Military, law enforcement experience spurs top UHV Arts & Sciences students

Dec. 11, 2010 at 6:11 a.m.

Jared Venema

Jared Venema

The discipline needed for military and law enforcement work helped two returning students become the top fall graduates in the University of Houston-Victoria's School of Arts & Sciences.

Nine-year Navy veteran Jared Venema is the top undergraduate, and Martin Cano, the deputy chief of police for the Texas comptroller and Victoria native, is the top graduate student in the school. Both received their degrees at UHV's fall commencement ceremony Saturday in Katy and a $250 prize from the UHV Arts & Sciences Excellence Fund.

Venema, a Nebraska native and Sugar Land resident, worked toward his Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences in computer science with a network and security concentration. The 31-year-old husband, father of two and full-time Texas Instruments employee has burned the candle at both ends the past two years.

"It's pretty much been a blur," Venema said. "I am on a shift schedule at work, so I go in at 7 a.m. and get off work at 7 p.m., which is when my night classes begin. It has made for long days, but I am glad to complete my degree."

Venema used the G.I. Bill to return to school and was motivated to return to school to advance his degree.

"I wanted to move up at Texas Instruments, so I needed to get my education," he said. "There are employees who have been here 30 years and haven't moved around, but I wanted to advance my career."

Another nontraditional, returning student is the top graduate student.

Cano said that he "will have all the bases covered" when he gets his Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in history and religion. Cano's career has gone from being a Certified Public Accountant, to a tax investigator and instructor for the state, and now is edging toward a teaching position.

Through his job, in which he instructs state and federal groups across the country, he developed a love of teaching. His return to school for his master's degree was based on a love of history.

"I have about six years until I qualify for state retirement, and I'd like to pursue the teaching avenue at that time," Cano said. "Austin has several institutions that may allow me to teach at the college level."

The Cedar Park resident and Victoria native said UHV had everything he needed when he looked into graduate schools.

"I grew up in Victoria, and I love it and still have a lot of family there," he said. "I was looking for the ability to do an online degree, and I did a lot of research. I admit I was surprised, but it led me to UHV, which has a very handy online program and had just what I needed."



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