10:03 AM

Exploring STEM with Dual Credit program

Student of the Week: Victor Arguelles

 My parents tell me, ‘When there’s an opportunity, take it,’ because back when they were students there weren’t as many opportunities, and now there’s so many options, especially with dual education.

- STC Student of the Week Victor Arguelles

Victor Arguelles, 16, took the opportunity to begin his higher education journey at South Texas College this summer through the college’s Dual Credit program.

The Mercedes native is expected to graduate with an associate degree in Engineering by spring 2025 through the Dual Enrollment Engineering Academy (DEEA). He said he decided to apply to the esteemed academy after a recruitment presentation at his high school.

“I went through the whole process to join the academy after finding out it focused on engineering because I’ve always loved math,” Arguelles said. “That was always my favorite subject along with science, so I wanted to pursue something within this field.”

DEEA is a two-year, year-round dual credit program developed for high school juniors and seniors who are seriously interested in pursuing a career in engineering.

The purpose of STC’s DEEA program is to increase the number of rural area students committed to careers in manufacturing, electrical, industrial engineering and others by providing college course-work and engineering-related opportunities to students as they complete their associate degree in Engineering.

“It’s been a great experience so far,” Arguelles said. “I’m taking my first classes; they’ve been challenging, and I have to really pay attention to what they’re teaching us in order to understand, but, we’re all getting a hang of the college setting.”

Arguelles said he has enjoyed discovering all the amenities that are offered at the Mid-Valley campus, especially those that support his studies and help him with stress management.

“I’ve been exploring the campus a little bit, and I really like the library,” Arguelles said. “And from time to time I enjoy hanging out in the game room with classmates. It helps with the stress.”

And, by taking classes on campus, Arguelles said he has gained a new insight about the demands of higher education.

“The main thing I’ve had to do is get into the mindset of being a college student,” Arguelles said. “I can’t think like a high school student here. We have to be independent and I feel like that’s the main thing to take into mind when joining the academy.”

Along with earning an associate degree in Engineering, DEEA participants are also offered extra experiences to increase the students’ knowledge of engineering and professional skills, like volunteer opportunities with area engineering facilities and businesses, seminars by math and science professionals, field trips to engineering businesses and other activities.

Arguelles said he is grateful for the support of his family, who encouraged him to enter the DEEA because of the head start it will provide him.

“My family has always encouraged me to get a higher education,” Arguelles said. “My parents tell me, ‘When there’s an opportunity, take it,’ because back when they were students there weren’t as many opportunities, and now there’s so many options, especially with dual education.”

Although his studies are in the STEM field, Arguelles said he also enjoys exploring the fine arts during his free time, a pastime his family encourages.

“I really enjoy music,” he said. “My uncle plays guitar so I learned from him and then I also went to guitar classes for a little bit.”

And, although this summer marked his first step into higher education, Arguelles said he’s glad he chose to build a foundation at STC and encourages other students to look into the different dual credit academy programs.

“I would tell future students to keep their minds hard at work,” Arguelles said. “You have to focus and be determined to keep moving forward in this academy. Don't give up so easily when there's an obstacle - just keep at it. The professors want to help you and see you succeed.”