Antonia Adams saw something about the University of Houston that immediately attracted her to it: the diversity of its student population.
The sophomore from Dallas said the opportunity to be around and interact with others from different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities played a major role in her decision to choose UH.
"I thought it would be a good idea to attend a university where I would be able to interact with people from all over the world and all over the country because I am going to have to deal with that type of diversity in my classroom, and this would give me some experience, " she said.
Her goal is to become an elementary school teacher, most likely in the Houston area, which mirrors the university in the vast diversity within its population. While some students aren't sure what career they want to pursue when they first start college, Adams knew she wanted to be a teacher well before she graduated from high school. She's had only one major - elementary education - and does not anticipate it ever changing.
Adams began her academic career at UH in the fall of 2012. Shortly after arriving, she took a part-time student worker job in Student Housing & Residential Life. She still has the job, which includes giving housing tours. On average, she leads between five and 10 tours each week to incoming first-year students, transfers and current students interested in living in one of the seven residential facilities on campus.
Her studies and student worker job keep her busy, but she still finds time for other activities. She serves as a resident advisor in Cougar Village II and volunteers as a College of Education ambassador.
She's also a member of Collegiate 100 women's chapter at UH, a service and mentoring organization. Through that group, she volunteers with Dream Academy, an after-school program at HISD's Foster Elementary.
"We act as mentors for those children who may not have support at home and try to be a positive role model to them," Adams said.
She's also heavily involved with the Nehemiah Center, a Christian afterschool outreach program for children in the Third Ward area. On top of that, she'll spend this coming summer working at Kids Across America, an inner-city Christian camp in Branson, Mo. She also volunteered at a Christian camp last summer.
"A lot of things I do and enjoy center around serving inner-city kids," she said. "That's where my passion is."