CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Unlike most Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi graduates, Stephanie Parlamas will not be wearing a cap and gown as she walks across the stage during this year’s Summer 2017 Commencement Ceremony to receive her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Instead, she will proudly wear her service uniform as she joins the ranks of both Commissioned Officer in the United States Army and a long line of Islander family alumni.
“I never thought it would finally be my turn to walk across the stage and I am beyond ecstatic,” said Parlamas. “I am lucky to come from a family of driven individuals that have chosen to advance their education.”
Parlamas intended to join the military straight out of high school – like her parents did – but her parents encouraged her to get an education first. As chance would have it, at her freshman orientation, she stumbled upon a recruitment table for the Islander Army ROTC and took it as more than just a coincidence.
“I signed a contract with the ROTC after my first semester and they offered me a full-ride scholarship,” said Parlamas. “Joining ROTC changed my life. I came into college as a general business major, but tying in ROTC and the leadership skills I was taught there changed my focus from general business to business management. ROTC has taught me substantial leadership and everyday practical skills that I can take with me into the civilian business world.”
Originally from Odem, Texas, Parlamas followed in both her parents’ and three of her siblings’ footsteps when she chose to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“Texas A&M-Corpus Christi provided both the affordability and quality education we were looking for,” said Parlamas. “Because of those factors, I am the sixth person in my immediate family to attend. Each of us has endured ample success as a result. Being an Islander has become our family tradition.”
Parlamas says her experience at the Island University was nothing less than superb. From thought-provoking lectures that provided real-world examples to creative exercises that supplement lectures, Parlamas says she experienced a practical and conducive learning environment that provided her with knowledge she will be able to use in her future.
“The faculty and staff within the College of Business gave me the resources necessary to advance in my education,” said the 22-year-old. “I’ve had excellent and inspirational teachers that made my experience at TAMU-CC all the better.”
Parlamas is especially appreciative of a project she completed in her social entrepreneurship class. For this project, Parlamas and her group conducted an analysis of Goodwill Industries of South Texas and produced a 56-page report with viable recommendations to improve the operation of the local nonprofit. At the conclusion of their research, they held a community presentation for students, faculty and representatives for the nonprofit. Parlamas says she will be able to utilize the framework used in that research project while eventually pursuing her master’s degree at A&M-Corpus Christi.
“I plan to follow in my mom’s footsteps,” Parlamas said. “She also earned her master’s degree in business from A&M-Corpus Christi. She helped feed my passion for business and always told me that I have a great business mind set.”
During Parlamas’ time at the Island University, she served in the ROTC Color Guard and even posted the colors at two of her sisters’ graduation ceremonies. She also traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky for two summers of immersive training, one of which is a requirement for commissioning. Also, during her freshman year, she took part in an exercise on campus that had her repelling off a two-story building to test her confidence.
“The skills I have learned in ROTC are easily transferrable to the classroom and workplace setting,” said Parlamas. “The fundamentals of leadership are critical to business majors, particularly management majors, because we are the upcoming decision makers for organizations.”
On the day before she walks the stage, Parlamas and four other Islanders will take part in a commissioning ceremony, where they will take their ceremonial oath of service into the United States Army.
“My parents, Anthony and Aurora, will be pinning on my rank,” said Parlamas. “Since day one, they have shown profound support of my choice to join the World’s Best Army.”
In September, Parlamas will report to her reserve unit in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, where she will serve as a platoon leader in the 328th Personnel Services Battalion Human Resources Company under the 4th Sustainment Command. Later, she will leave for Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course B in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. During this 12-week course, she will learn the technical aspects of her job as well as core Army fundamentals. Parlamas currently works in Human Resources and plans to continue down this career path in both her Army and civilian job.The Summer 2017 Commencement Ceremony is the largest Islander summer ceremony to date, with more than 570 students set to graduate.