Uniquely capable welder
Student of the Week: Arat Rodriguez
Arat Rodriguez is deaf and thriving in his welding classes at South Texas College. Something he didn’t think was possible when he was about to graduate high school.
Last year he didn’t know what his future would hold and now he is pursuing his Combination Welding Certificate, a three-semester program.
Assistance with his courses is primarily provided by Sign Language Interpreter Priscilla Garcia through STC’s Interpreting Services, a wing of Counseling and Student Disability Services.
Counseling and Student Disability Services reflects South Texas College’s commitment to provide access to higher education and support the educational goals of students from diverse backgrounds. The staff helps achieve academic success through the following services: academic counseling, career and mental health counseling, services for students with disabilities, and assistance to vulnerable populations.
Arat is grateful for the personal help he gets through a busy class schedule.
“It’s very important to have an interpreter,” He said. “It gives me goosebumps to know I can have my interpreter to guide me through my education.”
His courses themselves take a lot of brainpower and close attention to detail, but Arat likes a challenge. He said compared to his high school CTE class he’s upped his skills.
“When I was taking welding in high school it was very simple. Here you learn how to work with pipes and more underwater so it’s a lot more complicated, a lot more rigorous,” He said. “They prepare you, we have to step up to the game and you learn, it's really good hands-on practice.”
Arat is doing what he loves but he knows safety is key in the skilled work he is learning. He thrives under those conditions.
“I really enjoy It’s fun at the same time you have to be serious and prepared,” He said. “It’s interesting because you need to focus, there is a lot of danger so you have to be careful, more cautious about how you work.”
“Anybody, even if they’re deaf, it doesn’t matter their status, they can take on the challenge, come and get your education,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone has an equal opportunity here at STC to achieve their goals and at the same time they’re learning and they’re enjoying what they do.”
With a laser focus on his career, Rodriguez is slated to graduate in 2021.
“I’m the type of person that I’ve never given up, especially with education,” Arat said. “I’m the kind of person who works hard and I want to reach my goals.”
His message to other students who might be questioning if their disability would limit them.
“Anybody, even if they’re deaf, it doesn’t matter their status, they can take on the challenge, come and get your education,” He said. “Everyone has an equal opportunity here at STC to achieve their goals and at the same time they’re learning and they’re enjoying what they do.”
Counseling and disability services can be reached at (956) 872-2173 and has an office in each of STC’s campuses.
The Welding Program can be reached at (956)-872-6149 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Because of the current shelter in place order, instruction for the welding program has shifted online.
"To address the COVID-19 crisis, Welding faculty have worked very hard to ensure the students are still receiving the high-quality education they deserve, so many of their lectures and assignments are now online, and we hope to be able to finish the last couple of weeks of the semester with a modified schedule in our welding labs," said Sara Lozano, Point of Contact for the Division of Business, Public Safety and Technology at STC.