Exceptional Graduate: Reaching For Something Higher
Giselle Lozano succeeds and earns a degree despite disability and challenges of pandemic
STC student Giselle Lozano talks about the challenges that arose not just from being a deaf student, but the problems she faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lozano persevered however and is now set to graduate this Saturday, May 15 and says she is grateful to God for helping her reach this goal in life.
Accustomed to challenges, and obliterating them, Giselle Lozano said no one could have predicted the kinds of obstacles she would have to face once COVID 19 hit.
Deaf all her life, Lozano said falling ill, the transition to online courses, and balancing home and school life would have made any student question their college education. But the rewards have far outweighed the many struggles, she said.
Now set to graduate this week, Lozano reflects on a tumultuous year in the midst of a pandemic, and those family members, staff, and faculty at South Texas College who came together and pushed her towards success.
As a deaf student, Lozano says she is extremely thankful to Counseling and Student Accessibility Services at STC for being able to provide interpreters and note taking for her classes even though the current COVID-19 pandemic has been an extremely difficult experience.
Online courses required her to have interpreters online and in-person using face masks, which made it difficult for her to understand what was being discussed in class. Despite all the hardships inside and outside the classroom, Lozano says she has excelled even during a time when it was easier to delay or simply give up on her education.
“Through the many challenges that were thrown my way, I never gave up on my studies because of the support and love that my family always gave,” she said. “They always believed in me even though at times, I didn’t. But throughout my journey, I have developed a passion for working out and focusing on my physical and mental well-being and it has really motivated me.”
Born and raised in Edinburg, Lozano graduated from McAllen Memorial High School in 2018. She entered South Texas College that same year, choosing the Interdisciplinary Studies program for a curriculum that provides students with a broad-based menu of courses including critical thinking skills and a wide range of transfer options.
“I think that self-love and discipline are the two main factors that are needed to succeed in all your endeavors. A disability or even others perceptions and expectations of you. should not stop you from reaching your goals. Everything that you do, do it for you."
Lozano said she found inspiration in her older sister, who earned a bachelor’s degree two years ago and is now working as a kindergarten teacher. She now seeks to transfer to the University of Houston Clear Lake or Lamar University for the fall with the goal to serve her community as a police officer or Border Patrol agent.
Lozano will be among the 3,444 graduates who will receive their degree on May 15. STC will still be holding its spring 2021 commencement virtually. A new feature however is the inclusion of a live ceremony broadcast beginning at 10 a.m. on May 15, which has been designed to reflect the college’s traditional in-person commencement.
Through it all, Lozano hopes her story can be used as an example for all students to believe in themselves even when things are at their most difficult. This Saturday, she also dedicates her accomplishments to her grandfather who passed away in 2019.
“I think that self-love and discipline are the two main factors that are needed to succeed in all your endeavors,” she said. “A disability or even others perceptions and expectations of you. should not stop you from reaching your goals. Everything that you do, do it for you.
“Graduating with my associate degree has really motivated me in the sense that I’m halfway done and much closer to getting my career,” she said. “But my biggest motivation was remembering how proud my dear grandfather was when I started college. My heart hurt so much when he passed away in September 2019.
“I just hope he gets to peek down from heaven and see me graduate,” Lozano said. “I did this for him, and I dedicate my graduation to him, my dear grandfather Alberto Gallegos.”