Meet Alfonso Tejeira. He isn’t the most traditional college student, but that certainly did not stop him from pursuing his dreams. After graduating from high school in Panama City, Panama over 30 years ago, Tejeira came to the United States in search of education and a career and found so much more. He built a home in law enforcement and discovered a passion for youth sports and kinesiology. While serving on the Orlando PD after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology, he acted as a youth football coach. It was there he found his passion for exercise science and decided to pursue a degree in it. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sport exercise science in 2014 from UCF. While a student at UCF, he found that he enjoyed the atmosphere of the college campus and joined UCF PD in 2017. Tejeira plans to continue to serve with UCF PD after graduation and is excited about the possibilities his new degree presents to expand his role as an educator.
Hometown: Panama City, Panama
Degree: Master of Science in Kinesiology
What will you be doing after graduation?
Currently, I am a police officer at the University of Central Florida, where I will be working for the next few years until I retire. While working at UCF, I will be continuing to teach and train other officers on law enforcement-related subjects.
What are your long-term career plans?
My long-term career plan is to retire in the next four years and venture into teaching. I love my career in law enforcement and academia, which ultimately brought me back to UCF to finish my career as a police officer. As a UCF employee, I will be taking advantage of certifications and courses offered by the university to improve my teaching skills and knowledge.
What accomplishment from your time as a student at UCF are you most proud of?
The accomplishment I am most proud of while at UCF is obtaining a master’s degree in kinesiology this semester. While working on my master’s degree, I still had responsibilities at work and home. I am fortunate to have full support from my family which has made it easier for me to concentrate on my studies.
What did you love the most about your time as a student at UCF?
What I loved the most about my time at UCF as a student is the learning environment and what the University has to offer. As a university employee, I spend a lot of time at UCF and have the opportunity to interact with staff, faculty, and students frequently. As a graduate student, especially when I obtained my undergraduate degree at UCF, it became easier to take full advantage of what the university has to offer for learning about my interests.
What was your favorite class, professor, or experience at CHPS, and why?
As a graduate student, I cannot say I have a favorite class or professor. The school experience is completely different for me since I have an established career and am working to start a second career. I took classes based on subjects that interested me and to increase my knowledge. Grad school and the classes were challenging. My first semester was the hardest. Since I had been away from the classroom since 2014, I was unsure if I was going to pass Exercise Physiology I and made me wonder if I had the time and dedication to make it through the program. What I liked the most, but caused the most stress, was doing in-class presentations. Standing in front of a class and talking gave me the opportunity to work on what I consider to be my greatest fear or weakness.