Patsy Lopez: Addressing Student Needs and Challenges of the Pathway

My name is Patricia Lopez. I am the administrative assistant to the Dean of the College of Education, and I’ve been employed at TAMIU for about 26 years.


My role involves addressing any situations where students feel the need to express concerns or dissatisfaction. They come in to make an appointment with the Dean, and over the years, I’ve seen quite a few of these cases. Often, students come in with a negative outlook and leave with a positive one. The Dean has a way of turning things around, ensuring that the students are listened to and worked with. After almost every conversation, students leave happier, sometimes even smiling and laughing, indicating that something good happened during the discussion.


One memorable student is Elizabeth Miller. Recently, we worked on a project with the Boys and Girls Club, planning an event within about two weeks. I saw her passion for ensuring the kids had a memorable experience. Even at the last hour, she called to say we had more students and didn’t want to turn them away. We scrambled, made a few calls, and managed to accommodate everyone. What stands out to me is her dedication to making the event special for these kids, many of whom might think TAMIU is unreachable. The next day, Dr. Oma shared how a young boy said it was the best night of his life, being on campus at night, seeing the lights, and visiting the planetarium. Mr. Davis also worked around our schedule to provide a planetarium show. Seeing Elizabeth Miller walk the stage yesterday reminded me of her passion and dedication.


Regarding challenges, my daughter Amanda faced significant ones. She was a teenage mother who graduated and joined TAMIU. My children attended TAMIU summer camps, which inspired them to aim for TAMIU. Amanda’s determination to finish college, despite being a young mother, was remarkable. She married, had a second child, and continued her undergraduate studies. One of her major challenges was passing the certification exams, especially since Spanish wasn’t her first language. She became determined to learn Spanish, using online programs and watching telenovelas to improve her language skills. She passed every exam on her first attempt, a significant achievement. She even got a sty from all the studying. After graduating, she joined a Facebook group where students share exam tips, and she committed to paying it forward, helping others who needed that extra support.

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