Originally from Pharr, Texas, biology junior Alyssa Alvarado became infatuated with Fiesta medals after attending for the first time in 2019. Believing that a campaign to become Ms. A&M-San Antonio would get her more medals, Alvarado ran for the crown in September, resulting in her winning the title and an unexpected passion for what it represents.
“Getting crowned Ms. A&M means being a good role model because everyone knows who you are,” Alvarado said.
The elected Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio serve as representatives of the university, participating in community service and university-sponsored events. An included benefit is getting an opportunity to network and attend events held by university President Cynthia Teniente-Matson.
Running for Ms. A&M-San Antonio is a monthlong process that requires filing documentation and submitting a resume, followed by an interview. Once accepted, Alvarado moved on to the next step: campaigning against two other Ms. A&M-San Antonio finalists for the two weeks leading to the official announcement at Fall Fest.
While running for the title, Alvarado said she only met newly crowned Mr. A&M-San Antonio Zachary Franckowiak once.
Although contestants can choose to pair up during their campaign, there is no guarantee that both will make it through the interview process. Franckowiak originally began his campaign as part of a pair, but ran independently after his partner was eliminated.
Although Alvarado ran independently, Franckowiak would persuade students to vote for her.
“I always say that I probably wouldn’t have gotten this position without Zach, honestly. I think he’s a pretty cool guy,” Alvarado said. “He is spontaneous, cool and he’s very nice and open minded.”
Alvarado didn’t think she was going to win, and it came as a shock to her. Running for Ms. A&M-San Antonio was a chaotic experience because of wondering if she would win.
“I always think I am not going to get things, but it’s all in God’s path for me,” Alvarado said.
She is still getting used to being called Ms. A&M-San Antonio. She gets teased by her friends but she likes the title.
Alvarado works two jobs, is a full-time student and lives in the dorms on campus. She works for the University Police Department during the week, and works at the San Antonio Zoo once a month.
Originally, her goal was to be a veterinarian, but while working with the UPD, Alvarado developed a passion for law enforcement. This new passion has led to her new dream of becoming a game warden.
“I was very iffy because I didn’t want to do law enforcement. I wanted to be a veterinarian,” Alvarado said. “But I was like I need a second job, so I just applied for it.”
Alvarado has been working for the UPD for over a year and is first aid and CPR certified. Her duties include patrolling the campus buildings, providing police escorts and unlocking car doors for students and faculty members who locked their keys inside their cars. She sometimes hands out tickets if Parking and Transportation needs help.
Additionally, Alvarado is a member of the Police Explorers, an organization sponsored by UPD. Members of the organization get to experience scenarios like traffic stops, building searches, neighborhood disturbances and learning how to communicate with a person who is trying to harm themselves.
“It was an interesting way of understanding why officers do what they do, and also play the role of why people do what they do. That’s what made me want to change from a veterinarian to a game warden,” Alvarado said.
International business junior Selena Hernandez has known Alvarado for three years now. They met when they were both freshmen, and were next-door neighbors in the dorms.
“She is a very strong woman, because she’s been through a lot. She is very smart and hardworking,” Hernandez said.
Marketing junior Chris Palma has known Alvarado for about two years. What he likes most about her is that she is very hardworking, smart and persistent in everything that she does.
“If she wants something, I know she’s going to go out there and get it. I know she will do great things in life,” Palma said.
Alvarado will graduate from A&M-San Antonio in fall 2020.
Brigid Cooley and Liandre De la Uso contributed to this story.