SGA Officer Recalls Journey from Colombia to Valley
Friday, June 20, 2014
Don't let the soft-spoken Johanna Lozano fool you. The 29-year old is lionhearted to say the least.
At age 18, Lozano left her home in Colombia fleeing the violence and government corruption that had overtaken her homeland. She moved to Rhode Island and eventually to Massachusetts.
While in Colombia, Lozano belonged to the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International and the church had a congregation in Worcester, Massachusetts.
So while Lozano missed her parents and two younger brothers back home, she was excited about the new opportunities available by moving to the United States.
"This is the land of opportunity," Lozano said. "I was raised a Christian and growing up I was taught values, the importance of caring for others, of serving the community and of seeking a better future not only for myself, but for all."
Lozano spent nearly 10 years in Massachusetts where she met her husband of four years, Juan Restrepo. Eight months ago, Restrepo got a job with the Harlingen school district at the new Performing Arts Center as an audio engineer and Lozano's journey brought her to South Texas.
Lozano currently serves as the Texas State Technical College Student Government Association Secretary and is looking forward to making a difference in her community right away.
"There are two types of students," Lozano said. "The student who comes to school, goes to class then goes home. Then there's the student that comes to school and gets involved. They learn new skills and leadership and become better citizens. My goal is to get more students involved at TSTC."
And if it sounds like Lozano has a passion for her role as a student leader, she does. And it's a passion that is rooted in her love for politics.
When she still lived in Colombia, Lozano got involved with the political party MIRA (Movimiento Independiente de Renovacion Absoluta) at the age of 16.
When she moved to Rhode Island, she joined MIRA USA and was the director for the Rhode Island chapter of the non-profit organization.
Lozano said the political corruption in her country fueled her passion for politics and encouraged her to strive to provide a fair system for the people.
"I had to leave my native land and my family because of the violence and the corruption among the government at that time," Lozano said. "That situation made me aware of the importance of good politicians and the need to have them in office. This has led me to pursue a career in Public Service."
Lozano is pursuing an Associate's Degree in Business Management and plans to transfer to a four-year university here in the Valley.