Go on college visits. Graduate from High School. Experience college life. Earn a degree. For many college students, the route to college graduation follows a similar path. However, for students like Verónica Alvarado Potter, a recent WT graduate who earned a BBA in General Business with a specialization in International Business, the road to completion has had many twists and turns.
At age 13, Verónica moved from central México to Amarillo. Before the move, her father was diagnosed with cancer, which led to her older brother dropping out of high school to move to the United States to financially assist the family. Eventually, her parents obtained their U.S. permanent residency card and moved to reunite with her brother.
Before she came to the United States, she thought she had a good idea of what it would be like. “I had watched Home Improvement and Malcom in the Middle. I thought everyone was wealthy and that everyone lived in two story houses.” Of course, now she laughs when saying that.
Naturally, cultures differed between México and the United States, but Verónica was also surprised by the lifestyle differences, “In my small town of Teocaltiche, we didn’t need a car to get around so we walked everywhere. We also ate fresh fruit and veggies everyday – we rarely ate out at restaurants. It took me years to get used to the Amarillo weather. The climate back home fluctuates from 60-80 degrees year round – winter was a very cold surprise for me.”
It took nine years for Verónica to be granted a green card and five years later she was able to become a U.S. Citizen. She traveled to Dallas to take her U.S. Citizenship exam and took her Oath of Allegiance to the United States in the Potter County Federal Court in Amarillo.
In 2006, Verónica graduated from Caprock High School and decided to start her college career at Amarillo College (AC). A couple years later she got married and moved to Savannah, Georgia where her husband, Dale, was stationed at Hunter Air Force Base. The move to Georgia and the birth of their son paused her college journey as Verónica wanted to take the time to focus on her family. When they moved back to Texas and her son started school, Verónica decided to start taking classes again, this time at WT, where she had heard good things about the faculty from other students at AC.
During her first visit to WT, Verónica met with Michelle Vinyard, an academic adviser in the Office of Undergraduate Business Programs. Michelle took two hours helping her decide between Healthcare Management and International Business and suggested a minor in Finance. During that lengthy conversation, Verónica was able to solidify her future path and in an interesting turn of events, she now works alongside Michelle in the Undergraduate Business Programs office as a student worker.
While at WT, Verónica took advantage of student support and student engagement activities. “I used the writing lab all the time. Because English is not my first language, I wanted to try to refine my papers and learn how to be a better writer.” Verónica also became an active member of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America) where she is the Director of Community Service. She also participated in the recent study abroad trip to Scandinavia. This was her first visit to Europe, which was memorable because it reminded her of her hometown in México since locals walked everywhere and fresh fruits and vegetables were commonplace.
West Texas A&M University has provided me with the educational and professional growth that I was yearning for in a higher education institution. I have found mentors in the faculty, staff, and friends amongst my colleagues. I am grateful for WT as my university of choice because I have made lifelong friends, I have had the amazing opportunity to travel to amazing parts of the world, and I have been able to accomplish much more than I could have anticipated.– Verónica Alvarado Potter
While there have been many twists and turns along the way, Verónica has achieved and persevered through her BBA program. Now she is taking classes toward her Master’s in Business Administration at WT and hopes to become an advisor and teach Management classes in the future.
For more information about Undergraduate Programs in the Engler College of Business, contact COBundergrad@wtamu.edu or 806-651-2525.
For more information about The University Writing Center at WTAMU, visit their website or contact them at (806) 651-2473.