CU Denver Competitive Sports Coordinator
This summer, CU Denver will unveil a series of murals and canvasses painted by world-renowned artist Detour that shines a spotlight on the achievements of the university's alumni. This article is part of a series that aims to go deeper into the stories of the alumni depicted in the series.
Angelica Adame MS ’20 caught a break.
A first-generation college student from Houston, Texas, Angelica – who goes by Angie – was the first person in her family to begin her education at a school where English was the primary language. “My sisters, who were a few years ahead of me, started at a bilingual school, which made the transition to an English-speaking school difficult. I was fortunate.”
While she was always academically driven, Angie didn’t always see higher education in her future. It wasn’t until middle school, when she saw other students wearing clothing featuring the Texas Longhorns logo, that she saw it as her next step. “It was necessary for me to do all of the things I wanted to do,” she adds.
Angie started her college journey at UCLA, where she experienced some of the pains of being a first-generation student. “It was stressful. I felt like I had to do more work [than my peers] because my family didn’t have the answers I needed. Before I went to college, I had to Google, ‘When do you take the SATs?’”
Angie transferred to Texas A&M, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Genetics. But something was missing.
I played intramural soccer. As a shy person who has a hard time socializing, sports gave me a reason to connect with people.
Fortunately, Angie had discovered a new passion. “I played intramural soccer. As a shy person who has a hard time socializing, sports gave me a reason to connect with people.”
While finishing her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M, Angie took a job in campus recreation — which, to her surprise, didn’t feel like work at all. She’d found what she wanted to do for a living. At CU Denver, Angie enrolled as a graduate student in the business school, where she earned a master’s degree in management with a specialization in sports and entertainment.
While the strength of CU Denver’s academics appealed to her, what ultimately sold her on the university was its then-new Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center . “To me, it represented a chance to build something from the ground up,” says Angie. “It was also a symbol of just how committed CU Denver is to making students feel like they belong.”
CU Denver’s combination of strong academic programs and opportunities to gain hands-on skills in her discipline – “the best of both worlds!” Angie says – taught her valuable lessons about leadership. “I learned that leadership doesn’t always look like how we tend to think of it. That very often, the best leaders are ones who are self-aware and rely on their emotional intelligence to solve problems.”
Angie Adame about to score first ever soccer goal.
Adame and parents celebrate Texas A&M ring day.
Adame poses for picture with former CU Denver Chancellor, Dorothy Horrell.
Adame with Lola & Rob Salazar Wellness Center colleagues during 2019 Halloween Week.
Adame celebrates virtual graduation at family home in May 2022.
Angie’s academic journey was not without its obstacles. “I'm very ambitious, I'm a hard worker, but I have a tendency to doubt myself. My supervisor, Brett Lagerblade, provided so much guidance in how to navigate the university and in how to approach our industry. He made me realize that I was capable of doing all the things I wanted to do.”
“That’s the thing about CU Denver,” Angie adds. “There are just so many people here cheering you on.”
Now, as CU Denver’s Competitive Sports Coordinator, Angie has embraced her role in helping students reach their potential, and in creating a space for them to support each other
I want them to leave college feeling happy and healthy, not just with the perfect GPA,” she says. “When they combine what they learn in the classroom with the skills they gain through our programming, they can accomplish anything they want to do."
She hopes that the mural and canvas series reminds students what they’re capable of. “I want them to think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ And I want them to know that the people in these murals and on these canvases are there because of the people here who cheered us on.”