Alexis Camarena: “College was not in my plans”


Mechanical engineering junior Alex Camarera is the latest president of the Organization of Hispanic Students, 2022. Photo courtesy of Alex Camarera.

Alexis Camarena seems to be taking full advantage of his college years;  he is the latest president of the Organization of Hispanic Students, and vice president of the fraternity Omega Delta Phi. However, his experience with education was not always like this. In fact, there was a time when college wasn’t even in the picture for Camarena.

“I’m first generation born and raised in Fort Worth, not from the best neighborhood, I grew up toward Stop 6. I was the youngest and only boy with two older sisters and no father figure. Being completely honest, college was never really in my plans. Growing up in a lower-income family, and growing up in the area that I did, most Hispanics like me would finish high school and then just go straight to working construction, and that was my mindset as well,” Camarena said.

Camarena has been working since the age of 14. From the age of 14 to when he graduated, Camarena worked in construction.

“I was getting paid, I was making decent money, so it was even easier to decide that that’s what I was going to do. My freshman and sophomore year of high school I really didn’t care about school. I was just there to not get fined for not going to school,” Camarena said.

Mechanical engineering junior Camarena says he is at MSU because of two teachers that believed in him. Camarena said that those teachers made it a point that he was special.

“When I was in middle school, I had this teacher that nominated me for the gifted and talented program. She was the first person to say she saw something in me, I like to think that that’s where it started. As I said, my first two years of high school I drifted from my academics and didn’t care about school. So much so, that my avid teacher kicked me out because she saw I wasn’t doing anything. I had to come and talk o her and she decided to give me another chance,” Camarena said.

That second chance ultimately lead Camarena to MSU. With the guidance of his avid teacher, he realized he would be selling himself short by continuing working in construction and took action into applying for schools.

“She made it mandatory for me to speak to her if I was struggling or ever going through something. We got real close; she wanted something better for me. Junior year was my wake-up call. I was born here, so that already gave me so many more opportunities. I ended up applying to UTSA, Texas State and Midwestern State. Since I began working, I’ve supported myself, I pay for everything myself. MSU gave me the most financial aid and so this is where I came,” Camarena said.

Now, the two organizations Camarena is a part of have provided him with a family and introduced him to forever friendships. Isaac Nunez, former president of OHS, was the one that encouraged him to join OHS during his freshman year. And if joining OHS wasn’t enough, Nunez also influenced Camarena’s decision to join ODPHI, a multi-cultural fraternity.

Omega Delta Phi vice president Alex Camarera says he found forever friendships in the organization, 2022. Photo courtesy of Alex Camarera.
Omega Delta Phi vice president Alex Camarera says he found forever friendships in the organization, 2022. Photo courtesy of Alex Camarera.

“I joined OHS because of Isaac. I also saw how people formed friendships in the organization. A lot of Hispanics that are in college also happen to be first-generation like me. It can be terrifying so I like that we are all in this together,” Camarena said. “We are there for each other, we are each other’s support system.”

After Isaac Nunez graduated and following a subsequent president of OHS who also ended up leaving, OHS had less activity. Camarena decided to step up and has partnered with MOSAIC and volunteered to get OHS more involved and bring life to the organization again.

“We have Latin Night coming up on Oct. 14 partnering with MOSAIC again. For homecoming, we are also partaking in everything but the lip sync competition. Just getting ourselves out there for the MSU student body and community to see us again in action,” Camarena said.

With so much going on and being pushed to his absolute limits, Camarena says the biggest thing that keeps him going is thinking of his mom. He wants to be able to return all the work she has done for their family.

“During hard times, I just think about how I want to be able to provide for my mom and her not have to work anymore. That’s my main reason for coming and staying in school. I don’t want her to have to worry about paying for bills or anything, I’ll take care of her,” Camarena said.