Mario Garcia III, junior in family studies and human services, shared a special moment with his dad when a song filled the stadium at Saturday’s Homecoming game after he was selected as the next male K-State Student Ambassador.
Despite this perfect moment, however, Garcia said there were challenges and fears he had to overcome in order to become student ambassador, and those challenges came with the rush of Homecoming week.
“The week of Homecoming was super busy but I loved every minute of it,” Garcia said. “The hardest part of this process was collecting all my thoughts before going to speak to the greek community at ‘Pant the Chant’ and (‘Wildcat Request Live’). I normally am a good public speaker but it was a little more nerve-wracking being out in front of people you do know and don’t know.”
Although Garcia felt nervous about speaking at these events, he also said it was having the opportunity to stand with the other candidates at “Wildcat Request Live” and “Pant the Chant” and getting to know them throughout the week that he will always remember.
“The other candidates are great leaders for this university and being able to stand next to them down on the court during the Homecoming events was one of the best parts of the week,” Garcia said. “Of course the parade and game were incredible experiences but I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with the other candidates who are also awesome K-Staters.”
Amongst those candidates was Paige Engle, sophomore in public relations and new female student ambassador, who also happened to be a friend of Garcia’s even before college.
“Paige and I actually go back before college,” Garcia said. “We met in high school at a youth group trip over the summer when we were in high school. Paige is awesome and she’s going to do an incredible job as the female ambassador because of how passionate she is not only about K-State, but people in general.”
Similarly, Engle said she has always thought highly of Garcia and she is thankful to have him as a partner as student ambassadors, according to the Collegian article, “K-State Student Ambassador Paige Engle’s journey began with a children’s tale.”
“I know that we’ll be able to play off of each other well during presentations and can’t wait to get to know her even better during our time as ambassadors,” Garcia said.
Another thing Garcia said he is looking forward to over the next year as student ambassador is the opportunity he will have to interact with prospective students, current students and alumni.
“I’m looking forward to representing all students across campus,” Garcia said. “I also can’t wait to speak to alumni about how we are doing as a university from a student perspective as well as meeting incoming and potential Wildcats. One of my biggest passions is interacting with potential K-Staters and sharing my college experience with them in hopes that they’d want to join the K-State family.”
One goal Garcia said he has as student ambassador is to reach out to current students who may feel they are not fully being represented.
“During my time in this position I hope to accurately represent students all over campus and make sure that the students who don’t feel engaged with the university or their college experience are reached out to in hopes that they’d want to get more involved,” Garcia said.
Sandy Garcia, Mario’s mother, said Mario has always been very outgoing and good at conversation.
“He has always had a knack for talking with people,” Sandy said. “Even at a young age, he was very comfortable having conversations with adults.”
Sandy also said Mario has been a leader even before college.
“In high school he was a Young Life leader, and he became the student body president as a junior and held that position for two years,” Sandy said. “Our fondest memory was watching him on the microphone leading his peers at a schoolwide pep assembly.”
Before applying for student ambassador, Mario was an orientation leader during the summer.
“I was an orientation leader in the summer and I know a lot about K-State and believed my strengths would fit with this position,” Mario said.
In addition, Mario said he has a passion for talking about K-State and is looking forward to being able to carry out that passion as student ambassador.
“Family has always been a big part of who Mario is,” Sandy said. “I think that when he gets involved in something, he wholeheartedly takes it on as part of his family.”