08:57 AM

A second chance at a dream career

Student of the Week: Iris Moreno

I had something in me that was interested in law enforcement. So, I thought that this academy would be the best option for me since it’s flexible. I’m a mother of two and everything came together at the right time.

STC Student of the Week Iris Moreno

For South Texas College student Iris Moreno, the opportunity to pursue a new career dedicated to serving the community through law enforcement came at just the right moment in her life.

Having spent years studying law in Mexico, Moreno, 24, felt it was only natural that she follow her calling to enter the field of law enforcement and turned to STC’s Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence (RCPSE). Moreno is currently enrolled at the RCPSE Police Academy to earn her Basic Peace Officer certificate.

A McAllen native, Moreno studied in the Rio Grande Valley until she was in elementary school. She then completed the rest of her education in Mexico, where she eventually earned a bachelor's degree in law.

When she moved back to the United States and became a mother, she initially worked at a daycare center, but knew she wanted to return to a field related to law and criminal justice.

"I had something in me that was interested in law enforcement,” Moreno said. “So, I thought that this academy would be the best option for me since it’s flexible. I’m a mother of two and everything came together at the right time. My schedule is better and I can focus on the academy.”

STC’s full-time Police Academy is a 22-week program that is both academically and physically demanding, with several major exams, skills tests and an exit agility exam. Moreno said she has carried an admiration for police officers since childhood.

"I remember when I was in elementary school, officers would come and present to us,” Moreno said. “They would come in with canines and even firefighters would visit as well, and I loved it. I would see police officers and have such an admiration of them. It’s been with me since I was really young.”

Moreno added that she has always felt fulfilled by helping people. Even though she's not a peace officer yet, she said if she sees somebody struggling, like an elderly person in the store or a young student walking alone, she naturally takes notice, and wants to help.

"I always try to take care of people, and even when friends have a problem or need someone to listen, I'm there for them,” Moreno said. “I just consider myself a calm person who wants to make someone feel comfortable if they’re feeling upset. And, I think those are little things that are a part of the duties of a peace officer. It’s something I have to do for your safety, my safety and the safety of others.”

Moreno credits STC with allowing her to balance her education and family life. She said she wouldn't be able to attend school without the financial aid the college provides.

"I have two children who are 100% my responsibility," Moreno said. "You have to learn how to manage your time. If I didn't have financial aid, I would have to be working a part-time job or on weekends, but now I have the time to come to school and spend time with my family. I see the six months as a sacrifice, financially, but it’s going to be a great reward in the future."

Moreno said after earning her certification from STC she intends to seek a position at a city police department, or a school district police department.

"I would like to work for a school district because there’s a demand there for female officers,” Moreno. “And, it also provides the opportunity to be close to my children.”

Moreno is also inspired to continue her education and hopes to one day earn a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement or criminal justice from STC.

"I would like to first start with an English course to help advance my language a little bit,” she said. “But I would love to continue and earn a law enforcement degree and actually have an associate or a bachelor’s degree.”

And, Moreno is proud to further her career through STC to not only better her life, but be a strong example for her children.

“My son is so happy, he tells everybody at school and is always talking about how his mom’s studying to be a police officer,” Moreno said. “It’s so sweet and makes me proud."