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Catching Up with Dustdevils

When the University first began in 1970, the notion of organized athletics on campus seemed a distant dream. Faculty members, students and administrators would occasionally field recreational teams in soccer or volleyball… or participate in charity benefits. International students were especially fond of soccer and helped to encourage fun weekend rivalries. Today, athletics at Texas A&M International University are a fully integrated part of TAMIU’s experience and student-athletes are a dynamic and familiar sight in their branded team wear.

Part of the Lone Star Conference, TAMIU is now home to 11 sports, including Men’s baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, and Women’s basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball. Cheerleading and dance round out offerings. Student-athletes must rigorously balance their academic and team schedules in order to succeed both on and off the field.

Here, you can catch-up with some of our Dustdevil student-athlete alumni and their stories since.

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Raul Quinones 

Men's Soccer ('04 - '08)

From serving a three-year enlistment in the U.S. Army to beginning his career as a Border Patrol Agent, it has been a busy decade-plus for Raul Quinones since the Laredo native graduated with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Texas A&M International University in 2009.

Catch Up with Raul
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Vanessa Villareal

Women's Basketball ('03 - '07)

By any measure, Vanessa Villarreal has to be considered one of the greatest athletes in Texas A&M International University history. The San Antonio, Texas native was a member of TAMIU's inaugural women's basketball squad in 2003-04, and her list of accomplishments after a stellar four-year career have left an indelible mark on Dustdevil women's basketball history.

Catch Up with Vanessa
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Dr. Sarah Jenkins

Volleyball ('03 - '06)

To say that former Texas A&M International University volleyball standout Dr. Sarah Jenkins is a high achiever would be an understatement. The Laredo native's determination and unrelenting work ethic has carried her from the halls of John B. Alexander High School to her current assignment as a Microbiologist serving with the United States Navy stationed currently at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Catch Up with Sarah
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Justin Kim

Men's Golf ('16 - '20)

Despite the disappointment of having his senior season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) golfer Justin Kim says his collegiate playing career and education at TAMIU were some of the best years of his young life.

Catch Up with Justin
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Stella Ghazarian

Women's Basketball ('13 - '15)

In the face of a challenging future for elementary and secondary education, former Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) basketball athlete Stella Ghazarian is on a mission to help students in need by becoming a school psychologist. Ghazarian, who earned her Bachelor's in Psychology from TAMIU in 2015, is currently a graduate student who will be receiving her Master of Arts in Counseling, School Psychology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in the Summer of 2021.

Catch Up with Stella
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Eloy Martinez Jr.  

Athletic Training ('13 - '17)

A passion for medicine and caring for the well-being of others has propelled Zapata, Texas native and former Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) student athletic trainer Eloy R. Martínez, Jr. a long way in a short time. A 2017 TAMIU graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology, Martínez is now a third-year medical student in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) in San Antonio, Texas.

Catch Up with Eloy
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Rebekah Hernandez

Women's Cross Country ('14 - '17)

Pushed by curiosity and a strong will to contribute to the betterment of society, former Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) cross country standout Rebekah Hernandez is pursuing her passion by working as a Data Analyst for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington D.C. Before making the journey from her hometown of Laredo to the nation's capital, she achieved a storied four-year athletic and academic career (2014-17) that set the standard of excellence for all TAMIU student-athletes to emulate.

Catch Up with Rebekah
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Mary & Angel Encinas

Women's Basketball ('06 - '10)
Men's Basketball ('05 - '06), Baseball ('07 - '08)

Former Texas A&M International star athletes Mary (Tobias) and Angel Encinas are busy these days raising a family and pursuing challenging career paths. Married since 2015, the couple has settled in Mary's native Laredo, Texas. They have a three-year old son A.J. (Angel Jr.) and daughter Aleia, who just turned two years old.

Catch Up with Mary & Angel
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Greg Mulamba

Men's Soccer ('05 - '08)

Greg Mulamba experienced culture shock when he and his brother Oliver arrived in the United States for the first time nearly fifteen years ago. The Mulamba brothers arrived in Laredo, Texas from South Africa in 2005 to begin a new adventure and collegiate playing careers for the Texas A&M International University men's soccer program.

Catch Up with Greg
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Crystal Zapien

Women's Soccer ('12 - '15)

A recent conversation with former Texas A&M International University women's soccer standout Crystal Zapien makes it "crystal" clear that the Dallas, Texas native has found her niche, and is on a mission to help create a better future for vulnerable youth in her hometown. Zapien is pursuing her passion by serving as a project assistant for Big Thought, a Dallas-based nonprofit organization that focuses on closing the opportunity gap in marginalized communities and empowering the youth in those communities.

Catch Up with Crystal
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Jose Alicea

Men's Basketball ('05 - '10)

Hard work, an unrelenting focus and a commitment to helping others has served former Texas A&M International University men's basketball standout José Alicea well. Alicea attributes the support of his mother, friends, family members and his faith with getting him through some tough times to achieve his status as a newlywed and established wealth management professional in his native Puerto Rico.

Catch Up with Jose
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Danny Navarro

Men's Basketball ('05 - '10)

Despite the ever-present dangers of his chosen profession, former Texas A&M International baseball standout Danny Navarro says that he relishes every day that he has the privilege of serving his hometown as a Laredo Police Officer. He believes that the discipline, life lessons and overall experience he gained at TAMIU as an athlete and student have played a key role in his postgraduate journey and ultimate decision to dedicate himself to a law enforcement career.

Catch Up with Danny
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Hannah Jiao

Women's Golf ('15- '18)

Life has been a whirlwind for former Texas A&M International University golfer Hannah Jiao over the last 16 months. After earning her bachelor's degree in Nursing in May 2019, the Dallas, Texas native jumped into the professional world two months later by accepting a position as a critical care Emergency Room nurse at Doctor's Hospital of Laredo.

Catch Up with Hannah