TSC alum’s cross-border journey leads to successful career in health care

Texas Southmost College Medical Laboratory Technology program graduate Luis Hinojosa works at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville.

From a young boy walking across the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge for high school classes to becoming a Texas Southmost College graduate, it’s been quite a journey for Luis Hinojosa.

The 25-year-old earned his associate degree with honors last year from TSC in Medical Laboratory Technology and was offered a job before even graduating, making this an extra special moment for the first-generation college graduate.

“It was this moment that made everything I had been through worth it,” said the Matamoros native. “Everyone’s goal is to start their career before graduating, and for me it happened. I couldn’t believe that my dreams were coming true, all thanks to TSC.”

It was at this point in time that Hinojosa said a huge weight was finally lifted off his shoulders after several years of 4 a.m. wake-up calls to cross the international bridge for school, a move to the United States to escape the cartel violence in Mexico and the struggles to help his family pay bills.

He added that as a first-generation college student and the youngest of three siblings, it was a challenge keeping motivated to stay in school.

“When you’re a first-generation college student, there are different challenges facing you,” he said. “Your family doesn’t understand the full commitment college requires, and for me at times, I wished I could just work full time to continue paying the bills and struggle a little less.”

Hinojosa said the only thing that kept him going was that he knew the reward at the end of the program would pay off more than the odd jobs he could get without a college degree.

Fortunately, for Hinojosa, he was able to work part-time as a student worker for the TSC Transfer, Career and Employment Office and for Admissions to continue helping his family.

“The help I received as a student worker played a huge part in my staying in school,” he said. “But so did the help I received from advisors and instructors in finding my passion and career.”

TSC’s Medical Laboratory Technology program was not always Hinojosa’s first choice. His dream was to become a registered nurse, but something always seemed to get in his way.

“There were a number of obstacles that blocked me from entering nursing programs,” he said. “But it was meant to be all along, because when I was finally introduced to Medical Laboratory Technology, I knew immediately, without hesitation, that it was where I was meant to be.”

Despite the rigorous program, Hinojosa managed to juggle everything that came with it, from classes and labs to clinical rotations, to earning a full-time job before putting on his cap and gown.

He has worked at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville for a little more than a year, the same place he completed his clinical rotations while in the program.

It was his skills and work as a student in the chemistry, microbiology, hematology and blood bank labs that left a good impression on the department staff, earning him his position.

He now works as a medical laboratory technician, sharing and applying the knowledge he gained at TSC.

Hinojosa’s goal is to continue growing and advancing in his field, pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree in medical lab science or biomedical engineering and ultimately become a medical laboratory technology instructor at TSC.

“I am where I am today because of TSC. It gave me opportunities I would have never had otherwise,” said Hinojosa. “It was the experience, leadership and training I received from my instructors and advisors that changed my life for the better. I have a career now and I owe it to TSC.”

For more information, visit TSC’s Medical Laboratory Technology program.