Cruz was raised in San Antonio and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2006. The UT Austin slogan is, “What Starts Here Changes the World.” Cruz wanted to do just that.
She began her career in Mathis as a community liaison for the Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant, housed with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Working with youth and their families led her to discover a real commitment to the mission of education, “Because education helps people reach their goals, realize their dreams and eventually achieve a better quality of life,” says Cruz. And she should know. She’s a first-generation college student herself.
And as a first-generation college student, she also realized that working in higher education would not only be a rewarding career where she could have a positive impact on people’s lives, but would become a core avocation for her, surpassing the status of “just another job,” thus sparking her passion for higher ed.
So, after the DFC grant ended, Cruz began the pursuit of her newly identified career path in earnest and went to work for Coastal Bend College. “I really didn’t set out to have a career in education initially, but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine doing anything else. An education really does change everything –and I would have to say for the better.”
Over the past three years, she has worked in the student services department at Coastal Bend College helping students achieve their higher education goals. As a member of the Title V staff, she coordinated recruiting events for high school students such as Cougar Connections, Cougar Camp and the Passport program. Later, she transitioned over into the Financial Aid Office, where she assisted students with the ins-and-outs of applying for financial aid and scholarships.
Although Cruz enjoyed working with students, she says her heart has always been in media. As a freelance blogger, Cruz has represented major brands when they have launched new products and social media campaigns. Some of the companies she’s had the privilege of working with are Sony, Mars Corporation M&M’s, Kmart and Starbucks. Her love of social media has led her to attend two blogging/social media conferences within the past year, BlogHer 2011 in San Diego and Hispanicize 2012 in Miami, to learn more about the field.
Finally, she’s found a way to blend her dedication to higher education and passion for media in her new role as public relations officer at CBC. Monica is eager to develop and hone her skills in this dynamic profession at a college that she enjoys working for and greatly admires.
When Monica isn’t working, blogging or catching up on her DVR shows, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Daniel Benavidez, and their dog, Pee Wee, in their Beeville home.
Monica can be reached at email@example.com or at 361-354-2258.