South Texas College Student Services specialist continues to pay it forward
South Texas College Student Services Specialist David Alejandro knew he wanted to return to the college that made his education possible and pass the mentorship he experienced to current STC students.
A new semester isn’t solely an exciting time for South Texas College students. Staff and faculty feel the anticipation, as well.
David Alejandro, a Student Services specialist at the Mid-Valley campus, said this semester on campus has brought an excitement that has been missing the last couple of years.
“The semester has been fantastic,” Alejandro said. “Students come in with a big smile, especially the students coming from high school. I know it was probably pretty rough for them, because they were like right in the thick of the pandemic. They’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just the dark part you have to go through in order to get to that light.”
Alejandro has dedicated 15 years of service to STC, first as a former Financial Aid technician to now as a Student Service specialist. He earned an Associate of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership from STC.
Alejandro said he took a non-traditional path to complete his higher education. A 1995 Weslaco High School graduate, Alejandro returned to STC to complete his degree in the spring of 2017. He said college algebra was the one hurdle between him and completing his degree plan.
“When I went back to school I went slow to get my feet wet,” Alejandro said. “It was a long time since I had taken any classes. I even remember going online and watching YouTube videos to refresh my math before taking College Algebra. I could never excel any further because of that math class. But, I didn't give up, no matter how many times I stumbled. I’ve always managed to get up.”
Alejandro says he often tells his former College Algebra professor, Adalberto Guerra of La Joya, that he is the reason he earned his degree. Alejandro said he felt Guerra made sure the entire class had all the knowledge they needed and cared about how they learned.
“Students come in with a big smile, especially the students coming from high school. I know it was probably pretty rough for them, because they were like right in the thick of the pandemic. They’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just the dark part you have to go through in order to get to that light.”
“He won’t talk about it or take any credit, but he did change my life,” Alejandro said. “That is what we’re here for at STC. We’re here to change their lives – that’s the goal. Students may not remember what you tell them, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.”
Alejandro knew he wanted to return to the college that made his education possible and pass the mentorship he experienced to current STC students.
From responding to student needs and questions during enrollment, to assisting with recruitment, Alejandro wears many hats as a Student Services specialist.
“My duties are to ensure and serve as a liaison between academic, workshop programs and campus administration,” Alejandro said. “I assist students through the enrollment process and serve as one of the primary points of contact for information about the college. My goal is to represent trust, integrity, honor, respect and service.”
Over the past 15 years, Alejandro has seen the changes and growth occurring at STC. And he wants students to take advantage of the new educational opportunities the college offers.
“I wish more students were aware that we do not only offer certificate and associate degree programs,” Alejandro said. “They can also earn a bachelor’s degree at South Texas College. We have programs in Computer and Information, Operations Management, Medical and Health Service Management, Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.”
Alejandro also works in recruiting students, and said every student will receive a variety of opportunities to find their way to succeed and complete their degree.
“At STC we have outstanding professors who are willing to go above and beyond both in and out of the classroom,” Alejandro said. “In addition, the atmosphere is quite calm and comforting, providing a secure feeling for those who are on campus. I would recommend STC to those who would like to stay close to home and are willing to be challenged academically.”
Alejandro said he’s seen hundreds of faces pass through his department and finds STC connections in his daily life. He recalled a day when his sister was in the hospital and he ran into group of STC nursing students. Once the students realized she was related to Alejandro, they shared stories of how he helped them at the financial aid department.
“They said ‘because of him, we’re all here.’ They told her how I made sure to help them get the aid they needed to be able to continue in their program,” Alejandro said. “That’s something you’ll always remember. That’s what’s worth waking up to every morning.”