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Business Student Starts Fall Semester in Washington, D.C. as an Archer Fellow
BROWNSVILLE, TEXASSEPTEMBER 9, 2013Alexandra Rodriguez has begun her senior year at The University of Texas at Brownsville; however, unlike most other students, she is 1,757 miles from the UTB campus. As a Bill Archer Fellow, Rodriguez will live, attend classes and work in Washington, D.C. until the end of the semester in December.
“I knew in my freshman year that I wanted to obtain a noteworthy internship in New York or D.C.,” said Rodriguez, a business major studying finance and international business. “In my sophomore year, I found out about the Archer Fellows internship program; I decided to work toward that, and I tailored my courses to be able to spend one semester in non-business classes.”
Alexandra Rodriguez is heading to Washington D.C. as part of the Archer program.Alexandra Rodriguez
Rodriguez, a 2010 Brownsville Pace High School graduate, entered UTB as a University Scholar, meaning she was in the top 10 percent of her graduating class. Scholars agree to participate in activities such as mentoring, career inventory assessments, unpaid internships and leadership and professional development workshops as part of this program that covers their tuition, fees and most books.
She credits her University Scholar faculty mentor, Dr. Clara Downey-Adams, with assisting and motivating her throughout the process of applying to the Archer Fellows program.
“As well as being her faculty advisor, I have enjoyed having Alexandra in several of my classes,” said Downey-Adams, Assistant Professor in the School of Business. “She is independent, mature and in touch with the world. Alexandra sees a world beyond borders and limitations.”
Not only did Rodriguez land a spot among the 41 Archer Fellows who hail from throughout The University of Texas System schools, she was accepted to her top choice of internships, working at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Latin America has always been of interest to me,” she said. “I came to college wanting to pursue economic development in Latin America. The UN is my idealinternship; I am very fortunate, very blessed, to have been placed in that internship.”
Rodriguez said she has seen the growth of a middle class in Mexico. Growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, she admits her childhood was somewhat sheltered, but as she grew older she saw the reality of the living conditions of the majority of the population.
“I know of the great natural resources and human capital in Mexico,” she said. “But I also know the political situation and public policy make growth difficult for Mexico and Latin America.”
A Student Government senator representing the School of Business, Rodriguez was selected to speak for the student body during the signing ceremony for the merger of UTB and The University of Texas Pan American on Tuesday, July 16. She sat on the stage with the dignitaries that included Texas Governor Rick Perry; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, UT System Chancellor; and Dr. Juliet V. García UTB President.
“It was amazing, having the governor come down here, being able to talk to him about the future of our region; it is pretty overwhelming knowing I was part of that,” said Rodriguez. “Twenty, 30 years from now, I’ll be looking back and see this institution and its changes and be able to say I was there during that historical moment when the governor signed the merger document.”
Rodriguez hopes to pursue a career as a foreign trade analyst or become involved in the policy-making process as emerging markets industrialize, either on Monterrey or in the United States.
“I am confident that Alexandra will succeed in whatever career avenue that she selects,” said Downey-Adams. “She would excel as a foreign trade analyst because she is drawn to investigating regional economic and government policy trends, and she can balance financial analysis and governmental policy development without bias.”
Congressman Filemón Vela joins fall 2013 Archer Fellow Alexandra
Rodriguez (left) and spring 2014 Archer Fellow Maria Graciela Cano (right).Congressman Filemón Vela joins fall 2013 Archer Fellow Alexandra Rodriguez (left) and spring 2014 Archer Fellow Maria Graciela Cano (right).
Being a University Scholar, Rodriguez has enjoyed living on campus at Casa Bella, the student residential complex. She said she appreciates the convenience walking to and from her classes and her campus job as an Advisor in the University Scholars Office. Another campus job she has held the last three summers is being an Orientation leader. Her local internships include being the logistics coordinator for Rio Bravo Wildlife Institute and working in the Office of Human Resources, Environment and Human Safety at Saint-Gobain Abrasives.
As an Archer Fellow in the nation’s capital, Rodriguez will live with other Fellows in a couple of side-by-side townhouses in D.C. She met her cohort during the three-day Archer orientation held in August at UT Austin when the students were briefed on what to expect while in D.C., including office culture and etiquette.
The Blanca and Filemón Vela family of Brownsville is helping to make this dream come true for Rodriguez and another student, Maria Graciela Cano, who will be an Archer Fellow during the spring 2014 semester.
The family made a gift to support the Archer program, in addition to the scholarship endowment they created for students in the College of Liberal Arts.
“You are going to be inspired, but by the same token, you will have an impact on other people there,” said Congressman Filemón Vela.
Downey-Adams said she is proud of Rodriguez.
“This is a very competitive program,” Downey-Adams said. “Alex’s future is as bright and sunny as her personality. Although I will miss her when she graduates, I know someday I will see her on television being interviewed as an analyst.”
Rodriguez said her parents are proud, too.
“My mom is already planning to send me care packages that I will share with my roommates,” she said.
For more information on the Bill Archer Fellow Program, visit The Archer Center.


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