Higher Education Center at McAllen graduates first students

First graduates of the Higher Education Center at McAllen receive public health degrees
January 7, 2020

The first two graduates of the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center (HEC) at McAllen, Texas, received degrees from the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Michelle Vargas and Valeria Quintanilla received Bachelor of Science in Public Health degrees. Additionally, Daniel and Bridget Hernandez made a gift to fund the first cohorts of Aggie Rings for students from the HEC at McAllen. Quintanilla achieved her ring criteria prior to the gift being made and received hers earlier this semester. Vargas was awarded her ring by the Hernandez’s simultaneously to receiving her diploma.

Texas A&M University opened the Higher Education Center at McAllen to allow students in the Rio Grande Valley to remain home while earning their Aggie education. The new facility is part of Texas A&M’s commitment to support the educational needs of Texas with top-tier educational programs that will fulfill individual student career goals, enhance continued economic development of the Rio Grande Valley region, and help provide the necessary skilled workforce.

Vargas is a McAllen native and plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to start a non-profit organization that focuses on helping teen mothers and reducing teen pregnancy in the Rio Grande Valley.

Quintanilla is from San Juan, Texas, and will be working with the Texas A&M University Advise TX College Advising Corps, serving Porter High School in Brownsville, Texas, to help high school students in her community apply and matriculate to college.

“We hope local students quickly learn that the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen is a great addition to the Rio Grande Valley and that they have the neat opportunity to be Texas A&M University Aggies while being closer to home,” the graduates said.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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