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Full-Time Fighter: International Student, Super-Mom Nears Second STC Degree

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Olga Quintero graduates December 2020 with a bachelors degree from South Texas College. An international student from Monterrey, this super-mom never let a language barrier and the responsibilities of being a wife and mom get in the way of earning a second college degree, with a 4.0!

Texas Border Business

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MCALLEN, TEXAS  Whether tending to the busy lives of her three boys or pursuing a higher education in a brand-new language, Olga Quintero lives every moment in testament to a truth that transcends borders and spans generations: Persistence translates to success.

The full-time international student and parent found her way from Monterrey, Mexico to McAllen in 2011. Facing an intimidating language barrier, Quintero hesitated to advance her education before being convinced by friends to join them at South Texas College.

The first day, she admits, was scary – even for a dauntless wife and mother of three adolescent boys. But surrounded by the support of STC’s established international community, she knew she’d found a school that spoke her language.

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“Speaking and writing in English have been a challenge for me,” says Quintero. “Besides, I [had] stopped studying a long time ago, so I had some difficulties when I decided to start my Associate. .. but I do my best every day.”

Quintero’s best was good enough to garner a 4.0 cumulative GPA in South Texas College’s Technology Management bachelor’s program, plus a nomination for Student of the Week. She’ll graduate in December with her second STC degree: a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Technology Management. And while she has maintained her grace and humility in overcoming her second-language struggles, she confesses that her tribulations – in class and at home – have fueled her confidence.

“In the beginning, handling time between family and college was difficult, but I established a schedule,” says the international inspiration.

Tech-savvy and motivated to learn new things, Quintero represents a growing contingent of international students succeeding in a second language. And while South Texas College’s location makes it an attractive destination for international learners, it’s the dedicated support – like faculty members who do more than just “talk the talk” – that sets STC apart.

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“My composition teachers help me to improve my writing skills, and all my professors motivated me,” says Quintero. “I appreciated every opportunity to learn new things or old ones differently.”

“Olga is a great example of an international student,” says STC Technology Management Instructor Dr. Ricardo Conje. “Despite so many challenges of living and studying in a new country … she conquered them all with flying colors due to her strong determination, dedication, and desire to succeed.”

For Quintero, completing college is about more than just proving herself and uplifting her family. With the language barrier successfully shattered, the mom is on a mission to launch a career in the flourishing field of Technology Management. With a bold foundation in higher education, she’s determined to reach her goal – and break through an even bigger barrier.

“In a competitive world society, women should increase their knowledge to gain equality in the labor market,” says Quintero. “I want to have a career in this field [and] I am sure that this program will provide me with the tools and skills required to do it.”

Technology Management is part of a surging sector in South Texas that includes management analysts, risk management specialists and logistics professionals. STC’s bachelor’s degree program brings the fundamentals of managing a business together with high-tech strategies to prepare grads for in-demand careers paying $75,000 and more. It’s a field with a future – and an ideal application for a managing mom’s versatile skill set.

“I am interested in the role that managers have in organizations and communities,” says Quintero. “Obtaining a degree in technology management will enable me to look for a position in a large corporation and make a difference.”

Quintero is expecting her hard-won double degree to spark a South Texas College tradition in her family: “I hope that my children can also have the opportunity to study in this institution. ” But for now, she’s not giving them the third degree… She’s saving that for herself.

Brimming with ambition and confidence from her time at STC, Quintero plans to pursue a third college degree – a door-opening Master of Business Administration – at a regional four-year university. It’s an aggressive target for a busy parent, but there’s at least one person apart from the Quintero brood that sees it happening.

“I know that her educational aspiration doesn’t stop here at South Texas College,” says Dr. Conje. “It is indeed an honor to be a part of Olga’s academic journey and I’m so proud of what she had accomplished so far.”

For the future MBA, the feeling is mutual. After reinventing herself academically and professionally with the support of her South Texas College family, Quintero doesn’t hesitate to recommend her pathway to other international students.

“STC is an excellent choice because it offers affordable courses and a flexible schedule,” she concludes. “Besides, STC has excellent advisors who guide me through my class choices.”

Learn more about South Texas College’s Bachelor of Technology and Science programs at bachelors.southtexascollege.edu

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