UHV freshman adjusts to college life through soccer, art, friends

Karina Fernandez

People have a way of adjusting to their surroundings. A little time and hard work can make a real difference. Such was the case for University of Houston-Victoria freshman Karina Fernandez.

Fernandez was just 11 years old when she and her family moved from their hometown of Jalisco, Mexico, to Corpus Christi.

“I didn’t know English that well, so school was a little different,” she said. “I had to adjust.”

The 18-year-old said she soaked up information and worked with friends to learn the language. And seven years later, she’s majoring in communications at the university level.

Fernandez still maintains a hold on the culture she grew up in, playing soccer with friends and family. She began playing on organized teams in high school and now plays midfield forward for the Jaguars.

“Soccer is the main sport in Mexico,” she said. “And I really like playing at school. The whole team is a group of friends.”

Fernandez said there were several reasons she decided to attend UHV.

In addition to the chance to play soccer, the university is close enough to Corpus Christi that she can easily visit her family but still have a little independence.

“It’s a small place where I can concentrate on school,” she said of Victoria. “But, if I want to do something else, Houston isn’t too far. I think it’s a good place to be. I’m happy.”

Away from classes and athletic fields, Fernandez said she indulges her artistic side. She enjoys drawing and has a passion for painting.

“I paint nature and pretty much everything else,” she said, noting she prefers to work with acrylics. “I don’t really have a favorite painting.”

She isn’t alone in her creative endeavors. With cousins who paint and a sister who draws, the talent is in her blood.

“I guess it’s a family thing,” she said with a laugh. Looking ahead, Fernandez said she might consider taking on a minor in math. After graduation, she hopes to eventually become a TV news reporter.

For now, however, she’s happy where she is.

“It’s been different, but not bad,” she said. “School has been good so far.”

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Allison Miles 361-570-4342