The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South students receive success stories from faculty, staff

By Hannah Lathen/ campus editor

South students learned how sleeping under a desk could be a step toward reaching their goals at Success of Nuestra Gente Oct. 13 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Special projects coordinator Yolanda Sifuentes explained how she got to Tarrant County College. She started out volunteering in her church at the age of 13 and, making connections there, landed her first job at Sears, where she first developed her customer service skills.

After working various jobs including at Citibank, Sifuentes knew she was ready for a change.

“At this point, I graduated college, and then I decided I didn’t want to work for the profit world,” she said. “I felt that it was really drastic when I saw people getting charged 32, 33 percent interest rates on their mortgages, and all that stuff made me realize where I wanted to be. So then I went to work for nonprofit.”

Sifuentes worked for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and then Catholic Charities. At Catholic Charities, she learned how to network, and that is what got her the job on South Campus. Sifuentes credits volunteering and networking as a major part of launching her success.

Assistant director of counseling and advising Rosemarie Hammon grew up as a military brat until she was 14.

“Being raised in the military, education was very important to my parents,” she said.

After high school, Hammon wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, so she started going to community college as suggested by her father.

After two years there, she moved on to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

“After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I obtained a degree in social justice,” she said. “I went back to my community, and I was a case worker for STOP, Southside Truancy Outreach Program.”

Hammon later moved on to Sam Houston State University, where she received her master’s. After she got a job working as a clinical social worker for the University of Texas Medical Branch, Hammon became a counseling associate at Dallas County Community College before coming to TCC.

Business and technology divisional dean Ernest Gines said as soon as he graduated high school he knew there was one thing he did not want to do — get a college education. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life and took a job with Blue Cross Blue Shield, where he stayed for 10 months before taking his life in a different direction.

“I traded that in for a $127-a-month job,” he said. “I joined the Marine Corps.”

It was here that Gines says he developed skills that remained relevant throughout his life.

“When we talk about teamwork, it doesn’t get better than that, and that is what it is all about,” Gines said. “To me, that’s what it’s been through all the years: teamwork, leadership. And that’s where it’s all tied in.”

After seven years in the military, he started his college education at the National University of California. Gines didn’t start graduate school until 13 years after that. He later moved on to TCC to teach and then received his current position that he’s had for almost 17 years.

Hammon said that success is not instant, but it is achievable.

“Success is something that you have to believe in. It’s possible for you,” she said. “You need to develop some kind of mantra, some type of saying. Mine is, ‘You belong here.’”

Gines said he has had several role models or mentors who guided him through his professional career.

“I learn from everyone. The good and the bad,” he said. “I have worked with some people that I would not waste five minutes on, but I learned from them too. I learned what will not work.”

Sifuentes said she had probably five mentors throughout her whole life, but her boss in college is one that stands out to her.

“My boss, when she knew I had finals, it was pretty funny, she would let me sleep under her desk because she knew I only had three hours of sleep. She would say, ‘Yolanda, I have a pillow for you. Come and sleep for like 15 minutes because I can tell you’re tired.’”

Student Taylor Ray said the event showed students they need to take action to achieve their goals.

“I think it makes students realize, hearing people’s stories and things like that, how crucial it is if you want to do something, to actually put yourself out there and not just hope for it to happen,” she said. “Listening to people’s stories and how much work it actually took makes you realize, ‘Wow, I really need to step it up.’”

Spectrum president Tyler Jackson said Success of Nuestra Gente let students hear the stories from people who went through the same struggles as they have.

“I think this event is important because people that think that they can’t do it, it encourages them to think, ‘Oh, I can do this,’” Jackson said.

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