“Gone but never forgotten” may be a common cliché, but it’s one that former Mr. TCU Miguel Ortega and the reigning Ms. TCU winner Andrea Hein cannot ignore when referring to their respective experiences at TCU.
Ortega, who graduated in 2011 as an international communication major, chuckled when asked about the moment he was crowned.
“It’s something you can’t escape,” he said. “I feel like people always bring it up, but it’s cool.”
For Hein, memories of the shiny silver crown and the overflowing bouquet of flowers flooded her thoughts as homecoming approached, and she said still can’t believe she won.
“I was thinking about that the other day,” she said. “I can’t believe that actually happened.”
Although the former Horned Frogs can only embrace the flashbacks that occasionally visit their mind, they have utilized their education and the tools they gathered in four years at TCU.
Ortega initially worked as an intern at a marketing firm in Mexico. But at the end of each workday, he realized something was missing.
“[The job] was cool, but I felt like I was ready to go home every single day.”
Ortega then decided to join Teach for America.
“When I’m teaching, I could stay there all day. It’s because I’m hanging out with kids,” he said.
After teaching first-year high school students in Beijing, Ortega moved back to Fort Worth to teach third graders at an elementary school. He also coaches a little league football team.
Ortega said his favorite part about teaching is giving the children the education they deserve.
“I love seeing them succeed and seeing the families thanking me. It’s a job where I feel like I’m doing something valuable,” he said.
As for the current Ms. TCU, graduated last May with a double major in strategic communications and speech pathology. Hein currently works in the human resources and marketing department of Purple Land Management, a project and title firm in Fort Worth founded by TCU students.
“I’m one of the first to be doing full-time marketing for Purple Land Management because they’ve only had interns before,” she said. “It’s a new adventure.”
Hein said her favorite part of working is the learning process.
“I get to interact with people from all over the country from our corporate headquarters, so it’s rewarding to help people through the application process. I am learning something new every day and constantly growing in my professional career.”
While Hein said she mainly misses her TCU friends, she also misses a lifestyle that might surprise some students who are eager to graduate and escape homework and exams.
“I miss TCU mostly for the community and my friends. And weirdly enough, I miss going to class and having to study because that was a different kind of energy than working full-time.”
Though Ortega and Hein found success in their respective fields, they said they could not have done it without the educational experiences that TCU gave them.
Ortega said that holding leadership positions such as being a Frog Camp director and a resident assistant made him more of a leader, especially when it came to public speaking skills.
Hein said she could not have asked for a better education at TCU, and it bestowed a confidence in her that can’t be tarnished anywhere she goes.
“TCU is much more than just the four years we spent in the classroom,” she said. “It is a lifelong community that we belong to, and we can use that to benefit one another after graduation. All in all, we are all Frogs first.”