There’s no place like home. ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
When Roman Silva left McAllen in the fall of 2013 to attend the University of Texas at Austin, he did not give much thought to whether or not he would come home after graduation. But Silva quickly fell in love with Austin and began envisioning himself making it his new home.
Silva declared business management as his major; however, by the end of his first semester, he could not deny the pull he felt toward medicine. He considered switching his major but decided not to because he saw himself managing his own medical practice one day. Rather than switching majors, he took pre-med classes for his electives.
“When I was taking my science classes,” Silva said. “I knew for sure that’s where my passion is.”
In the fall of his senior year, Silva took the Medical College Admission Test. He graduated in May of 2018 and began applying to medical schools. While awaiting responses, Silva landed a job at Paid Up, a start-up company in Austin, never losing sight of his goal.
In October, Silva received an email from UTRGV School of Medicine inviting him to interview for a place in the Class of 2023. In November, he interviewed at the school. He would not know until March of 2019 — on what is known as Match Day — if he and the UTRGV School of Medicine were, indeed, a match.
“That morning, I opened my laptop and stared at the login page for about 10 minutes, trying to catch my breath,” Silva said. He finally logged in and saw his passion taking shape: “UTRGV School of Medicine: Accepted.” Silva immediately called his mom.
He moved back to the Valley in July and joined the other 54 members of the Class of 2023 for UTRGV’s White Coat Ceremony July 27.
“At first, it seemed premature to receive a white coat,” Silva said, “but then I realized it represents the challenge I am facing and all of the things I will have to accomplish before I earn that coat.”
Silva attends classes all day Monday through Friday and then heads to the UTRGV School of Medicine Library, staying until long after dark. His weekends are also spent studying. Now Silva sees his future serving patients in the Valley.
“It’s such an underserved area,” Silva said, “and I really want to make a difference here.”
Silva lives at home with his mom and his younger sister Anyssa, who is a freshman at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
“I love my mom so much,” Silva said. “She’s the reason I am where I am today. And now I can mentor my sister, too.”
When Parallel Paths Meet
In retrospect, Annie Holand and Cramer Miller were moving along parallel paths. Holand graduated from McAllen Memorial High School in 1995. She graduated from UT-Austin in 1999 with a major in English and minors in business and Spanish. Miller graduated from McAllen High School in 1998. He earned a bachelor’s in business administration from UT-Austin in 2003.
Holand began working on a master’s in educational administration at UT, but an illness caused her to return to the Valley. While here, Holand was accepted into UT School of Law but deferred her acceptance while she recovered. After a year in McAllen, she returned to Austin for law school, spending her summers in Washington D.C. When she graduated in 2004, Holand moved to D.C., where she worked in the East Wing of the White House as the executive assistant to First Lady Laura Bush’s chief of staff for one year. She then worked in the West Wing as a special assistant for the Domestic Policy Council.
Miller had moved to D.C. in 2003 to work as a special assistant to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He and other young men who served in this capacity for the senator became the inspiration for the moniker “purse boy” because they would often carry the senator’s purse for her, in addition to many other duties.
Holand and Miller’s paths crossed a couple of times over the years, but no sparks flew. Then, in the fall of 2004, Holand invited Miller to a Texas outing in D.C. The rest, as they say, is history because, according to Holand, they became inseparable afterward.
Miller was accepted into UT School of Law in 2005. For one year, Holand remained in D.C. before returning to McAllen to work in her family’s business Holand Investments. The couple married in 2007. One year later, Miller graduated from law school and they moved to Houston. Holand-Miller still worked for the family business, so she would spend a week in Houston with her husband and then a week in McAllen. After the birth of their son Kern, Holand-Miller lived in Houston for three weeks and then in McAllen for a week, Kern traveling with her.
“It was time to get closer to family,” Holand-Miller said. “This is where my family’s business is. Cramer’s family has deep roots in the Valley, too.”
In 2011, the Miller family returned to McAllen. Holand-Miller still works at her family’s business, and Miller is an attorney at Atlas Hall and Rodriguez Law. He specializes in commercial lending, real-estate transactions, entity formation and local government law.
In 2018, Holand-Miller discovered her path to wellness at Medi Weightloss. When she and Miller learned the business’ owners were selling, they decided to purchase it, taking ownership in February. Now, Holand-Miller said, she has the opportunity to help others live a healthy life.
For the Miller family, which now includes daughter Holand, there are no regrets about coming home.
“I know it was the right decision, the right fit,” said Miller. “Both of our families are here. Being at home and being part of a community where your families have been involved for multi generations, there is a comfort in that, a sense of belonging.”