UTRGV Commencement - Spring 2022

  Thursday, May 12, 2022
  Around Campus

By Marisol Villarreal

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Donna native Olga Campos does not regret any of the decisions she has made to get to where she is today. Everything has led to this: first-generation college student, wife, and mother to a 10-year-old boy. 

When she graduated from Donna High School in 2006, she attended UTRGV legacy institution UT Pan American, and was working toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. But in 2008, during her senior year at UTPA, she had to leave the university without earning a degree because of work, family and other responsibilities.  

“I kept working and working,” she said. “Then one day I just told myself, ‘I need to get an education,’” she said. “I had to. I wanted to show my son that if I can do it, anyone can. I went back mainly for him. He was my big encouragement in life to do more.” 

She enrolled at UTRGV in 2018, switched her major, and got a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2020. She was even chosen as the Commencement Bell Ringer for the College of Health Professions. 

“I was really proud of myself for graduating. Then I took a small break, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get my master’s degree,” Campos said. 

Now, that’s happening.

On Saturday, May 14, the 33-year-old Campos will don full graduation regalia to walk the stage at Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg and accept her Master of Science in Kinesiology.

Looking back, she said, earning this degree came with its fair share of challenges. She said she has trouble reading and understanding, sometimes, just because she isn’t strongest at those things.

“But I gave it 100 percent. I also had to re-learn a lot of stuff, but I made it through,” Campos said. “When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, a lot of my high school friends were surprised that I even graduated. They said they didn’t see me as a person capable of graduating. That was tough to hear.

“But life is hard, not everything is easy. And that was what pushed me a little bit more to go through with getting my master’s,” she said.

Campos’ advice for others is knowing that, at the end of the day, if you fall, you can always pick yourself up. When she did not understand what a word meant, she would use Google for help. If she did not understand a concept, she would reach out to her professors and colleagues for help and would take their advice to better herself. 

“I wanted the professors to know that I’m learning and I’m looking into what they told me,” she said. 

After graduation, Campos would like to work toward certifications to become an elementary school coach and an athletic trainer. She has volunteered part time for more than seven years with a Little League Baseball team in Donna and has gained hands-on experience in working with children and being their coach.

In about two more years once she has those certifications in hand, Campos said she has her sights set on getting a doctoral degree.

“At the end of the day, push yourself to the fullest,” she said. “Don’t be afraid.” 


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.