BY Emily Swartz,
Johnny Rivera, a Computer Networking and Security Technology student at Texas State Technical College and U.S. Navy veteran, joined the Veterans Upward Bound program in Spring 2018.
Veterans Upward Bound is an organization aiding veterans in Cameron County and providing a way to level the playing field between those continuously pursuing education and veterans that serve and then return to school.
The program hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at TSTC’s Veterans Center also provides one-on-one tutoring services, equipment such as calculators and laptops, financial aid assistance and preparatory TSI tests.
Rivera described the program and his time at the Veterans Center as pleasant and accessible with many resources to meet his day-to-day tasks.
“They have thought of everything you could possibly need. It’s all under one roof,” he said. “I recommend the program to any veteran seeking to make the most out of their education.”
Rivera, who plans to graduate Summer 2020 with an associate degree, said the program has helped him tremendously.
“Here at TSTC I’m receiving the building blocks to transfer to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree in business administration,” said Rivera. “And it’s the VB program that has helped me. It’s so beneficial having someone guide me through the process of re-entering college.”
Jose Villegas, TSTC Veterans Center program officer, said when UTRGV reached out to TSTC to establish a partnership with Veterans Upward Bound, they knew they had to accept.
“We were excited to see how it could benefit not only our students here at TSTC, but other veterans in our area,” said Villegas. “Not only does the program serve TSTC students, but also veterans throughout Cameron County.”
Villegas said the program is able to become more accessible now that it is at TSTC and grow in the number of veterans served in Cameron County.
Lizette McNaine, a Veterans Upward Bound program representative, said she sees the partnership with TSTC and the program expanding in the future.
“We are aiming to increase our scope to reach more veterans,” said McNaine. “We are unbiased and work with veterans no matter their college or university degree of interest.”
The Veterans Upward Bound program grant began in 1999 and was recently approved for another five years.
For more information about the services offered at the TSTC Veterans Center, call 956-364-4386.