2024 Grad Spotlight: Adalberto Rodriguez Cruz

2024 Graduate Adalberto Rodriguez CruzAdalberto Rodriguez Cruz started as a dual-enrollment student in Highland School of Technology and Gaston College in the summer of 2022 and will graduate this summer with an associate in science degree before transferring to UNC-Charlotte for fall 2024.

Adalberto plans to major in math with the goal of being an actuary. While in high school, he wasn’t sure what career to pursue, but he knew he was good at math. “After doing some research I found out about a career that also has business applications – an actuary,” he said. “If that doesn’t work out, a math background still has various applications in almost every field out there.”  

He initially chose UNCC based on its location, but his decision to become an actuary made the school even more appealing to him. “I saw how great the school is at creating powerful graduates in that specific field,” Adalberto said. “Also, I’m trying to push my comfort zone with a larger campus. Since I grew up with a small high school and mid-sized community college, I feel that I might appreciate a new environment.” 

While at Gaston College, Adalberto participated in the SPARC program and in 49erNext, a transfer admission guarantee program that makes the transition from Gaston to UNCC easy and provides many benefits to UNCC-bound students. He found both programs to be excellent sources of support and help. 

SPARC prepares aspiring STEM professionals for success by providing scholarships, mentoring and advising, and other opportunities for immersive experiences in their chosen field. “Not only was I able to receive a scholarship that eased the financial burden of going to college,” said Adalberto, “but I uncovered even more resources that enriched my journey. If it weren’t for SPARC, I would have most likely not pushed myself to connect with professors and work on extracurricular research projects.” 

The 49erNext program allowed Adalberto to determine what course plan he needed to follow and to connect with UNCC faculty before the transferring process. “It truly was a weight off my shoulders as a first-gen student to have people who know the process guide me,” he said. 

Adalberto is looking forward to starting his career after he earns his bachelor’s degree. “Ideally, an education from UNCC will prepare me to have a couple of actuarial exams down and start working for a corporate firm,” he said. “I have no idea what the next steps beyond that will be, but I am excited to find out. What I may end up doing is going ahead to obtain a master’s from UNCC in the same field, since they still offer those crucial courses necessary to be a highly successful actuary.” 

Alyson Jordan, lead academic advisor at Gaston College, has been continually impressed with Adalberto. “He’s very conscientious, kind and motivated,” she said. Adalberto, in turn, has been impressed with Gaston College. “I really enjoyed the way that all our professors here at Gaston really strive to do the best for their students, including holding one-on-one office hours to help us understand concepts or dive into research opportunities,” he said. “There is always some resource out there to ensure your success.” 

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