Surviving loss: TSC serves as chapter of hope for local student

Salathiel Sotuyo is taking his first steps toward a career in science at Texas Southmost College, a dream he is fulfilling for himself and to honor his late father.

The 20-year-old lost his father to cancer during his senior year in high school, which was also the same time he found his passion for science.

“Science is the stepping-stone to everything we do,” said the Brownsville native. “It’s the research behind the science that identifies problems and creates solutions in our natural world. And just maybe, I can save other families from the heartbreak of cancer.”

Sotuyo said he knew that TSC was the best choice for him due to its proximity to home, small class sizes and hands-on training.

“TSC exceeded all my expectations,” he said. “Despite the challenge brought on by the pandemic, our instructors have provided us with all of the resources we need to continue our training in science.”

He added that the one instructor who has influenced his success is TSC Biology Instructor Glen Cain.

“He has been influential in continuing my education after I graduate,” said Sotuyo. “His methodical way of teaching and the real-world experiences he shares with us have been eye opening.”

Sotuyo expects to earn an associate degree in Science from TSC in spring 2022, but not before helping other students find their motivation and success too.

Not only is Sotuyo a science student at TSC, but he is also a composition tutor, earning the spot for his high marks in his composition classes.

“I’ve always loved writing, even competing in high school. I feel like I’m naturally good at it,” he said. “When the opportunity to become a composition tutor was presented to me, I decided that it would be a good idea to use my talent to help other people.”

He has been a tutor with TSC’s Learning Labs for only two semesters, but said it has been one of the most rewarding moments of his college experience.

“Some students just need a little extra help or push to gain confidence or keep moving forward, and as tutors we are that little extra motivation they need,” said Sotuyo. “I love seeing ‘aha’ moments and watching them take what they have learned to move forward and apply it in their other classes. Most times we are able to reduce their stress and turn their day around. That makes everything I do worthwhile.”

Upon graduating from TSC, Sotuyo plans on transferring to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology.

He hopes to work in the field of microbiology and in a laboratory setting studying viruses and bacteria to find cures for diseases.

“TSC helped me put my life back on track. Everything about my college experience has been life changing,” said Sotuyo. “I keep moving forward because I know that’s what my dad would want for me to do. This is to honor him.”

Visit TSC’s Learning Labs for more information about the tutoring services available at the college.