MCALLEN,
24
March
2020
|
05:28 PM
America/Chicago

Learning to provide independence

Student of the Week: Daniel Pena

Even though Daniel Peña lives in Starr County, the long commute to McAllen doesn’t stop him from getting to class on time at the Nursing and Allied Health Campus.

He wasn’t sure what to study before college, but quickly found the field that aligned with his values.

“When I was in high school, I wasn’t really sure what to study,” Peña said. I decided to pursue a career that helped people get better emotionally and physically. I fell in love with the occupational therapy profession to pursue because it helps people throughout their lifespans; from pediatrics all the way to geriatrics.”

Pena is slated to graduate this year as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) and pending national accreditation will be qualified to work in the field.

The OTA program at STC is a two-year program that prepares individuals for careers as Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants (COTA).

Peña’s said his choice to attend STC gives him the potential to earn good wages and help his family long-term.

“South Texas College provides people of low-income the opportunity to continue their education after high school,” Peña said. “I come from a family that’s not very wealthy or anything like that so STC provided me the opportunity to continue my education. I see their struggles economically. I wanted to pursue a career to not only fulfill my dreams, but to secure my family economically.”

 

“South Texas College provides people of low-income the opportunity to continue their education after high school,” Peña said. “I come from a family that’s not very wealthy or anything like that so STC provided me the opportunity to continue my education. I see their struggles economically. I wanted to pursue a career to not only fulfill my dreams, but to secure my family economically.”

 
Student of the Week Daniel Pena

A big part of his college experience is being able to get transportation from Starr County to the NAH campus in McAllen

“If it wasn’t for the Jag Express maybe I wouldn’t have been here at this point in time,” Peña said. “It’s helped me quite a lot to get here and commute back and forth. Transportation is essential to your education and if you’re doing have the transportation how can you further your education.”

He appreciates STC’s option for Starr County residents.

“By helping other students commute to a bigger city and providing travel to the Pecan Campus and the Nursing Campus the Jag Express just provides (Starr County) with something better,” Peña said.

His future plans include more experience as an OTA before pursuing an Occupational Therapist license.

“I want to work in the field first, a little bit and then maybe I’ll pursue to be an occupational therapist one day.”

Peña’s message to fellow students is to push through any obstacle.

“My message would be to never give up on your dreams despite all hardships,” Pena said.You continue going on fighting for what you love, for what you want, for what you believe. With hard work there’s always a great reward.”