Veteran’s mission continues at UHV

Victoria resident Brandon Cantu, 26, has earned respect for serving his country and being a model citizen on and off the University of Houston-Victoria campus.

Brandon Cantu

Cantu was a sergeant in the U.S. Army for six years before becoming a UHV student. It was in the Army that he gained many different life skills that later would help him as a student.

“My primary job was to care for and treat soldiers in war time and at bases during peace times,” he said. “I was a squad leader for more than 10 soldiers and had to protect and mentor them for further success.” 

After his life in the Army concluded two years ago, he returned to Victoria. Cantu decided the next step was to attend a college. He originally thought about going to Victoria College, but after a visit to UHV, he decided he wanted to be a Jaguar. Perla Studer, former UHV manager of student recruitment, was instrumental in bringing Cantu on board.

“One day at the gym, Perla heard me talking about going to college,” Cantu recalls. “She talked to me about going to UHV and about how it is expanding and growing. After visiting, I got to see that UHV would be the place for me.”

Cantu now is a junior majoring in health studies. He is interested in becoming a registered dietitian.

“Coming to UHV and obtaining a health studies degree sets me up to do great things at the next school,” Cantu said.

He continues to make a big difference in people’s lives by helping them reach their fitness goals and obtain a healthier lifestyle.

“I am a personal trainer at Elite Fitness. I help people get in better shape, help them with their nutrition, and help them make an overall lifestyle change,” Cantu said. “I also am part of a research study for chronic kidney disease in South Texas.”

With a wife and two kids, Cantu wasn’t sure he could ever attend a university. Now he is succeeding as a student and having so much fun, he said.

His favorite UHV course is “Epidemiology in the Health Studies Program” taught by Michael Wiblishauser, an assistant professor in the School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development. 

“It is diverse in education and covers many topics about health and society,” Cantu said. “Dr. Wiblishauser’s knowledge and passion for the information allows for a better learning experience.”

He enjoys being a UHV student and has good things to say about the university. The professors have been helpful and have provided him with the education that he needs to succeed.

“I like the level of care and interaction by the school,” Cantu said. “The professors know and care for the students. You are not just another number. They truly care about you and your future.”

I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting students from the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, 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.

Lisa Shapiro, Special to UHV