Texas Border Business
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Straight out of high school Alexa Quinonez tried her hand in college, but not finding an immediate career path, dropped out and took a job instead.
It was that job nearly five years later, that eventually brought her back to Texas Southmost College to pursue an associate degree.
The Port Isabel native earned an Associate of Arts in Business and was one of 358 students to graduate during TSC’s virtual commencement ceremony on Dec. 12.
“I’m so relieved and excited that my graduation day finally arrived,” said the 28-year-old. “I’m not going to lie, I’m ready for a little break, but I’m not stopping now.”
The last few months have been extremely stressful for Quinonez, who has been a part-time student and full-time hotel manager on South Padre Island.
The job is necessary because Quinonez doesn’t qualify for financial aid.
She said she has slowly worked her way up at the Wanna Wanna Inn Beach Bar and Grill, a popular family-owned hotel on the island, but one thing was a missing – a college degree. It is here that Quinonez found her passion for business.
“Between work, classes, paying for school and the effects of the pandemic, I’ve been so stressed,” said Quinonez. “But looking at the opportunities that are opening up have made it all worth it.”
As a hotel manager, she has been able to apply what she is learning in class to her daily duties. She said the education she has received has opened her eyes to new aspects of her job.
“I’m so glad I did this,” said Quinonez. “My classes have already helped me at work and the boost of confidence I have received is invaluable. I never thought I would be pursuing a business degree, but here I am. I have TSC to thank for that.”
Quinonez also credits her newfound passion in accounting and business to TSC Adjunct Accounting Instructor Marco Porras.
“Without his instruction and guidance, I would not have found my niche in business – accounting,” she said. “He helped shift my perspective in what I could do and achieve. He’s the reason why I’m continuing my education.”
Next spring, Quinonez will continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting at a local four-year university.
She dreams of one day owning an accounting firm to not only help her current employers with their books, but also fill a demand that plagues many of the businesses on South Padre Island.
“We are pretty remote out there, far away from cities that offer accounting services like Brownsville or Harlingen,” she said. “I want to be that person these family businesses trust with their accounting needs. I know that the Island is where I’m supposed to be.”
Quinonez added that it is because of TSC and its instructors that her life has changed for the better.
“TSC has made everything possible,” she said. “My instructors have made it feasible for me to pass my classes, find success, especially right now with remote learning, and continue my education.”
For more information about TSC’s Business program, visit tsc.edu.
Spring 2021 classes begin Jan. 18.