Release Date: 5/1/2014
Daniel Garcia's goal of being the first person in his immediate family to earn a college degree isn't just about him.
"I have two younger sisters and I want to show them that you can achieve your goals with hard work and dedication," said Garcia, a University of the Ozarks junior mathematics major from Clarksville. "I hope I can be an example for them and that they will keep up their grades and go to college as well."
Garcia's family moved to the United States from Mexico when he was just 3. Not only did his parents not attend college, even in his extended family very few of his relatives have pursued higher education.
"There's just not a lot of tradition of our family going to college, so I want to begin a new tradition where college is expected," he said. "I've always made pretty good grades and I always knew I was going to go to college."
Garcia has shined both inside and outside the classroom since arriving at Ozarks. He's made the academic honor roll numerous times and last summer he spent six weeks studying biostatistics at the prestigious Columbia Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics (CSIBS) at Columbia University in New York City. Outside the classroom, Garcia was recently elected by the student body to serve as the Student Government Association president for the 2014-2015 academic year.
"It's a great honor to represent the students at Ozarks," Garcia said. "It's an important responsibility and I want to do my best for the entire student body."
Serving in SGA since his freshman year, Garcia said he's learned that he has a knack for listening to his classmates.
"I enjoy listening and hearing the thoughts and concerns of other students," said Garcia, who served as SGA vice president in 2013-14. "I think I'm a good listener because people seem to be comfortable talking to me. I also like being involved in the process of government and helping different organizations and groups on campus."
Garcia said his goal is to help make SGA more efficient.
"I'd like to see the whole SGA process be a little easier for students and organizations," he said. "I'm looking into maybe some training conferences and events this summer for SGA members. I'd also like to look at the student governments at other schools and see if there are things we can learn and pick up from them."
With a love of mathematics, Garcia is earning minors in computer science and physics with the goal of becoming an engineer. He credits Ozarks for helping him grow both inside and outside the classroom.
"I've had some tremendous opportunities to learn and increase my knowledge and my confidence," Garcia said. "When I went to Columbia, I realized that I was just as prepared and knowledgeable as students from larger, more well-known universities from throughout the country. That's a great feeling."