STC Police Officer Receives his Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership this December
Influenced by colleagues as well as friends and family to return to college, STC police officer Michael Medrano is now set to graduate with bachelor degree in Organizational Leadership Dec. 12.
South Texas College police officer Michael Medrano is set to walk the stage with his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership on graduation day, Dec. 12.
Medrano, a 19-year veteran in law enforcement began at STC in 2018, at about the same time many of his fellow officers began taking courses at STC to supplement their careers. The idea, Medrano said, was to get more education to already build on years of law enforcement experience.
Influenced by colleagues as well as friends and family to return to college, Medrano said it was around the same time he returned to STC that he was affected by a personal tragedy.
“I lost my father in 2017 so that whole year was rough. People always say that life is too short, and after my father left us I can say that is definitely true,” Medrano said. “My daughter was a junior that year at the campus where I was working and I remember telling her that I was going back to school. My decision to come back was in part due to the influence of my colleagues as well as the impact of losing my father but still wanting to show my children that I could do it.”
Now three years later, and on the verge of receiving his diploma, Medrano says STC has taken his understanding of leadership to a much deeper level. When it comes to leadership, Medrano said he learned much as an officer on-the-job but it wasn’t enough.
“I always tell everybody that together we succeed. If we try to do it on our own, we’re always going to fail if we don’t ask for help. I want to make sure everybody gets that help to succeed because as law enforcement, we need it. That’s the leadership part in Organizational Leadership.”
You can be a supervisor who chooses to just get by, or you can be among those who look to understand leadership and go further with it, he said.
“You have to learn on your own because they don’t really teach you about how to be a leader,” he said. “It’s very hard on the job, but when you come into to this type of degree or education it starts to make sense.”
STC’s Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, or BASOL for short, is the college’s first competency-based bachelor's degree institution that enables students to receive college credit for courses they have already taken and developed through work and life.
The degree focuses on leadership in business, government, non-profit and educational organizations.
Medrano says the BASOL degree qualifies him for more opportunities within his department, and enables him to apply for management positions that require higher degrees, even outside of his chosen career.
“I am also open to continuing my career and education in a different field in which my degree would apply to,” Medrano said. “I have come to a cross road in deciding whether I stay in law enforcement or in another field, and the BASOL degree has given me this opportunity.”
Medrano says his first job out of the academy was working for McAllen ISD where he would make lifelong connections. When he eventually moved on to work with the City of Pearsall outside of San Antonio, he still kept in touch with his colleagues who continued to update him with job opportunities in the Valley while he was away.
He then worked with Edinburg CISD for a time until he jumped at the opportunity to apply at South Texas College, he said.
In the state of Texas, higher education is free for police officers seeking higher degrees. Medrano said he was able to take advantage of the grants which helped him pay for classes.
“When I came in I think there were two officers who were already taking classes, and I helped get another four officers to register. I also helped my brother register for classes with STC. Along the way, I have always encouraged my colleagues to come back to school and now some of them are graduating with their associate (degree), and even people they know are coming back too…it is a lot easier than you think it is,” Medrano said. “I always tell everybody that together we succeed. If we try to do it on our own, we’re always going to fail if we don’t ask for help. I want to make sure everybody gets that help to succeed because as law enforcement, we need it. That’s the leadership part in Organizational Leadership.”
For more information on STC’s Bachelor of Organizational Leadership and how it can help your career please visit https://bachelors.southtexascollege.edu/orgl/.