The first baby born in Brownsville in 1998 is now a college graduate.

Valeria Ramos’ father proudly graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station in 1985, then her older sister went on to be an Aggie also, graduating in 2016. So, it was not a surprise that Valeria sought Aggieland.

In fact, when Valeria was featured on The Brownsville Herald’s front page on Jan. 2, 1998, J. Noel Espinoza wrote: “Brownsville’s first baby of 1998 may grow up to be a Texas A&M Aggie.”

Ramos was born in Columbia Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville at 5:42 a.m, and grew up in Mission. As a New Year’s baby, she said her parents would tell her when she was young that all the New Year’s fireworks were for her.

While attending Sharyland High School, she competed in University Interscholastic League journalism events, and fell in love with writing.

Now 22, Ramos received her bachelor’s degree in communication, with a minor in marketing from A&M and cum laude honors. Her graduation was supposed to take place last Saturday, but because of the pandemic, it has been postponed.

Though she is disappointed that she will not be receiving her diploma in a traditional way, Ramos is not bothered much by that; walking the stage would have been just a small part of the way she spent her four years there.

“It’s sad that we can not celebrate together, obviously,” she said, speaking of the friends she made on campus. “But I would not trade the last four years for anything. It’s an amazing school and I have had the most amazing memories there.”

In 2016, her first year of college, Ramos founded an online publication, Madame Blue. Publishing daily stories about fashion, travel and lifestyle, as the site’s editor in chief, Valeria manages a team of more than 20 writers from around the world.

Ramos had the idea of starting the publication the summer before leaving for college, when she used her extra time to blog. The site’s name is an ode to the nickname her parents gave her after the STYX song, “Suite Madame Blue.”

“While I was given this nickname for my demanding behavior at the time, I grew to embrace many of the qualities that make me strong, independent, and motivated,” Ramos has written on the publications website, themadameblue.com. “Madame Blue represents go-getters with high expectations for themselves and a drive to meet those expectations, regardless of obstacles.”

One of the six Aggie Core Values, Ramos cited, is selfless service.

On top of being a Spanish tutor, Ramos has been a marketing intern for nonprofit Big Brother Big Sisters chapter at A&M College Station. The organization fosters mentorship relationships between unfortunate youth, and volunteers across the country.

“That Aggie value is about finding something you can do for other people,” Ramos said.

Balancing several extracurriculars, running a publication, on top of all her schoolwork was a challenge, she said, but the key to doing it all is staying organized.

“It’s about time management and finding ways to destress, and knowing how to step away from time to time,” Ramos said. “The best thing that worked for me was setting a time for everything and working in between classes. It’s about putting in the hours in the library, or getting up earlier. I enjoy working, when I’m busy I’m happy.

She is currently looking for a job in the communications and marketing field, and hopes to live in Dallas or Austin soon.

Ramos added that she considers her family very close knit. Ramos is the youngest of the family, with two older sisters.

She said her family takes every opportunity they can to travel, and since Ramos never had school on her birthday, she often spent it in another state or country. The Ramos’ has been to many countries, including Italy, France, England, and several countries in the Caribbean.

Though her family’s plans to visit Europe were cancelled, one of Ramos’s life goals is to see as much of the world as she can.

“Hopefully when this coronavirus ends, I can get on a plane again,” she Ramos said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to, and starting my career.”