Recruitment coordinator inspired by past need to help others

As a first-generation college graduate, Perla Studer appreciates the struggles incoming freshmen can face and just how important a guiding hand from someone who’s traveled their path before can be.

Perla Studer

“It’s definitely a full circle,” said Studer, a University of Houston-Victoria student recruitment coordinator. “I know I needed that help, and when I was given the opportunity to become a recruiter, I feel like it’s now my turn to pay it forward.”

When she attended Victoria College before transferring to Sam Houston State University, the prospect of applying for financial aid and signing up for classes was daunting, Studer said. However, thanks to the help of mentor Alma Garcia, she was able to navigate the new terrain of college life – an experience she credits with inspiring her to help students who came after her.

“My parents always told me my education was something that could never be taken away from me and encouraged me to finish,” she said. “They were really supportive in that aspect. But in terms of what paperwork to fill out and helping guide me along, they didn’t know how to do that because they’d never been to college themselves.”

Although she originally intended to be an FBI agent, Studer knew she wanted to give back to her community, and the career switch has been for the best. Not only does it allow her to see the positive effects of her work on a day-to-day basis, but the position has allowed her family to return to where she grew up.

“Victoria is home,” Studer said. “So we wanted to come back to where family is and start settling down and growing roots. It was just a perfect fit that I would be back on campus.”

As a UHV recruiter, Studer travels to high schools throughout Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend area to let seniors know about the opportunities the university has to offer. While at each campus, she also provides direction for those who might not be sure about the necessary steps to enroll, apply for financial aid and launch their higher education.

“I want to let them know that this is actually a reality for them,” Studer said. “Our students aren’t graduating with an overwhelming amount of debt. It can be done.”

She takes pride in the fact that UHV’s recruitment staff takes the time to follow up with students after their campus visits to answer any questions they may have.

“There are lots of points of contact,” she said. “We’re texting, calling, Skyping with them. That one-on-one attention is a big selling point.”

Studer is working toward earning her master’s degree in education and caring for her newborn twins. Still, she takes time to ensure her students have all the support they need.

“It’s definitely rewarding because a lot of the time, the students will tell you, ‘I didn’t think I could do this,’ or, ‘Because of you, I’m graduating,’” she said. “We’re pushing them toward the right direction so that they can have an education.”

Staff Feature is an online profile highlighting staff members at the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a staff member, contact Ashley Strevel, 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.

Nicole Crapps