CIS instructor invited to White House for Pope’s visit

White House InvitationTexas Southmost College (TSC) Computer Information Systems Instructor Blanca Lozano attended Pope Francis’ visit to the White House on Sept. 23 after she received a personal invitation from President Barack Obama’s residence in July through a close friend.

“I kept asking myself, ‘why me? What am I doing here?’ There’s people with way more political involvement that should be here,” said Lozano. “It was a beautiful gift that I was given and it was an honor to be there. It was not only a religious occasion, but it was a political occasion. To have been a part of this was to be a part history.”

After a day of sight-seeing in Washington, D.C., Lozano began her trek to the White House for the Pope’s visit on Sept. 23 at 5 a.m. Once she got through three levels of security at three different access points, she finally found her seat in the bleachers on the South Lawn. The ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. and lasted 30 minutes.

“The Pope was driven in and when he got out, it was unbelievable,” said Lozano. “It was very touching, especially when the president and first lady came out. Even though I’m back home now, it still doesn’t seem real. I keep asking myself if it really happened.”

Lozano received the email invitation from a friend’s daughter that works at the White House. The email turned into a teaching moment that she passed on to her CIS students because of the sophisticated level of encryption that was used for the invitation.

“One of the things I explained to my students was that when they sent us a copy of the invitation, it was a highly encrypted message,” explained Lozano, who has taught CIS at TSC since 1984. “If you try to forward it, you can’t. You could see the text, but you wouldn’t be able to see the invitation. It’s very interesting the way they use technology and the security part of it.”

About Texas Southmost College
Originally established in 1926, Texas Southmost College currently offers the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree, along with career and technical education leading to certificates and associate degrees, college preparatory studies to prepare students for college-level work, workforce training, and continuing education. Recently selected as a Bright Spot by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, TSC offers 53 programs of study leading to an associate degree or certificate. TSC became independently operational in the fall of 2013, after engaging in a 20-year contractual arrangement with a public university.