TSC engineering academy grad finishes strong despite challenges

Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at TSC graduate Lineth Zepeda.

Quarantine life during the COVID-19 pandemic has been anything but uneventful for Texas Southmost College full-time student, mother and essential employee Lineth Zepeda.

Zepeda earned an Associate in Science degree in May from TSC through the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy, but for the last few weeks the 26-year-old had a lot to juggle to finish strong.

“It’s all been a huge adjustment,” said the Nuevo Laredo native. “It’s changed everything and has really brought a different perspective to things.”

Not only was Zepeda balancing her last semester via remote learning while homeschooling her children, she is also considered an essential worker during these unprecedented times.

As an essential employee, Zepeda has already shared her talent for science with her community. As a full-time employee at a local plasma center, she assists with quality control when it comes to collecting the plasma of COVID-19 survivors.

“Hopefully, what we are doing is positively impacting and contributing to our current situation,” said Zepeda. “My job is rewarding knowing that, in general, plasma has the power to save lives.”

The recent graduate said although this period in time has been demanding for her and her family, she has made it work. While many plans have changed, her plan on earning her degree has not.

“Has it been hard? Yes. Is it impossible? No. It’s just been a lot of juggling and logistics,” she said. “It’s been a lot of big, quick changes, but we are not quitters.”

Zepeda admits she is disappointed about not being able walk the stage in May to receive the associate degree that’s been a long-time coming – a dream she has held since first arriving in the United States in 2014.

“After arriving in the U.S., my life was put on hold for nearly four years while all of my paperwork and residency got worked out,” she said. “Without it, I couldn’t work or attend school. So now that I’m graduating I was hoping to experience a ceremony with my family, but I also understand our current situation is bigger than anything else.”

Nonetheless, the mother of two still received her degree and she knows nothing can take away the education she has received.

Zepeda said her instructors have been monumental in her success throughout the entire program, but were pivotal in the last few weeks.

“They’ve been there for us and have been flexible and understanding to the situation and our individual situations,” she said. “They ensured that we finished with success and that we had every resource we needed to do so.”

In the coming months, the TSC science student said she is looking forward to continuing her education and career in the fields of science and chemical engineering because of the opportunities she found at TSC and through the engineering academy.

“Never could I have imagined that I would now be applying to such a prestigious school like Texas A&M University,” she said. “And that is only possible because of TSC. It opened doors and inspired me.”

She added that TSC has inspired her the way she hopes to inspire her children, her sisters and other young women to pursue college and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at TSC is an innovative co-enrollment program that provides a pathway for students interested in pursuing an engineering degree at Texas A&M University.

Students admitted to the engineering academy at TSC are engineering students co-enrolled at TSC and Texas A&M University in the College of Engineering.

For more information, visit the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at TSC.