Immigrant Father and Son: First-Year Graduate Students


Immigrant Father and Son: First-Year Graduate

It doesn’t happen very often: A father and son are going to school together
as first year graduate students. Polish immigrants George and Tomasz Golka are
enrolled in Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music: Tomasz studies the
violin; his father George, piano technology.

Their experiences are different. Tomasz feels at home on campus-he was a Rice
undergraduate. George, however, is still getting used to the academic life.
After all, it’s been 20 years since he’s gone to college. Tomasz admits that he
first felt apprehnsive about running into his father at school: “When you go to
college you want to be on your own,” he says. “Seeing your dad is nice, but the
idea of seeing him in the halls…I don’t try to hide out from him or anything.”

George and Tomasz-and the rest of the Golka family-have a wonderful and
moving story to tell about how they settled in Houston and became U.S. citizens.
They received their citizenship only a few weeks ago, after a 14 year struggle.

For more information call David Kaplan at 831-4791.

Camacho Combines Amazing Memory with Passionate

By mid-November Zenaido “Zen” Camacho will know almost all 670 Rice
University freshmen by name. He already knows by name about 600 sophomores and
600 juniors. Camacho, Rice’s vice president of student affairs, has also created
a “shadow” program in which he lets students read all of his office mail and sit
in on his meetings with high-ranking Rice officials such as the provost and
department heads.

The reason for his unorthodox work style? He is incredibly dedicated to the
students. His efforts have more than paid off. Says one colleague: “He has
almost single-handedly changed the culture of the university in terms of how
well we respond to student needs.” Camacho has only been at Rice for only a
little more than two years.

His is an American Dream story. Camacho is one of 11 children. His father
Zenaido Sr. came to America from the interior of Mexico on foot, walking several
hundreds miles; Zenaido Sr. would find work in and around BrownwoodTexas as a
migrant farm worker, janitor and railroad laborer. His son says it was a warm
and “powerful” family upringing that gave him the desire to nurture and mentor
students. Camacho also tutors Houston innercity high school students on
Wednesday evenings.

For more information call David Kaplan at 831-4791.


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