TSTC alum returns to make difference in students’ lives

Lisa Garza

By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff

Three years after graduating from Texas State Technical College, Lisa Garza is back — this time as an employee.

Hired last month, the 24-year-old is TSTC Student Life’s newest senior staff assistant. She is putting to good use the experience she gained at TSTC and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as a student worker for departments like Student Life and Community Engagement.

“Returning to TSTC to work was always my plan,” said the Harlingen native. “I created a family here as a student, and nothing has compared to this environment.”

Garza’s first experience at TSTC was as an Education and Training student. During her time at the college, before earning her associate degree, she served as Student Government Association vice president and a member of the TSTC Service Squad and Leadership Academy. She was also a student worker for the provost’s office and Student Life.

“Many times, students think college is only about class and studying, but there’s so much more,” said Garza. “I learned that here at TSTC, and it made a world of difference in my college experience.”

She added that it helped to have had great mentors in Adele Clinton-Solis, TSTC executive director of Retention Services, and Student Life coordinators Belinda Palomino and Larissa Moreno, who she now gets to call colleagues.

“These women were my motivators, encouragers and confidants,” she said. “As a first-generation college student, these mentorships were important to have for guidance and reassurance. Now it’s my turn to be that for others here at TSTC.”

After graduating in December 2019 from UTRGV with her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, she immediately applied for her job at TSTC.

“A lot of my plans changed along the way. I thought I wanted to be a teacher. But the more experience I gained in Student Life, the more my passion grew for the field, which eventually led to changing career paths,” she said. “And it feels great to be back.”

Garza has already hit the ground running in her department by helping to find more efficient ways of organizing day-to-day tasks, such as travel arrangements, and being available to help co-workers and students.

“My goal is to grow professionally here at TSTC and within the department,” she said. “My career is here at TSTC, and this is where I feel I’ll stay as long as I’m needed.”

She said that TSTC is a great place to work because of everyone working toward a common goal, and doing what is in every student’s best interest.

“In my time at TSTC, as a student and now employee, I have not met one person who isn’t willing to help or go above and beyond for our students,” said Garza. “And that goes a long way. It opens up doors of opportunity and lets students know we’re here to take care of them and help them achieve their dreams.”

For more information on TSTC’s Student Life department and the resources offered, visit https://tstc.edu/student_life or attend TSTC’s open house on March 12. To register for the event, go to https://tstc.edu/openhouse.