For senior Miles Cruz, this May’s graduation is not his first one.

The 28-year-old computer science major earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of North Texas in 2012.

Although Cruz found success in his professional life, working at Amazon and the Sprint corporate office, he had still pursued tech jobs in his free time.

“I got my A+ certification and started taking on more responsibility at work,” Cruz said. “Then my company got bought out three months after I started there.”

Cruz lost his job as a result of the buyout. The momentary setback brought Cruz to Texas Wesleyan in 2016. He credits the university’s smaller size to allowing him to thrive academically and pursue his dream of working in information technology full time.

“I went to UNT right after high school,” Cruz said. “I enjoyed my time there but when I actually looked at what I was doing and that I was just a number [in a large program] it sucked, it forced me to want to do something that I liked.”

Cruz’s grandmother Olga Robinson passed away while he was applying to Wesleyan in 2016; this only strengthened his resolve to pursue a new career.

“When things like that happen, it really makes you reevaluate your priorities,” Cruz said. “My grandmother helped raise me, so what better way to honor her memory than to live a life doing what makes me happy?”

Cruz is not the first in his family to graduate from Wesleyan; his mother Joyce Cruz graduated in 1998 with a degree in education.

“The whole Smaller. Smarter. thing is not new to campus,” Cruz said. “It was the same way in the ‘90s when my mom went here, and she was a big influence in why I chose Texas Wesleyan.”

Cruz credits his success in the program to Dr. Yukong Zhang, whose mentorship gave Cruz the tools to succeed. Zhang was impressed by Cruz’s work and engagement in class and gave him a job in the university’s IT department.

“Dr. Zhang and the rest of the computer science department really wanted to see me succeed,” Cruz said. “It really helped open the right doors and allowed me to learn in a way that I could not get anywhere else.”

Cruz has an internship lined up at RFTB, a creative digital design agency located in the Stockyards in north Fort Worth. The company specializes in digital and print media advertisement, according to the agency’s website.

While Cruz’s future is bright, his desires are simple.

“I don’t want to be rich,” Cruz said. “I just want to be comfortable and have a career that makes me happy.”

Miles Cruz looks ahead after getting a degree in computer science.
Photo by Thomas Moore