforcement field! But, aside from my career, I really want to impact the world in some way. I want to be a part of a change that reaches people or impacts at least one person. I think there is so much more to life than school, work and just going through the motions of life. I want to do something significant with my life rather than just merely existing. I hope to be an individual that exhibits kindness, hope and love to the world and I hope to do it through the job position I find myself in as well as through my hobbies and other passions.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
My favorite chant that I have heard at the university is and has always been: Victory, Valley, Vaqueros! And, that to me is what being a Vaquero means! Victory and success in all we set ourselves to accomplish and achieve. Representing the Valley, our home, our roots and our culture. Lastly, being a Vaquero means embracing my inner cowgirl western style!

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
My experience at UTRGV, both professional and personal, has allowed me to interact and build a community, as well as team relationships with students, faculty and staff, even parents! As a graduate student, I have the opportunity to work for P-16 Outreach and Testing Services at UTRGV. Throughout my journey at UTRGV, and with the position I currently hold, I have learned how to assist students throughout their undergraduate career by providing campus resources and information for an easier transition into college. The opportunities I have been presented with have positively impacted and sharpened my interpersonal communication skills.

What advice do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Keep pushing forward. Every step forward is one step closer to your goal. We are all in going through this pandemic together. Count your blessings instead of your problems and you’ll begin to realize how much you have to be grateful for.