Parachuting to president, vet embracing life as a student

Harlingen native Brian Rodriguez said goodbye to his life in the military, and hello to a new journey at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen. The 27-year-old is currently enjoying the role of president for the Veteran Students Alliance Club.

Rodriguez was a parachute infantryman stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and served in the Army for four years. He was stationed in Afghanistan for seven months, a time he describes simply as “work.”

He made the decision to enroll in college when his contract in the Army was nearing an end, and an injury made him reconsider his career choices.

“I was injured during a jump and hurt my back.

The pain was so excruciating every time I tried to move. I decided to wait it out to the end of my contract to get out of the military, and that’s when I made the decision to start school,” he recalls. “I didn’t want to get out and just do nothing. You always have to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how slow you go anywhere; you just have to get there.”

Although Rodriguez has an array of interests, the one constant he knew he wanted to study was biology.

“I’ve always been into that field, even as a kid I was always watching nature shows,” he said.

“Biology opens so many doors, which is something that I can look forward to in the future.

The most difficult goal I have is to eventually get into astrobiology (the study of life on earth and in space). The solar system is something that fascinates me.”

Right now Rodriguez is focused on his presidential duties with the Veteran Students Alliance Club, and he hopes that his fall semester as president helps bring more recognition to the organization.

“I would really like for Veteran Students Alliance to get their name out there as much as possible, and help the community however we can. After all, the Rio Grande Valley is home to a lot of veterans.” When asked about members of club, Rodriguez explained that they are a very welcoming group of individuals.

“Our club is friendly and welcoming. I would encourage any veteran, veteran dependents or student to come in and spend time here. You don’t need any type of military background to join.”

Rodriguez is already thinking about his life after TSTC and planning new travel adventures before seeking a bachelor’s degree.

“After college I’m considering staying with a friend of mine in Wisconsin for a bit,” he said. “It will be fun to just hop around to new places. I don’t want to limit my life experiences. TSTC is a great new experience, and I’m ready for more.”

For more information on the Veteran Students Alliance Club, stop by the Veterans Center located in the Student Center, Room #138, or call 956-364-4386.