A passion for helping others
Student of the Week: Carissa Gomez
“You want to go into a field that’s going to make you happy, that you’re going to reach the most lives in, that in 20 or 30 years from now, you’re still going to want to be in that field.”
Carissa Gomez is going straight from high school to the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, a monumental achievement made possible through South Texas College and its Dual Enrollment Pharmacy Academy (DEPA).
Gomez learned of the program when she was at Johnny G. Economedes High School in Edinburg and noticed a flyer promoting the program as a way to earn an associate degree in pre-pharmacy at the same time as a high school diploma.
“I was always interested in the medical field, so I attended an orientation,” she said. “I was kind of nervous because I would be at the college campus half the day. I would miss my PE class, my friends, I would miss lunch, but my father inspired me and said, ‘Hey why not?’”
DEPA is a two-year dual enrollment program developed for high school students in the Pecan Campus area who are committed to pursuing careers in Pharmacy. While offering an associate degree in pre-pharmacy, the Academy provides tutoring, an array of guest speakers, workshops on securing scholarships, mentoring from local pharmacy professionals, academic counseling and career guidance, and more. Gomez also volunteered in the STC Pharmacy Department and engaged in job shadowing to ensure this was a field she wanted to pursue.
“My experience here was very, very good,” said Gomez, 18. “I’m fortunate.”
What does it take to succeed as a high school student in college? “It takes a lot of patience and self-determination,” said Gomez. “Here, fortunately, I was able to meet so many kids my age who had the same passion to help people in the medical field.”
Her message to her peers: “You want to go into a field that’s going to make you happy, that you’re going to reach the most lives in, that in 20 or 30 years from now, you’re still going to want to be in that field.”
She graduated from South Texas College this spring more determined than ever to pursue a profession that focuses on the science of medicine.
“Pharmacists are not on the front lines, but they’re making the patient health better,” she said. “It’s like you’re the person behind the curtain, taking the patient’s health and safety into consideration.”
Gomez credited her success to the “amazing” professors and advisors at STC who made this all possible.
“I’m very confident right now, and I’m hoping that will continue.”