Geo Hernandez of Women’s Football Gets New Role as UTRGV SAAC President

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – From the moment she set foot on campus, a young soccer player at the University of Texas at the Rio Grande Valley. Georgina Hernandez showed her ability to lead.

In the fall of 2020, as a freshman, Hernandez was selected as the second representative of Women’s Football’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She impressed the then head coach Rad Bugariu and former eminent Gina Steiner, representative of the core team, having passed a series of interviews for this role.

“That says a lot about you, and it says a lot about what the coach thinks of you when choosing you for something like this,” Hernandez said. “In just three weeks of training Coach Glad saw that in me and pushed me to it, it was a great honor. her. It was a really big opportunity and it’s something you should embrace with open arms and really embrace.”

Hernandez continued to impress with her maturity, communication skills and passion. In her sophomore year, she was nominated and elected by her SAAC peers to serve on the organization’s executive board as a member-at-large.

In early June, Hernandez received a message from Julia Perez, Student Athlete Development Coordinator and SAAC Advisor. Pérez believed that Hernandez was a “natural fit” to be the next president of the SAAC, demonstrating all the leadership qualities needed to complete the task. Perez said vice president and director of athletics Chass Conch and Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Female Administrator Molly Kastner agreed, and they wanted to know if she would be interested in the role.

“I just looked at the lyrics for a bit,” Hernandez said. “I knew what a responsibility it was. This is a big job. I went to my parents and said, “Hey guys, they want me to be president of SAAC.” I take my parents’ opinions seriously, and they said, “Why do you even refuse something like this?” So I responded to Julia and said, “I totally agree.”

“It’s really great that Chess, Molly and Julia saw something in me,” she added. “You develop the opportunities you get. As the years went by, I went from being the oldest on my team who believed in me to my coach who believed in me and the sporting director who believed in me.”

Hernandez met with Konke on June 9, officially beginning her term. SAAC is a student organization open to all student athletes, with two representatives from each varsity team. The committee meets monthly to discuss issues at the university, conference, and NCAA levels. It aims to build connections between student athletes and athletic staff, develop community and campus connections, and enhance the experience of all student athletes.

As President, Hernandez will not only communicate with student athletes, but with the athletic department and all coaches. She will oversee all 16 teams on campus and work directly with administration to address campus issues and build on successes and positives.

“As a sports administrator for women’s soccer, I’ve been privileged to watch Geo grow as a student-athlete over the years,” Kastner said. “She has a modest confidence that makes her a great competitor and teammate. She is always looking for ways to help the community, both in UTRGV and in the greater Rio Grande Valley. I look forward to working with her this year. .”

Huge responsibilities do not scare Hernandez. At the McAllen Memorial, she was a two-time football captain and a member of the National Honor Society and Peer Assistance, Leadership and Service (PALS) program. In high school and college, she observed and learned from others in leadership positions to prepare for her own.

“My parents raised me to be a leader and get along well with people. From a young age, I learned to communicate, walk confidently and show what you are capable of, but also learn from people who are above you, and I think this helped me become who I am today, ”said Hernandez.

Originally from Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, Hernandez said she never imagined she would have the opportunities she enjoys at UTRGV. She is studying biology and plans to complete her master’s degree after graduation in early May next year. She wants to go to medical school and is leaning towards becoming a pediatrician.

“It doesn’t really matter where you come from. I think success is what you do, so if you really want something and work for it, it will happen,” Hernandez said.

A modest person at heart, Hernandez allows herself to take a moment and be proud of everything she has achieved.

“I definitely had a moment where I thought, ‘I did it.’ It’s a big deal and I’m proud of myself,” Hernandez said. “But even as president, I think there are a lot of really great people at SAAC that I can learn from. Being a student-athlete in UTRGV is a big deal, and the opportunities provided, one of which is SAAC, cannot be used. for granted. It’s going to be a long year with a lot to do and I’m looking forward to it.”

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