UHV senior chooses career based on upbringing

Wanting to help others is just part of Victor Zertuche’s DNA.

Victor Zertuche

The 23-year-old San Antonio native started at UHV in fall 2010, the first semester the university offered courses for freshmen and sophomores.

Now, Zertuche, who is earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in social work, is expected to graduate in May. He said he’s loved his time at UHV.

A first-generation college student, Zertuche also had the option of attending the University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Texas at Austin or St. Mary’s University. But when it boiled down to making a choice, Zertuche selected UHV.

“What made me come here was affordability and classroom size,” he said. “I really didn’t know what to expect. This place has improved since I’ve arrived here.”

Zertuche said it was instilled in him at a young age to want to help others succeed. Knowing this about his personality, the desire to help others played a role in deciding a career path.

“I like helping people and meeting people,” he said. “Everyone has a different story and should be heard.”

At first, he thought teaching would fit the bill. Then he realized social work might be the best approach. Along with working at Capital One, Zertuche has spent the last three months interning at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. As an intern, he surveys and shadows employees at the office. He’s gone out on calls, and he’s read and helped conduct an investigation.

“I think it’s been beneficial,” he said. “I wanted to see if a day in the life of a social worker was for me.”

Zertuche was a member of the UHV Student Government Association for two years and worked as a Resident Assistant during his sophomore year.

“I was more hands-on with the RA position,” he said. “It shaped me a lot. It made me have more pride for the school.”

With graduation in sight, Zertuche said his nerves are kicking in. He’s always been the type to look ahead, so not knowing what’s next can be a little nerve-wracking.

Now he is considering applying to law school or going straight into the workforce. There is a job out there that Zertuche would love. When he was younger, he used to work with children at the YMCA. He would enjoy having a similar position.

“I went to work every day with a smile on my face,” he said. “If I had a dream job, I really would wake up every day and help people. I’d like to get up and make an impact.”

I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Jeremy Shapiro , UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.

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.