13:52 PM

New Role within Rising Stars Internship Program Signals Growth

Daniel Garcia '01, MBA '09Daniel Garcia ‘01, MBA ’09 in Finance, joins the University of St. Thomas as program manager of its growing Rising Stars Internship Program. In the new role, he will support even more first-generation college students to succeed. It’s the kind of work he was born to do.

A Man with a Mission

Garcia said, “My mission in life is helping students.”

As a first-generation college student himself, Garcia’s heart is, and always has been, dedicated to disadvantaged students. His focus is on assisting them in getting a top-notch education.

Since 2001, Garcia directed the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound program, first for Houston Community College, and then for the Parris Foundation.

“In Upward Bound (also known as TRIO), we measure success by how many high school students graduate and go on to higher education,” Garcia said. “Every year, more than 90% of the teens in my program went on to college.”

How Rising Stars Works

Like Upward Bound, Rising Stars concentrates on providing students with the foundational tools and skills they need to be well-rounded individuals and achieve in college. Then, the UST program adds a high-value, internship component to prepare them for the professional world.

Garcia explained, “They actually work as interns in corporate office settings eight hours a week, following managers, learning about paperwork, and so forth. They get the feel of the business and get their foot in the door, so they can put four years of ‘learning the ropes’ on their resumes when they graduate.”

Program Poised to Take Off

Rising Stars began as a pilot idea in 2019 with half a dozen students. Already, the nascent program is benefitting more than 30 participants. Adding Garcia’s strengths and experience to the mix, signals momentum.

Director of Corporate Relations, Mallory Wendel, said, “Our Rising Stars Internship Program has significantly grown in less than two years and is poised to eventually serve upwards of 200 students. With Daniel on board to manage the daily student engagements, I will have more time to focus on developing and nurturing our relationships with the generous corporate sponsors who make this amazing effort possible.”

In his new post, Garcia will be coming home. He is a former two-time Alumni Association Board President and recipient of UST’s highest alumni honor, the Guinan 2020 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.

For more information on the Rising Stars Program, click here.