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STC Professor Alex Sarabia 2023 Faculty of the Year

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South Texas College Assistant professor of Psychology Alex Sarabia has been named 2023 STC Faculty of the Year, making him the first faculty member from the South Texas College Starr County campus to claim the honor. STC Image
South Texas College Assistant professor of Psychology Alex Sarabia has been named 2023 STC Faculty of the Year, making him the first faculty member from the South Texas College Starr County campus to claim the honor. STC Image

Texas Border Business

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By Joey Gomez 

MCALLEN, TEXAS – A deep dedication to students and an innovative approach to teaching has earned Alex Sarabia a 2023 STC Faculty of the Year award, making him the first faculty member from the South Texas College Starr County campus to claim the honor.

“It’s always a nice feeling to be recognized and to be the first faculty of the year from the Starr County campus and also from the psychology department,” Sarabia said. “It’s a rewarding feeling that I’m making history from the department and from the campus. The same passion I had from day one, 12 years ago, I still feel today.”

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Annually, the Faculty of the Year award recognizes the extraordinary contributions and quality service of faculty members supporting the mission of STC.

The Faculty of the Year award honors faculty who are committed to excellence in the five main areas of faculty performance: Teaching and Learning, Student Success, Professional Development, Leadership and College Service, Community Service and Creating a College-going culture.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Anahid Petrosian, Ph.D., will recognize Sarabia during the Fall 2023 Academic Affairs Assembly on Aug. 21.

“This outstanding achievement reflects Mr. Sarabia’s instructional innovation in the classroom and dedication to academic excellence,” said Petrosian. “The time, effort, and attention Mr. Sarabia dedicates to his students is exemplary. He not only teaches his students but serves as a role model and mentor. His presence on the Starr County Campus has made a remarkable and lasting impact.” 

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Upon graduating from Roma High School as valedictorian in 2006, the now Assistant Professor of Psychology Sciences said he entered South Texas College as a student and never left.

Sarabia’s success in high school at the time gave him the option to attend to any college or university he wanted, but it was STC, with a unique environment which blended family and community, that drew him in first as a student, staff member and finally as faculty, where he has now mentored thousands of students for more than a decade now.

For Sarabia, a deep dedication to students and an innovative approach to teaching has enabled him to be named 2023 STC Faculty of the Year, the first faculty member from Starr County to claim the honor.

“I will always share my story with students to let them know that not too long ago I was in their shoes, I was in the same classrooms, in the same desks,” Sarabia said. “I know what it’s like to be a student here on this campus. I know what it’s like to have to go to classes and work. So, I’m understanding and flexible for the same reason.”

Sarabia said he entered STC as a Valley Scholars student and supported himself through college as a certified master tutor and finally as an assistant supervisor at the Starr County Campus Center for Learning Excellence (CLE) before graduating from STC in 2007 with an Associate of Arts in Psychology. 

He then transferred to the University of Texas-Pan American, now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), with a double major and earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Psychology in 2009, and finally a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2011. 

He returned to STC as Psychological Science faculty in 2011 and then immediately co-founded STC’s Psychology Club, which for the last 15 years has established itself as a major conduit for students participating in community service events in Starr County.   

Along the way, Sarabia said success meant never forgetting those family members, mentors and the community that helped him along the way.

“I have had a great experience at STC over the last 12 years seeking to make a positive difference in the lives of students, which is priceless. I have enjoyed all facets from being a traditional student, staff member, tutor, supervisor, club advisor and now faculty,” Sarabia said. “Whenever a student tells me that they want to major in psychology because of a class they took…it’s just very rewarding when they see me as a mentor and a role model. I think that’s the sign of a true teacher, when you are not just an instructor, but a role model, mentor, and somebody that students can look up to and count on.”

For more information on STC’s Psychology program, visit www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/psychology/.

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