UHD Senior Uses College Opportunities to Open Doors for Self, Others
Liboria Chavez isn’t the type of person to do things halfway. The accounting major at University of Houston-Downtown’s Marilyn Davies College of Business is a model student, serves as Vice-President in the Student Government Association, has studied abroad and is active in UHD Sports & Fitness.
She commits to her endeavors – everything from her grades to her exercise regimen – and she is using her experiences to build her future and help others along the way.
Making the Move Downtown
For Chavez, who attended Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, the choice to attend UHD was an easy one.
“I chose UHD because it is a smaller institution with lower tuition rate, which is very helpful. My parents are helping me to pay for college, and I’m helping my future with my degree, so having an affordable education means a lot to me,” she said. “Even though it is a smaller institution, UHD has opened many opportunities for me, especially with grants, scholarships and financial aid.”
“It’s also closer to home. It was a great transition for me coming from high school and staying in town and being around the downtown area. It’s a more fun environment,” she added.
As a first-generation student, Chavez hopes to inspire others. She’s already been a role model to her younger sister, who is also now forging her own path as a college student.
Building Better Business
Like many students, she wasn’t always sure of her direction in college. She started as an education and math major, but as important as she knew teaching was, she discovered it wasn’t for her.
“College is all about discovering what you like, and I feel like that’s one of the things I love. You get to figure yourself out,” Chavez said. “I transitioned to accounting at the advice of my advisor. Since I liked math and numbers, she suggested college of business, and accounting was calling my name.”
The following semester, she was taking her first accounting classes and has been making A letter grades ever since.
“After I switched my major my junior year, I started making the right connections and taking part in career fairs. Switching my major to accounting made me a whole new person and realize what I want in life, and that’s why I love accounting so much,” she said.
Once realizing her passion, she actively pursued building her network. She is active in a Latino business association and NABA (National Accountant Business Association).
From Financial to Physical Fitness
When not busy crunching numbers in her accounting classes, she’s doing crunches in the gym. She has worked with UHD Sports & Fitness for three years, starting off as a desk attendant and working her way to a fitness instructor and personal trainer.
Her dedication to the student body has earned recognition from the Houston Chronicle, which recently listed her as a top fitness pro. Part of her nomination mentioned her dedication to helping students stay fit despite the hardships of the pandemic.
“In a pandemic, we’ve done workshops virtually. We try to promote the student body to avoid the ‘Freshman 15’ and emphasize that health is important in everyone’s life. At least 10-15 minutes of exercise per day can be valuable for maintaining health,” she said. “It’s been a change doing this during a pandemic. We meet online, and clients take their mobile device with them. Through ZOOM, we talk about what we’re going to do that day. I demonstrate examples so they know the right form for each exercise. They work out, and I’m the one counting the reps and keeping the schedule. They monitor their heart rate, and that helps me to know if we’re doing things right.”
Just like Chavez is enjoys seeing the impact she is making through her studies, she also enjoys seeing the benefits of her commitment to her clients at the gym.
She said, “I love helping people. I didn’t know anything about fitness, and I started studying it. I started going to the gym and learning about nutrition. I started hanging around trainers and they helped me learn more. It became a hobby and then a part-time job. It’s been amazing because I’m able to help people with their health. It’s a rewarding feeling to know you’re making an impact on someone’s life.
Chavez’ experience at UHD has birthed a world of opportunity for the budding career woman, and she’s got big plans for when she graduates later this year.
“I officially signed an offer with Deloitte. I’m going to intern with them upon graduation. I do want to continue my education. It’s a personal goal. I want to get my masters and doctorate degrees. Education is such a privilege and a beautiful thing to have,” Chavez commented. “I also want to give back to UHD. As I go on, UHD has opened so many doors for me, I feel like I’ll be back giving back and talking with students at career fairs or helping with their resumes.”