A student from
both sides of the border
by Reginald Andah
One of Gerardo Antonio Feria’s favorite sayings is “Be the change you want to be in the world.” Taking that advice to heart, Feria came to Texas State, where he is completing a master’s degree in criminal justice — a degree that will help him make the difference he envisions.
“Contributing to making this world a safer place is one of the biggest concerns not only of this country, but everywhere,” says Feria. “I believe my education can give me the specific skills I need to make a positive impact.”
The journey to Texas was a homecoming for the 26-year-old Feria. Born in Houston, he moved with his family at age 2 to Mexico, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in law from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla in 2009. Feria considered his degree to be just one step along the path to his career goals. “I decided to push forward in my education so I could be considered a high standard candidate. I want to be above average in the job market,” he says.
Searching online for a master’s degree program brought him to Texas State, and a campus visit sealed the deal.
“The first time I saw the San Marcos River, I knew this was the place I wanted to call home,” he recalls.
Moving more than 2,300 miles from his family didn’t deter Feria. His ambition pushes him beyond obstacles. “I like big challenges, so whatever I do, I always make sure to complete it,” he says.
Between classes, studying, volunteering and work, Feria has a schedule that would make most people buckle. He slowed down just long enough for us to ask him a few questions about his Texas State experience.
Q. Why did you choose Texas State?
A. Texas State is a unique university because it is open to cultural diversification. It feels like home to me, not to mention it has an excellent criminal justice program. The professors are so brilliant and at the same time so friendly and humble.
Q. What are your career goals?
A. After graduation, I want to become a U.S. Army officer. I enlisted just a few weeks ago. When I complete my service, I hope to work in U.S. federal law enforcement.
Q. How are the things you’re studying helping you reach your goals?
A. I develop research projects on crime. Statistics can tell me a lot about human behavior, especially deviant behavior. I’m learning how to manage police personnel in order to control crime effectively and efficiently.
Q. What is the best event you attended at Texas State?
A. The School of Criminal Justice graduation in fall 2012, because that is where I’m going to be next year when I graduate. I know I’ll make it because my teachers are willing to help in any way they can and are the friendliest people I have ever met.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not in class?
A. I’m a black belt in Taekwondo and teach Olympic Taekwondo classes in San Marcos and Austin. It is one of the most important parts of my life. I believe that self-defense can improve people’s lives. When dealing with kids, I’m teaching them more than self-defense, discipline or being in good shape; I believe I’m helping to keep them away from things such as drugs, alcohol and crime.
Q. What’s the best advice you received about college? What advice would you give to help students make the most of their college experience?
A. My father told me, “College time is just an instance in your life. Enjoy it, benefit from it and finish it.” If I were to give advice to students just as my father did for me, I would say focus on your goals, have faith, manage your time and never give up. And if you really want to learn, come to Texas State.