Student of the Year

BBA Christian Avalos First Bauer Student to Earn Prestigious ALPFA Award

In August, finance and marketing senior Christian Avalos made history by becoming the first student from the C. T. Bauer College of Business and the University of Houston to be named the Daniel Zamora Student of the Year. This award is given out by the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), an organization consisting of over 115,000 student and professional members.

“I received this email in the middle of my day, a casual Tuesday, and I just started freaking out,” Avalos said. “I was so excited to receive that news. I was told I had to keep it to myself, so I went home to express my excitement to my parents.”

Avalos has had nothing short of an uphill battle in his journey. In 2009, his family moved from Mexico to Houston because of a job opportunity for his father. With English being their second language, this led to difficulties finding schools for Avalos because of bullying on top of the language barrier. He was even unsure about what field he wanted to study in until high school where he learned that he did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps of engineering, but business instead.

“I have always been a people-person and enjoyed getting to know people,” Avalos said. “I wanted to be in an environment that combined that skillset that I have, but also bring in other skills. I found business to be an opportunity and career path that would allow me to be myself and also learn and grow.”

Because of his immigration status, he was unable to accept any work or internships. However, that did not stop him. Since joining Bauer, Avalos has been a part of, and been an officer, in organizations like the Hispanic Business Student Association, ALPFA, the Bauer Ambassador Program and was recognized by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a participant in their Emerging Leaders program.

“I was raised with the mentality of needing an education,” Avalos said. “The University of Houston as a whole was the opportunity that allowed me to fulfill that requirement for my family and for my future. And not only is it just a checkmark, but it also allowed me to explore and get to know who I really am through so many opportunities."

Even before receiving the student of the year award, Avalos’ achievements stacked up. Avalos has earned multiple scholarships, been featured on a podcast and Fox 26 and won the Ted Bauer Leadership Excellence Award earlier this year, along with plenty of other acknowledgments.

“It was not the goal to get an award, but it was something I found really rewarding,” Avalos said. “Not just for me, but for HBSA getting four of the five awards that were granted to an organization that year. I guided the team, but it was everyone’s effort that really came together. It made me feel pride what the team had done as a whole when I didn’t ever think I could be the president of the organization.”

Officers, under Avalos' leadership, for the Hispanic Business Student Association (HBSA).

Avalos acknowledged that with everything, the award from ALPFA meant the most to not just him, but his entire family. The four-day conference consisted of professional development events, career fairs and networking opportunities that were all wrapped up with one final gala.

“It was my family's first time being at an event of this scale, so I was happy that I was able to provide this opportunity for them,” Avalos said. “I wanted to take the opportunity to really represent who I was and thank those who allowed me to be who I am now. That all started with my parents, so I made sure to touch back on my roots and thank them for all their sacrifices they face.”

Avalos is on track to graduate in May 2024 and plans to either work in a full-time rotational program within the field of finance or go into commercial banking. He credits a lot of his success to not only his family, but the supporting staff that he has been given while at the Bauer College.

“I want to emphasize how much people like Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives Roger Barascout and all the faculty that I have come across, even former students, now alumni, have helped me,” Avalos said. “That has been one of the most meaningful things I have come across. It made me so happy that I got the chance to represent Bauer on a national stage, and I think that really is the cherry on top of my college career.”