Mariana Velazquez

San Antonio, Texas

"I didn't know you could make a career out of a geoscience degree, or that this degree even existed!"

I recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2018. I was born and raised in Texas, and have lived in San Antonio my whole life. My parents immigrated from Mexico to the U.S over 25 years ago and I am a first-generation Mexican-American. I am also a first-generation university student, as I am the first in my family to get a B.S degree. Now that I have graduated, I decided to take some time off from academics and join the workforce before returning for graduate school. I was recently hired as an Environmental Analyst for Frost Bank, one of the largest banks in Texas.

My Pathway

Growing up, I always seemed to excel in academics and I've had a love for learning since I was a child. Unfortunately, society trained me to think that I was only given two choices if I ever wanted to be successful and those choices were to either become a doctor or an engineer. I was so convinced I wanted to become a doctor that my senior year of high school I enrolled myself in a Clinical Rotations class. In this class I got the opportunity to visit the hospital each morning and shadow nursers and doctors. While I learned a lot and got cool experiences such as witnessing surgeries, it also convinced me that it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. That same year I was also enrolled in AP Environmental Science and got to learn about the earth sciences and completely fell in love with the discipline. This is why I decided to apply to the Jackson School and focus my Environmental Science degree in geology. It was there where I found a community of incredibly talented people with the same passions as me. I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to learn among the best professors and students!

The surprising thing is...

While the geoscience field is growing, there is a need for Hispanic students to gain more interest in the degree. According to the Geological Society of America, in the year 2010, underrepresented minorities only accounted for "20% of all U.S Bachelor's degrees" and less than 7% in the geosciences. Studies have shown that diversity makes science better! By reaching out to more students, I am hoping to change these statistics and help people realize their passion for geology.


Being a part of the Geoscience Ambassador Program has taught me that everyone's story looks so different, but we are all united by our love for this field! No matter what our background may seem like, our passion for the geosciences brings us together, allows us to collaborate, and make up new ideas that help make the earth a better place!

Contact Me!

Reach out to learn more about the geosciences, about how to become a geoscientist, or to talk about your own story.