Outstanding Graduate Aaron Aguilar Displays Leadership as First-Generation College Grad

By Olivia Santos | Published: July 24, 2020

Outstanding Graduate Aaron Aguilar Displays Leadership as First-Generation College Grad

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Exhibiting a legacy of leadership and Islander spirit, spring 2020 graduate Aaron Aguilar is moving onto post-graduate life with hopes of helping families and those in need of medical care for the long-haul.

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Aguilar – a first-generation college graduate – says his memories of A&M-Corpus Christi are filled with supportive messages and moments from friends, and professors alike.

“Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was one of 15 universities that I applied to when I was in high school,” Aguilar said. “After doing more research and contacting people that came to this university, TAMU-CC became my first choice. This campus has changed my life, bringing in new friends, amazing and wonderful professors, and huge memories.”

Participating in a multitude of student and campus led organizations from the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Health Sciences Association, Campus Activities Board, and more, Aguilar believes leadership and service is the key to making a lasting Islander Impact.

“Taking on leadership roles is important to me because it is about striving and making your own path while having the support of people by your side,” said Aguilar. “Leadership has taught me to be an influencer, motivator, and persuader, and getting involved in campus organizations is key. It’s a great way to network with others and show what it takes to be a student here at TAMU-CC.”

Aguilar gives special thanks to his mentor Dr. Clarenda Phillips, Island University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Aguilar shares a laugh with mentor and Provost of the Island University, Dr. Clarenda Phillips.
Aguilar shares a laugh with mentor and Provost of the Island
University, Dr. Clarenda Phillips.

“Aaron is a mentee who gives as much as he receives. His enthusiasm for TAMU-CC and serving others gives me a boost in every encounter,” said Phillips. “Aaron understands that learning occurs inside and outside of the classroom, and he integrates knowledge across his curricular and co-curricular experiences. His passion for people and serving others fuels his love of learning and gives him a focus for his studies.”

With an ultimate goal of landing a leadership role in healthcare administration, Aguilar currently serves as the resident program’s coordinator for Brookdale Trinity Towers, a long-term care facility in downtown Corpus Christi, and has been serving as an Administrator-in-Training since December 2019.

“My field of study is about becoming that administrator in healthcare where it drives opportunity, not only to advance my career, but also the opportunity to do something that’s going to make a difference in society as we take care of people,” said Aguilar.

Supporting him throughout his undergraduate career, Aguilar’s mentor says health care is truly his calling. 

“Aaron wants people to live their best lives regardless of their stage in life,” said Phillips. “When Aaron sees people, he sees the possibilities, which allows him to help them overcome any challenges they may have. Aaron will be an asset to the healthcare administration profession, but the profession will also allow him to live his calling and have a purposeful life.”

Hailing from Laredo, Aguilar said he knew first-hand what it felt like to be away from family during college, so he decided to work as an Island Ambassador, a student position which helps future Islanders feel at home on campus. 

“My greatest impact at the University is the fact that I got a chance to meet prospective students who are trying to figure out what college fits for their future,” said Aguilar, who served as an Island Ambassador for four years. “I gave tours to many families, elementary, middle, and high school students. I can honestly tell you that giving tours and attending Island Days brought me into school spirit and making sure that at least one of those students became a part of our Islander family.”

For his dedication and success as an Islander, Aguilar was named an Outstanding Graduate for spring 2020, and he will participate in the Spring/Summer 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony on Aug. 15. Aguilar intends to continue his collegiate career by pursuing his master’s degree in Aging and Dementia studies beginning in spring 2021, at Texas State University. Crediting his success to his family, professors, advisors, friends, and mentor, Aguilar shares one sentiment for his fellow graduates.

“To my class of 2020 graduates, congratulations, we have made ourselves known and have achieved great things at the Island University,” said Aguilar. “We have completed another chapter in our lives and now it’s time to go into the world and show others what being an Islander is about – never stop learning and be the person that you are.”