Rawls College May 2023 Banner Bearer: Parker Adzema
Get to know a little bit about Parker Adzema, a soon-to-be IT graduate and the May 2023 Banner Bearer for Rawls College.
Jacob Gordon | May 1, 2023
The banner bearer title is given to a student who best represents the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business through achieving academic excellence, participating in extracurricular activities and demonstrating a high level of professionalism.
The May 2023 banner bearer for Rawls College is Parker Adzema, an information technology major.
Where did you grow up and what was your life before Rawls College like?
I grew up in Trophy Club, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth. My mom owns her own eyeglass company, and my dad does graphic design. The thing about having two parents that work full time is that when I got to middle school, I was responsible for getting back and forth to school and doing homework. I didn't have anyone over my shoulder. I had to mature pretty fast. I never really had someone holding my hand through everything.
When I was in early elementary school, I had the Epstein-Barr virus and it halted my mental development. I remember struggling with basic tasks. I felt so useless to a certain extent. Then my parents put me through Brain Balance, and that helped when I got into middle school. That helped get me on track and I started getting my grades right and paying attention.
How did it feel when you were selected to be the banner bearer for Rawls College?
I got the email, and I immediately screenshot it and sent it to my mom. I thought it was fake. I spent like 10 or 20 minutes looking at the email to make sure it was for real. I was really really cautions about that. I'm a first-gen college student, so I didn't even know that was a thing.
For my mom and my family, they immediately started crying. To them, they're really proud of me, but it means that my childhood and all those struggles, they did right.
What's your major and why did you choose it?
I majored in information technology, and it all really goes back to my childhood. My mother made sure that I had a computer, so I got used to technology at a young age. I remember playing video games and if you installed a virus, it would be such a nightmare to get it off the computer. I also remember listening to the news about malware that was going around on people's computers. It was just a real question about why this was a problem. As we continue going into a computerized world, how do we stop this from getting worse? Those questions really pushed me into IT and cybersecurity. It also seemed important to me because I'd make a difference in the world.
What was your favorite class or who was your favorite instructor?
Data Communication and Security with Dr. [Terri] Giddens. She's my favorite instructor. She was excellent and has become a bit of an inspiration to me. She is so talented in so many different fields. It's incredible. In one class she's teaching us web design, but then she also taught me security a few years ago.
One of the things Dr. Giddens had us do on every test was to write “I don't know” as a test answer if we genuinely didn't know the answer. She preferred us to be honest and admit our lack of knowledge rather than write a nonsense answer to seem knowledgeable about the subject. The intent of this practice was to prepare us for our professional careers and taught us that admitting to not knowing something but expressing interest in learning it in the future, is better than pretending and embarrassing ourselves by getting caught in a lie. This was something I struggled with before her class. It really hurt my confidence to feel like I had to pretend that I knew something when I really didn't. This all changed after writing “I don't know” on that test. I was able to put aside my ego and focus on learning as much as possible instead.
What is one thing about Rawls College that stood out to you?
I had a preconceived stereotype about how the average IT professional looked and acted like before coming to Rawls. It concerned me that I might spend my whole career surrounded by people that were extremely similar. When I first came to school, I quickly realized this stereotype did not accurately reflect my peers in the IT program. Rawls has done a great job of bringing in a diverse group of students from a wide array of backgrounds into the program, and this has manifested itself positively in my daily life as a student.
Before coming to college, I didn't fully understand how valuable everyone's individual experiences are to forming educated ideas and opinions. This really came into play when I was working on projects. I've had people solve problems completely differently from me. There was some arguing as a result, but we came to a better answer a lot of the time. When someone differs from your perspective, you can get to the right answer.
What are your plans after graduation?
I'm still applying for jobs, but I know I want to work for a company that has tremendously good ethics. I'm open to a lot of possibilities, but I just want to make sure I work for an ethical organization that treats customers with respect and challenges me to constantly learn and solve problems. I don't want to do the same things every day. I want to be constantly learning new and challenging things. That's really important to me.
What will you miss most about Rawls College?
The people. It's a unique situation being in college where everyone around me is going through almost the exact same thing. They have the same fears and challenges they have to overcome.
I'll also miss the professors. They were such a great resource that was there for me. You have someone here for you that is extremely knowledgeable. That's what's so cool. If I have a career question or a technical question, I can usually reach out to a professor and get an answer.
Adzema will lead his fellow Rawls College students into the United Supermarkets Arena on Friday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. for the commencement ceremony.