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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South professor helps women find new roles

By Martin Paredes/south news editor

Last fall, the South psychology associate professor and Women in New Roles coordinator was approached by a student in her office with an old, faded-out WINR pamphlet in her hand.

“She pulled out one of our old brochures,” Trish Light said. “It must have been over 10 years old because of the paper and font. I barely recognized it.”

Trish Light talks to her Women in New Roles students about change and self-reflection. Photo by Heather Shannon/The Collegian
Trish Light talks to her Women in New Roles students about change and self-reflection.
Photo by: Heather Shannon/The Collegian

The student asked if the course was still offered at TCC, and when Light confirmed that it was, she simply said, “I’m ready to do it.”

Light has impacted countless women, helping empower them through self-reflection, challenging them and giving them a supportive environment in the WINR classroom.

“I believe that you can change the world one person at a time,” she said. “That’s always been my focus, one person at a time.”

Light was born in Wichita Falls, but she moved to Irving, Okla., when she was in first grade because her father, a Baptist minister, got a job there as a pastor.

Light had fond memories of the people in her hometown.

“They were just wonderful people,” she said. “When corn came in, you would go out there and they would give you all this corn. When they killed a sheep, they would share the meat with you. After church on Sunday, people would bring fried chicken and stuff like that, and they’d have dinner on the church grounds, and everyone was welcome. Nobody was turned away.”

The farmers who made up a majority of Irving taught Light many valuable lessons.

“People are important, and it’s not about how much money people make, but it’s what they do with what they have that really matters,” she said.

Light lived in Irving until she graduated from a high school in nearby Duncan. Light then got her master’s degree in psychology in 1969 from what is now Texas A&M-Commerce and began working on South Campus in the fall of that year.

When Light was finishing her bachelor’s degree in business, she garnered a serious interest in psychology, so much so that she was ready to switch majors.

“What I like about psychology is that it’s one of the few courses in my whole life that I never get bored with because it is always changing,” she said.

Ultimately, Light was convinced into finishing her bachelor’s degree in business, and she is thankful for having done so.

“It really helped me with the women’s program to understand that accounting is the guts of a business,” she said. “You need to know where your money is going so you can stay on a budget.”

Light explained that a major driving force for her is achieving that breakthrough moment with students.

“The reason I get up every day is [because] I never know when I’m going to have that experience that really validates everything you’ve committed yourself to,” she said. “And sometimes you can see that come together when you’re working with a student, and it is oh, so rewarding.”

South health services coordinator Tina Ingram applauds Light for her attentiveness.

“I just think she’s a dynamic person,” she said. “She has such a passion for her students and for making sure women are cared for and get them where they need to be.”

A major part of WINR is breaking down walls and getting over the initial hesitation.

“Resistance is good,” Light said. “If you are comfortable in here, it means nothing is changing.”

WINR student Adrienne Roberts knows this fact all too well.

“I find this class aggravating in the respect that I have resistance to it,” she said. “For some weird reason, I resent it because I don’t believe it, but even though I’m feeling hostile, it’s a good response, and I recognize it.”

Sylvia Palomo, another WINR student, feels that the class teaches them to change for the better.

“We’re learning how to better ourselves and learning how to understand ourselves because it’s taking us from where we are right now to where we want to be,” she said. “This is for each of us individually to look at what we like and what we want to change about ourselves and transforming it into something better. It’s really empowering.”

Vanessa Dixon credited Light for “chipping away the layers” and getting to the core reason as to why she is going back to school, and Talliah Mims also gave Light credit.

“The way that Ms. Light teaches us helps me identify and acknowledge the things I’ve been fighting for so long,” she said.

Mims started at TCC in 2008 and had many friends go through the WINR program. Seeing the impact it had on their lives drove her to give it a chance.

“In 2015, I ended up registering last minute,” she said. “Every class was full, and when I saw that WINR was available, I told myself that if I truly want to understand what I need help with in life, [then] I’ve got to take it.”

Light understands that WINR can be a difficult course to take because women are not always ready for a course that is so personal.

“When the student’s ready, the teacher appears,” she said, quoting an old Chinese proverb. “And this class always has incredible bonding. A lot of times you make friends in here that stick with you the rest of your life.”

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