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Spotlight: Valeria Carrillo Garcia

Student Posing for Graduation Picture
Pictured: Valeria Carrillo Garcia


I remember passing by the monument we have on campus next to the Honors Building; "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others" - Pericles. That quote shines bright in my mind when I think of leadership. I believe in empowering others, guiding them, and influencing them to take opportunities that will mold their journey to living a purposeful life.


During my years at Texas State, I was able to immerse myself in the many leadership development opportunities and experiences, that the leadership institute offered. To surround my self with individuals that showed interest in leadership development I became apart of the Leadership Institute Board. After a year, I was presented with the opportunity to serve as a President of an organization on campus, that is when started to use all the skills that I learned through being involved. Sharing my skills and serving my community as a servant leader became the new normal to me, for the rest of my time at Texas State I took on more leadership roles on and off-campus.


I keep my medal of hope in my car, as a reminder of the personal development offered to me and the leadership journey that I decided to take. I am glad that I took advantage of the great experiences that Texas State Leadership Institute offered, it equipped me with the soft skills I needed to be a successful change agent. 

Teacher with Students in Dresses


I would tell current students to get involve and take advantage of the opportunities that are offered at Texas State. Leadership development is crucial to develop the experience that employers are looking for when they are hiring. These skills and experiences are not necessarily learned in classes; therefore, you should set aside time to develop skills that will ultimately help you land a job after graduation. Through your involvement, you can also expand your network and create lifelong relationships. Be a part of an organization take that leap of faith and take a leadership role to gain experience, especially if you see leadership roles in your career.


My "aha" moments with the leadership institute always occurred during the Leadership Institute Annual Conference. This was the one event I cleared my agenda for, the guest speakers were meaningful and full of great knowledge to share. In particular, I would always remember Jose Hernandez, the first migrant farmworker to become a NASA astronaut, that spoke about the importance of working hard to obtain your goals and standing out. Jose talked about how he got turned down eleven times for astronaut training, but he was committed, and he continued to apply regardless of being rejected. He told us that during his time of trying he even took a job as a mascot! He is my definition of perseverance.

"She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes."

I love to travel, soon after I graduated from Texas State University I decided to move across the US to Oregon. In Oregon, I was a youth advocator, mentor, and community leader. With the phase-in mind, I laughed and smile, listen to others, spoke positively, lived purposely, and was my authentic weird self. I like to believe that I leave a little of me in the communities I serve. I am now about to embark on a new journey overseas in Spain with the determination to grow as a professional and continue to empower youth, so they too can become leaders in their community.


Valeria ProfileAbout the Author:
Valeria Carrillo Garcia currently serves as the College and Career Readiness Coach at College Dreams in Grants Pass, Oregon. During her time at Texas State, she served as President of the Bilingual Education Student Organization (BESO) while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Leadership Studies. Her involvement at Texas State and the Leadership Institute included being involved in the Student Leadership Board, serving as a LIAC facilitator, and being involved in Latinx/Hispanic education.