Accounting senior Juan Ortiz received a national award this week from the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) – the first recipient from Texas A&M University in five years.
Ortiz received the Daniel Zamora Student of the Year Award at ALPFA’s national conference, where hundreds of students attended and sessions covering topics like leadership development, networking, and professional development.
This award is given to an individual who has shown an excellent balance between academics, community involvement, and the student ALPFA chapter. They are also looking for candidates who have demonstrated the leadership qualities that are essential to a promising future career. Candidates are individuals who have devoted countless hours in their chapter of ALPFA and has promoted the organization amongst their peers.
Ortiz comes from Brownsville, Texas – seven hours away from College Station. While growing up, his financial situation was dire due to family circumstances. When deciding to come to Texas A&M, which has a high average family income, Ortiz didn’t let any of the odds that were against him hinder his ability to persevere.
Ortiz is currently on track to graduate summa cum laude from Mays and is a part of the Professional Program in Accounting, a five-year program that provides a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, as well as a professional internship. He recently completed an internship with EY, which made him among a select few rising juniors selected for that program.
He is also a member of the Regents Ambassador Program, a learning community at Texas A&M aimed at developing first-generation Regents’ Scholars as informed and engaged members of the business world and the larger global community.
While in school, Ortiz has ventured out to pursue a multitude of leadership opportunities. In ALPFA, Ortiz has served as the vice president of both internal and external affairs and was recently selected as president of Texas A&M’s Hispanic President’s Council, an organization that serves as a uniting body for all Latinx organizations on campus. He was also among 15 students in his freshman learning community of almost 90 who was selected to participate in a global learning program in South Africa during the summer of 2015.
The American Dream
Corey Stone, program director for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Mays, said Ortiz was one of the first students he recruited from high school. “I have enjoyed watching Juan grow from an intelligent young man who came a long way to further his education for himself and for his family to become a leader on campus, Stone said. “He makes his family proud and inspires other students – particularly fellow Latinos – to pursue their dreams, regardless of geographic distance or other challenges.”
Stone added Ortiz remains true to his family and his Latino culture while continuing to achieve a high level of success. “He is demonstrating for many Latinos on campus, many of whom are also first-generation college students, that every sacrifice their families made for them is worth it,” Stone said. “Their parents may not understand every success, every internship, every challenge, but their families are proud. Every one of Juan’s successes continues to radically change the trajectory of his life and his family’s lives. He is the American Dream.”
When Ortiz heard he was the recipient of this award he was surprised but thankful for the three years of being a part of ALPFA. He recounted all the memories he had from this organization that he called his “familia.” He knew since the day he joined the organization that the people there genuinely cared for him.
Mays recruiter and ALPFA advisor Myroslaba Martinez ’17 met Ortiz during his freshman year. “Juan fights for his dreams and goals and has beaten the odds with his diligence in all he does,” she said. “Being a member of ALPFA is about growing professionally, making meaningful relationships, and making the most out of being at Texas A&M. Juan served as an ALPFA leader for multiple years and was always willing to assist his peers and give back to Texas A&M.”