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Alum Spotlight

Portrait of Victoria Cruz

Victoria Cruz

  • 2012, B.A., Political Science
  • 2017, M.S., Organizational Development and Leadership

Transcribed from video interview

  1. Tell us about your background.
    Initially, I wanted to pursue government and politics but having a liberal arts degree did not help me stand out to employers in those fields. Therefore, I decided to earn a master's degree and I knew that I wanted to work in some form of government. I chose to pursue the Master of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership (MSODL) degree because I believe so many businesses, including government, require employees to be able to look at the organization as a whole. The MSODL truly helped me stand out in the City of Dallas, where I’m currently located and employed. I started at the Mayor City Council Office as a Policy Analyst and was quickly promoted to the City Manager’s Office where they build on strategic initiatives in Dallas. I'm an extension of the Assistant City Manager for the City of Dallas and assist with all projects involved with Police, Fire, Office of Emergency Management and Detention Services departments.
  2. Why did you choose your major?
    Many of my colleagues have a Master of Public Administration degree, so I thought that the organizational development degree will help me stand out among a large city with roughly 13,000 city employees. As one of the largest cities in Texas, the City of Dallas needed someone with skill sets that allow them to understand the direction an organization needs to grow and how to improve its structure. I’ve been involved in all types of city-based strategic initiatives whether or not it is something that the Mayor's office wants to take on. With 14 districts in Dallas, I have been able to assist with connecting bits and pieces from all areas of the city.
  3. How did you juggle life and school at the same time?
    I had a full-time job during grad school, which required sacrifice and due diligence on my part. I wanted to finish this program and I wanted to do it well since I thought I did not fully meet my potential with my undergraduate degree. I wasn't too happy with my GPA before grad school, so moving forward with a master's degree was a high priority for me. I studied during weekends and minimized going out as best I could. I had to juggle work and sometimes go into the office an hour early and then prepare to travel to one of my classes. Luckily, my employers have been very flexible and they do want their employees to continue their education, so I haven't had any struggles.
  4. What advice would you give prospective and SPS students?
    If this is something you want to pursue and you feel like you want to move forward in your career, then going back to school is definitely something that is possible with juggling family, work and classes. It's very doable and I would also recommend to do something that you're very passionate about. It always helps if you want to stay in your current career path or move toward something different, but if you feel like communication is your strong point, then take classes and pursue what you're passionate about because it will pay off in the long run.
  5. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Victoria Cruz standing in front of flags in Dallas City Hall
    I like biking a lot on various trails. Currently, most of my time is spent with a group in Dallas called the Mayor Star Council and it's a young professional group from different sectors of government between 25-40 years of age. It’s a year-long program focused on connecting and serving different parts of Dallas as an extension of the mayor's office. Projects ranging from transportation to the arts are taking up my time through volunteer work while connecting with different professionals around the city.
  6. How have you used the mission of UIW in your workplace?
    UIW’s community service requirement has really helped me in my career because so much volunteer work is needed in the City of Dallas. Dallas’s history is unique but has a high segregation problem. Currently we are actively trying to bring those segregated parts of the city together. UIW has helped me in fulfilling that mission to continue throughout my career.
  7. Do you have a favorite quote? What are some of your future goals?
    My favorite quote is from Dolly Parton since I’m a huge country fan and was born in Kentucky. It is “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” I think many people are trying to figure out if they took the right direction or if they need to go somewhere else. I believe if you go towards something that is your passion and your mission in life, then you're going to get to the point where you need to be. My future goal is to transition to San Antonio since it’s my hometown and where my family reside. I am working on gaining experience in Dallas and will hopefully work either for the City of San Antonio or other type of government position in the future.
  8. UIW in the family. 
    My boyfriend's name is Aaron Moe and he received a Bachelor of Arts in Administration from the School of Professional Studies. He had been working in a call center for a long time and didn't get to his finish his undergraduate degree. He went to a couple of community colleges in San Antonio and then went back to school at UTSA but kept stopping out due to work. Finally, he found out that UIW has a great program for working adults and decided to try out night classes so he could continue working during the day. His passion was always in history, so when I moved up to Dallas, he started looking at history-related positions in Dallas and applied to the George W. Bush Museum at SMU. Now he is the manager of guest services there so they were able to use his data work experience on top of knowing that he is passionate about history. This was a good starting job into the history field even having an undergraduate degree in administration. He has found that many businesses and organizations seek employees who have skills in data and communications.