Five Questions With 2018 Graduate Jessica Placencia-Delgado
By Paige Caldwell
Recent University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) graduate Jessica Placencia-Delgado moved to Houston, Texas from the Greater Los Angeles area in 2015.
The political science major experienced an array of trials, from living in shared rooms and garages in LA, to rat-infested mobile homes in Houston. As her family worked their way out of poverty, Placencia-Delgado managed to overcome those obstacles and Finish UHD Strong.
Placencia was among the 1,500 Gators who graduated at Minute Maid Park on Dec. 15.
UHD News spent some time with the California native to discuss her journey and her experience being part of the Gator family.
Why did you choose to study political science at UHD?
Studying political science was an easy choice for me since I’ve always been incredibly intrigued by the functions of government. However, choosing where I wanted to study wasn't so easy. I decided on UHD because it was affordable, had a perfect downtown location, and it was familiar because I had visited the campus several times in high school. It was the best choice I’ve ever made.
What were some of the challenges you faced while getting to this point?
Within my three years at UHD, I’ve juggled a full-time job and five-to-six classes per semester, all while holding several leadership roles on campus. I also participated in the University Honors Program, which required me to maintain a certain grade point average, participate in volunteer projects and at times, complete extra research projects. It was extremely difficult to balance it all and there were times when I felt like I should just drop out and dedicate myself to working to help my family, especially this semester. We struggled to pay bills and had our power turned off a few times, in addition to other more personal issues. Through it all, UHD has helped me become a mold of resilience. Studying here taught me to never give up and always give more than I can because, in the end, it will all be worth it.
How has earning this degree affected you and your family?
My family is extremely proud of me because I am the first in the family to receive a bachelor’s degree. This degree will show my family that it can be done! For me, out of all the benefits, pride in having earned the degree is the best reward and feeling in the world.
What was your favorite part about being a UHD Gator?
Hands down, my favorite part of being a Gator is being a part of the Gator family. UHD has a great support system within their faculty, students, staff, and administration. I’ve met some of the most caring and supportive people here on campus, including my professors Dr. Christina Hughes and Dr. John Linantud who showed me through their passion for political science, that this was worth the sacrifice. If it weren’t for them and others, I would not be here today. So, thank you Gator family!
Let’s settle the debate once and for all. Which is better, California or Texas?
Both Houston and Los Angeles have special places in my heart. I could never choose between the two because both cities have provided a tremendous foundation for my growth as a person. I absolutely know for a fact that both have my heart because when I'm in LA, I miss Houston, and when I'm in Houston, I miss LA.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.