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Learning Through Experience: Student Spotlight on Marco Rodriguez

When prospective students first set foot on the TLU campus, Marco Rodriguez’s smile is often one of the first they’ll see. That’s because the junior accounting major is a TLU Admissions Ambassador, and as such, his duties include greeting visitors and giving campus tours to future Bulldogs and their families. He’s also a member of the prestigious Black and Gold President’s Council—another instance where he is entrusted with the responsibility of acting as the face of TLU. To qualify for the council, students must be nominated by a faculty or staff member, submit an application, and undergo an intense interview process—and if chosen, they are charged with representing the university at events both on and off campus.

Rodriguez says that these experiences have helped him to develop critical attributes like leadership and accountability. “These roles have provided opportunities to engage with prospective students, showcase the university's strengths, and take on responsibilities within the student body, all of which have contributed to my growth as a leader and my ability to handle tasks with accountability and professionalism.”

And Rodriguez has recently put those skills to good use through an internship at the Houston branch of FORVIS, one of the top ten public accounting firms in the nation. He’s back on campus now, and more equipped than ever to make his way in his chosen field. “I gained experience in auditing practices such as examining financial statements, assessing internal controls, and conducting risk assessments,” he says. “Collaborating with experienced auditors and engaging with clients provided me with valuable insights into the audit process. Overall, the internship was enriching and rewarding, allowing me to apply theoretical knowledge in a professional setting and develop essential skills for a career in accounting. Working at FORVIS was a fantastic opportunity, and I'm grateful for the experience.”

How well did TLU prepare Rodriguez to jump into such a big pond? “TLU's education laid a strong foundation by equipping me with essential knowledge and skills in accounting,” he says. At FORVIS, he applied classroom lessons to real-world scenarios on a daily basis. “TLU's emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving further enhanced my ability to handle challenges during the internship.”

Rodriguez has, in fact, learned a lot outside the classroom during his college years. As a member of the Bulldog soccer team, he’s gained wisdom of another kind. “The camaraderie within the TLU soccer team has created lasting memories, with the friendships formed among teammates standing out as some of the most cherished. The shared experiences, triumphs, and setbacks have woven bonds that go beyond the confines of the game. These connections serve as enduring testaments to the unity and teamwork fostered within the team.”

Rodriguez says that his experience as a student athlete has helped him grow into adulthood and given him a fresh perspective on life. “The challenges and experiences encountered both on and off the field have contributed significantly to my development as an individual, fostering resilience, leadership skills, and a broader understanding of teamwork and perseverance.”

Another hands-on learning experience that has been particularly valuable to Rodriguez: The Bulldog Investment Club. BIC is an on-campus internship program that teaches students of all majors how to read and interpret financial statements and gain critical thinking and presentation skills—and

Rodriguez is quick to recommend it. “The Bulldog Investment Club (BIC) provides opportunities for students to think critically, analyze real-world problems, and develop innovative solutions. These experiences not only enhance academic learning but also prepare students for success in their future careers.”

His words of advice for up-and-coming business majors? “I would highly recommend that you come to campus and explore the various events that can be scheduled, such as sitting in on a class and meeting with professors. TLU offers a vibrant and engaging environment where students can immerse themselves in the business program.”

Upon graduation in May 2025, Rodriguez will be ready to hit the workforce—but not right away. “I will have about two months before I start working full time,” he says. “I’ve been thinking about travelling as much as possible before starting work.” A fitting way to wrap up his college career, with another chance to learn through experience—which suits Rodriguez just fine.