From Tiny Tot to Islander Alumna

Published: December 11, 2014

From Tiny Tot to Islander Alumna

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Elizabeth Garza will finally complete a goal she set for herself in the first grade when she walks across the stage to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi at the 2014 Fall Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. in the American Bank Center Arena.

Garza first stepped foot onto campus in 1996 at the tender age of 3 when she was enrolled at the Blanche Davis Moore Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), which is located on the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi campus. At the time, Garza had the distinct privilege of becoming one of the first groups of students to attend school at the ECDC.

“My mother enrolled me at the ECDC so I could become bilingual, and while I was there, I had wonderful teachers who encouraged me to be the best that I could be,” said Garza. “My first teacher, Dr. Palacios, would tell me that one day I was going to be the first woman president. That statement always motivated me to reach for the stars and to never give up on my dreams.”

Garza attended school at the ECDC until third grade and recalls walking over to the main campus during fire drills. During these mini visits, Garza began to develop a love for the Island University and aspired to earn her degree at the campus.

“When I was in the first grade, I remember telling myself that I wanted to go to school at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi when I got older,” said Garza. “I was always in awe of how beautiful the campus was and how happy the students looked.”

Garza enrolled at the Island University in 2011, and has taken classes non-stop for the past three years. She has had to learn how to balance her challenging schoolwork and two jobs in order to help pay for tuition. She recalls having to make several sacrifices to make her dream of becoming a registered nurse a reality.

“Not only did I give up having summer vacations, I also missed a lot of family functions and spending time with my friends,” said Garza. “It was tough staying home while everyone was out having fun, but I made sacrifices to fulfill my dreams.”

She attributes her success to the amazing people who have been a part of her life. Her mother Sandy Garza, grandmother Santa Pena, and fiancé Brandon Harris, have been her biggest support system and cheerleaders while she pursued her degree. Garza says that their support helped motivate her to keep studying when she wanted to give up.

“I would like to encourage other students to never give up on their dreams,” said Garza. “No matter how hard life may get, and even though you might feel like you can’t handle the studying or the tests anymore, keep pushing forward. It is all worth it in the end.”

After graduation, Garza plans to get married, build a house, and hopes to work in a neonatal intensive care unit in Corpus Christi, Texas.