Maria Alvarez is a Business Service Center Specialist II in the College of Engineering Business Service Center.
Please tell us about yourself.
I have proudly served UTSA for 21 years. My first 11 years of service were in Business Affairs. I started in the Disbursements Office, then promoted several times while working in the Budget Office/DEFINE System. I was eager to learn more, so I figured Academic Affairs would be a good move. I transferred to the College of Engineering Dean’s Office in 2009, with a promotion to Management Analyst. In November 2018, my position was realigned, but I still have the pleasure of serving the College of Engineering in the Business Service Center.
I was born in Brownsville, Texas, but did not grow up there – I lived the life of a “military brat.” I was fortunate to have traveled to and lived across the United States while my father was active duty in the Air Force. Our family never had the opportunity to travel with my dad overseas though, so that was my dream.
In order to travel overseas, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps, so I joined the United States Air Force and was active duty from 1989 to 1994. While enlisted, I obtained a Top Secret Clearance for my job as a Morse Code Interceptor Specialist, and my last couple of years as a Financial Analyst. While stationed in the United Kingdom, I gave birth to my two daughters, Andrea (going on 29 years old) and Rayanna (27 years old). They are my everything and I am so proud of them. I returned to the United States and then met Oscar – we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. We enjoy going to concerts and traveling. Our favorite place to visit is Denver, Colorado. We catch up with friends, go to Denver Broncos football games, and go to the mountains at Black Hawk for a little gambling. In my spare time, I enjoy painting, making puzzles, hand crafting flowers, and crafting in general.
What is your job title and what do you do?
I am a Business Service Center Specialist II and I provide outstanding customer service to COE students, faculty, and staff in regards to human resources, payroll, and financial matters.
What is the best thing about your job?
I truly enjoy meeting new students each semester and helping them with any questions they may have. It’s great to see them succeed each semester and see them graduate. I have also had the pleasure of working with great faculty and staff. I enjoy learning and growing with the changes and challenges at UTSA, so I am able to continue to grow in my position.
Before working at UTSA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
While at Lackland Air Force Base Basic Training, I had the honor of being selected in the Air Force Intelligence Agency. I trained to become a Morse Code Interceptor Specialist. The cryptology course took 21 weeks to learn. After graduation, the Air Force assigned me Royal Air Force Chicksands in the United Kingdom for a three-year long overseas tour. I served in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm, also referred to as the Gulf War, during that time.
How do you define success?
Not by the title one holds, but for being known for hard work, honesty, and willingness to share knowledge.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Fill in the blank: I once met ____.
I once met Eric Clapton in the early 2000’s. He is such a nice person.
What are your top three life highlights?
1. The births of my two beautiful daughters, Andrea and Rayanna.
2. Being one of five selected from all 1989 Lackland AFB Basic Training Graduating Class to attend the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Fort Devans, MA.
3. While on Military Leave, I was about to go back home to Texas and spend time with my family, especially my Grandmother Josephina. I will never forget the huge smile on her face when she saw me in formal blues uniform. She was such a blessing. “Vaya con Dios,” (Go with God) she always said. I did not know this would be my last wonderful memory of her.