New director making her mark at Moody
Jennifer Alvizo: Making a difference
Jennifer Alvizo is the new director of disABILITY Support Services & Veterans Affairs in the Department of Access & Educational Support Programs, but she is not new to San Antonio College. She first came to SAC as a student the summer before her freshman year at the University of Texas.
A Texas native, Ms. Alvizo lived in Kirby where she graduated from Judson High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in education from UT-Austin. Her first post college job was as an Austin pre-school teacher.
While she loved Austin, Ms. Alvizo wanted to return to San Antonio. Eventually she received her master’s in counseling at UTSA, while working as a graduate assistant and mentor.
She took a position with UTSA at the Tomas Rivera Center where she was an instructor, teaching educational psychology courses. “I had a lot of fun doing that – teaching and advising,” she said.
In 2006 she joined SAC and worked as a counselor for Student Support Services Project working in disABILITY Support Services. “I was so touched emotionally by so many students at SAC,” she said.
When the grant for her position ended she moved to the Alamo College District, working with the vice chancellor of academic success. Alvizo served as the project coordinator.
The opportunity to return to SAC in 2012 came when the two offices – DSS and Veterans – were combined under one director. It was a new job in a newly renovated Moody Learning Center. The disABILITY Support Services & Veterans Affairs offices are located in the spacious ground floor area of MLC.
Alvizo said her supervisor and colleagues at District “knew my heart was here at SAC.” She had experience working with disabled veterans. “I had worked with veterans before – getting their paper work and information ironed out.”
Today, Ms. Alvizo is not in a counseling capacity on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes special issues will arise and she is there for the student. “In this position it is important for me to have a strong team,” and she says she has it in her VA & DSS staff, counselors, and work-studies. She also praises the VA work-study students – all veterans – who work the front desk.
“We’re seeing more vets than we have ever seen at SAC,” she said. Some 2,932 veterans are enrolled for the spring semester.
Does she see a big difference between SAC students and four-year university students? The answer is yes. “Many of our SAC students work full-time, have families and (many) are first-generation-in-college.
“Our students are not just doing it for themselves, they are setting an example for their families.”
When she isn’t working, Ms. Alvizo enjoys running -- she has participated in a number of 5K and10K runs and she loves fantasy football.
We wrapped the interview with questions for Ms. Alvizo like those posed by Vanity Fair magazine (which are, in turn, taken from the Proust questionnaire):
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being together with my family with everybody being healthy and active. Holidays are so much fun.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Which living person do you most admire?
My parents. Ralph and Gloria.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What trait do you most deplore in yourself?
I am a perfectionist.
Favorite super hero?
If you could have one superhero magical power what would it be?
The ability to stop time, yet continue to live in that moment.