The benefits of caring
Student of the Week: Stephany Gonzalez
“I like the feeling of helping somebody I love, and also helping others with those whom they love. I liked seeing them happy and watching a family get better and maintaining their wellness and health.”
Stephany Gonzalez, 18, has a calling to help people. She's found two ways to express her caring nature at South Texas College's Starr County campus by studying to become a health care professional and by joining the Ascender Program.
Gonzalez, born and raised in Rio Grande City, said she remembers being introduced to Ascender when her high school toured the Starr County campus. She kept the program in mind and joined as soon as she could.
The Ascender Program provides academic and community support to Latino students with the goal of increasing the of graduates and transfers to four-year colleges or universities. It also focuses on student engagement like community mentorship, cultural events and leadership development.
Gonzalez said even though it's only the second week of classes, she's bonding with the other members over their common interests and that the club has already enhanced her college experience.
"I joined the program because I heard that it does a lot of charity and community work," Gonzalez said. "They help out the entire community. I also just learned that they're going to do a community clean-up event. I would really love to attend that."
Along with the program, Gonzalez said she has enjoyed her first introduction to South Texas College and already feels comfortable with her professors.
"It's only my first year, but I've noticed that the teachers are very friendly and very helpful," Gonzalez said. "Some of the friendliest teachers I've ever met."
Gonzalez is pursuing an associate degree in Biology with the goal of becoming a registered nurse. A personal experience with home health care inspired her interest in the nursing field.
"My boyfriend's grandpa was really sick, and we were mostly taking care of him," Gonzalez said. "I was always in hospitals or going to see him. I just looked up to the nurses that help people that we love."
Gonzalez found herself offering overnight care and helping administer medication. She says she continues to visit and help care for her boyfriend's grandfather whenever she can. The experience of providing care has given her a sense of accomplishment and Gonzalez hopes to transfer it into a career.
"I like the feeling of helping somebody I love, and also helping others with those whom they love," Gonzalez said. "I liked seeing them happy and watching a family get better and maintaining their wellness and health.”