TSC sets up future for Brownsville dual credit graduate

TSC and Brownsville Early College High School Dual Credit student Estrella Lozano earned a high school diploma and an associate degree.

Estrella Lozano recently celebrated a huge milestone that not only changed her life, but that of her family.

As a recent Brownsville Early College High School graduate, she also became a Texas Southmost College dual credit graduate earning an associate degree in general studies and making her, not only the first from her family to graduate high school, but also the first to earn a college degree.

In May, Lozano was one of more than 30 Brownsville Independent School District dual credit students who were the first to earn an associate degree in general studies since TSC reopened as a comprehensive community college in 2013.

“This is a big deal for our family,” said the 18-year-old. “This has set the bar for my younger brother and sister, who I hope will follow in my footsteps. This has been a proud moment for us all.”

While Lozano said being the first to venture into anything is scary and sometimes lonely, everything has been worthwhile.

“My family hasn’t always understood why so much of my time had to be committed to my classes and studies. It was new to all of us,” she said. “But I have never lacked support or encouragement from them. And that’s all I need. I know I’ve now made my family proud.”

The Brownsville native began her dual enrollment journey with TSC as a sophomore in high school. She started with a college algebra class and decided to continue into her junior and senior years.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to get ahead,” said Lozano. “The transition was intimidating, but now I’m more than prepared for life after high school and the experience definitely made me a better student.”

Although COVID-19 brought its own challenges for the high school and first-generation college student, she didn’t allow that to deter her goals.

She credits TSC’s instructors for her strong finish.

“They just care. They are so motivating, understanding of our struggles and challenges,” said Lozano. “They always kept the lines of communication open to ensure we knew what was expected of us and how they would help us find success.”

Lozano is now preparing to attend a four-year, in-state university in the fall where she plans to major in corporate communications.

As a TSC General Studies program graduate, she will continue to pursue her education as a junior, instead of a freshman, saving her time and saving her family thousands of dollars.

“Because of TSC, I can earn my bachelor’s degree in two years instead of four, I can start my career sooner rather than later and maybe even invest in a graduate degree,” said Lozano. “I feel a lot better knowing that it won’t be a financial burden on my family.”

Lozano said her dream is to work and be the face of a large corporation someday, as she grows within her field of corporate communications, but said she will never forget where it all began.

“It started at TSC,” she said. “It changed my life in the best way possible and even solidified my career choice. TSC helped me grow and gain control of my future.”

TSC’s Dual Credit program offers high school students 11 different associate degree pathways to pursue such as general studies, business, criminal justice, engineering, pre-health and social work.

For more information, visit TSC’s Dual Credit program.