Twins find success together at STC
Danyela Mendoza (left) graduated from STC as a Dual Credit Program student with an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in December 2022. She is currently a senior Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary in Pharr. Carlos Mendoza graduated from STC as a Dual Credit Program student with an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in December 2022. He is currently a senior Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary in Pharr.
Twins Danyela and Carlos Mendoza have done most of everything in life together, including becoming South Texas College graduates as high school seniors.
The STC Dual Credit Program graduates are seniors at Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary in Pharr and are set to attend Stanford University next fall and are crediting STC for their success.
“For first-generation students like us, being able to afford a college education is a sacrifice for my family; a sacrifice our parents are willing to make, but through STC’s Dual Credit Programs, we got our first two years of college free,” said Danyela. “It’s great, because there are two of us and so it’s double everything.”
The twins both earned their associate degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies in December 2022, with honors.
“This was a big deal, a proud moment for our family,” said Carlos. “It was also a great learning experience for us, especially for me.”
For first-generation students like us, being able to afford a college education is a sacrifice for my family; a sacrifice our parents are willing to make, but through STC’s Dual Credit Programs, we got our first two years of college free. It’s great, because there are two of us and so it’s double everything.
I’ve inherited this interest from my grandfather. I feel a connection to the profession and to my grandfather by doing this. He never had the chance to pursue engineering, so now, at least one of us does.
Carlos said before becoming a dual credit student he wasn’t serious about his education or his future. He added it was his sister who pushed him to do this.
“Education has always been pushed in our family, but it was my sister who truly motivated me to become a dual credit student and helped me see the importance of doing this now,” he said. “She always motivates me to do better and be better.”
With his dedication and sister’s motivation, Carlos went on to become an active high school student earning spots within the Spanish Honor Society, the National Honor Society and being an active member with his school’s Student Council and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), an association of marketing students that encourages the development of business and leadership skills through academic conferences and competitions.
Danyela, who is also active at their high school as a member of the Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society and Peer Forward, in which she promotes college readiness to her peers, said the experience of being in dual credit with her brother was invaluable.
“I learned so much of what to expect when we graduate high school. We were actual college students on a college campus and that was amazing,” she said. “But most of all, being able to experience this with my brother and having the chance to help each other, encourage each other and see each other’s success was special.”
Both agree that STC’s dual credit programs have given them the confidence they need to complete a bachelor’s degree and even beyond.
“Our instructors were amazing, they understood our situation as high school students, but they still set standards high and treated us like actual college students. That has been the most helpful,” said Danyela. “I feel more confident navigating the college entrance process, college classes, research and essay writing. I’m ready.”
Carlos said, “Every instructor really made us feel like we had what it takes to complete a degree and in turn, it helped us reach our goal of getting to Stanford University. It was all worth it for our future.”
Neither Danyela or Carlos have ventured outside of Texas, and this new journey, they said, will help them expand their horizons.
“It’s nerve-wracking, leaving our parents, leaving the state, but it’s exciting also and the fact that we’ll both have each other is consoling. We’re going to achieve big things and it all started at STC,” said Danyela.
Danyela plans on pursuing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in bioengineering to bring new technologies in health care to the Rio Grande Valley.
Carlos, who said he’s glad he’ll have a familiar face in California, will be majoring in Mechanical Engineering in honor of his grandfather who would watch engineering documentaries with a young Carlos, which inspired the duo’s careers in the first place.
“I’ve inherited this interest from my grandfather,” he said. “I feel a connection to the profession and to my grandfather by doing this. He never had the chance to pursue engineering, so now, at least one of us does.”
For more information on the programs offered at STC, visit southtexascollege.edu.