The Heart Behind the Center for Student Success: Andrew Garcia

Kayla May, Staff Writer

From ASSMU President to Assistant Director of Academic Support, Andrew Garcia has always been an advocate for students’ wants and needs. Before he became the Assistant Director of Academic Support, Garcia was heavily involved with student activities while he was a student at SMU. As ASSMU President, he represented the student body’s needs, desires, interests, and concerns to the institution’s board of trustees, administration and cabinet members.

He also served as the Director of Campus Activities, in charge of planning and evaluating over 80 student-oriented activities on and off campus.

To add to his extensive bio during his undergrad, he was also the social media coordinator for the university. He maintained an active university blog showcasing student life while attending university events to advertise or live stream the events to promote community engagement.

After a brief time away post-graduation, Garcia returned to SMU in a larger role, Assistant Director of Academic Support. He described this return as his calling, “I returned to Saint Martin’s because of my passion for equal access to education. I believe that barriers shouldn’t exist between students and a degree.”

Garcia oversees the Center for Student Success (CSS) in his new role. He shared with me some of the rewarding aspects of this role, such as watching students utilize the tutoring services and be more successful in their courses because of it.

Within the Center, a variety of services are offered to students, such as subject-specific and writing tutoring and disability support services. The CSS is a breeding ground for peer connection and learning, dedicated to giving students the resources they need to thrive in their courses.

I asked Garcia to reflect on how his perspective at the university has changed from his time here as a student to now, “As a student I didn’t recognize all of the moving parts that each staff member is contributing to campus. Staff are one of the biggest backbones on campus, and many do not realize that.”

While he was reflecting on his experiences over the past few years, he took the time to recognize students and the real issues they face, explaining “how we [staff and faculty] react and support them will set them up for success.” He also gave appreciation for those that support the CSS and see the value in the work they do.

He ended with a final piece of advice for those graduating and heading into the workforce soon, “Remember your value. You are each worth so much here. Do not settle for less than you want and deserve.”

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