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Meet a Roadrunner: Houston native Curtis Wilkins empowers #FutureRoadrunners

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Meet Curtis Wilkins: 11-13. This Houston native is an author, education mentor and college admissions counselor who developed his passion for higher education at UTSA.

As a high school student, Wilkins says he had to keep a job to help his mother, hung around the wrong crowd and didn't think he was college material. But he was determined to graduate from high school, go to college and become the first in his family to earn a degree.

It took many years, but that persistence paid off. Today, Wilkins is a Houston-based undergraduate admissions counselor representing UTSA, the alma mater where he earned two degrees.

"I barely graduated from high school but was able to learn to thrive in both my bachelor's and master's degree programs because of the support I received from UTSA professors, staff members and peers through my involvement on campus," said Wilkins. "Students who are in my shoes need to know that college is truly a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have the right approach, success is possible, especially if the culture is a nurturing one like UTSA was to me."

In his current role as a UTSA admissions counselor, Wilkins goes to high schools, community colleges and college fairs in the Houston area to educate prospective students about UTSA degree programs, financial aid and the admissions process. When he's not answering questions posed by prospective students, he serves as a mentor to students enrolled at UTSA and other colleges in the San Antonio and Houston areas.

"I remember what it was like to be a first-generation student researching colleges," said Wilkins. "It's the reason I took this position at UTSA. I get to work with students who are going through that same experience."

Wilkins regularly shares the lessons he learned with prospective students. He tells them about his college admissions experience and describes the time he spent as an Orientation leader when he was an undergraduate. He also tells them how working with freshmen new to San Antonio and UTSA ultimately helped him uncover a deeper interest in higher education leadership, and how he pursued that path to earn a master's degree.

Eventually, Wilkins pondered about how he might make a wider impact. He decided to compile his experiences in a book.

Last summer, the UTSA alumnus published Potential University: A -3 M's College Experience. It gives current and prospective college students a framework to guide them along their academic journey.

Meaning, motivation and mindset are Wilkins' three Ms. According to Wilkins, finding meaning allows students to approach their college journey in a purposeful way. Likewise, identifying and embracing motivations allows students to reach higher levels of achievement. Lastly, developing the right mindset can turn the way students think about their ability to succeed.

The book mimics a student's academic journey and Wilkins hopes the lessons he shares will encourage students to reach their highest potential.

Wilkins takes his tips on the road, doing speaking engagements for schools and organizations in San Antonio, his hometown of Houston and other Texas cities. The UTSA admissions counselor also speaks at higher education conferences nationwide.

"UTSA really had an impact on me. The faculty helped me succeed and now as an employee, I've really enjoyed working in an open and encouraging environment," said Wilkins. "I've learned to apply myself in all that I do to be successful and I want to share that advice with all those students out there who need some encouragement."

Photo courtesy of University Communications

View the original story on UTSA Today:


UTSA College of Education and Human Development

Phone: 210-458-4370