James Loya has been a fixture at RELLIS prior to the Academic Building doors even opening. Anyone who has attended a transfer fair, open house or other event for RELLIS was most likely welcomed by Loya, complete with his big smile and energetic personality.
A chance meeting at a PTK conference had Loya chatting with a RELLIS recruiter who told him about the unique concept and opportunities that might be available to him in the fall of 2018. That conversation was enough to sell him on the idea. Loya completed his associate degree at the local Tyler Junior College, packed his stuff and moved to the Bryan-College Station area, where he promptly went to work getting involved.
Loya enrolled in the BBA in Marketing through Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, as well as lower-level course work through Blinn. Unfortunately, Loya struggled with balancing so many courses and learning new concepts related to business. After a year, he returned home to reset and refresh his mind and energy levels.
“My experience at RELLIS has very much been a roller coaster, but in a good way,” said Loya. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and my future goals.”
During his time at home Loya returned to his alma mater, Tyler Junior College, to continuing working toward a business degree. Yet again, he found himself growing frustrated and not understanding his courses. It was at that point he made a decision that altered his path yet again.
“I thought it would be easier in an environment that was familiar, but I was stressed and realized that the problem was me,” said Loya. “I knew I needed to find something else, so I decided to research what a communications degree might offer and knew pretty quickly it could be a solid foundation for my future career goals.”
After a semester at home, Loya reached out to a RELLIS academic advisor to begin the process of a degree change and returning back to the campus he was so enthusiastic about.
Flash forward to today and Loya is now enrolled in the tight-knit Texas A&M International University Bachelor of Arts in Communication program.
“It has been great to be back on campus and in a program that feels like a great fit for me,” said Loya. “I’ve always wanted to work with people and help sell a product. The communications degree will definitely help me get into a field where I can do that.”
Upon his return, Loya jumped back into helping develop the community and is serving as the Executive Vice President of the RELLIS Student Advisory Council, as well as the Executive Director of the RELLIS Recruiting Committee.
“My past experiences have taught me that it doesn’t matter what role you serve in, you can have an impact no matter what,” said Loya. “As RELLIS grows you can see the sense of community building, and I am looking forward to contributing to that.”
Originally published June 26, 2020