(HARLINGEN, Texas) – For Texas State Technical College Business Management Technology instructor Cynthia Mata, the last three decades seem to have flown by. “It does not feel like 35 years,” she said. “I was between jobs, and my parents mentioned that I should apply at TSTC. I started as an instructor in the Business Skills program, which is now Business Management Technology.”
Mata has worn several hats at TSTC, including being a statewide department chair for the past five years.
“I went from being an instructor, to a program chair, to working in Human Resources,” she said. “Ultimately I wanted to go back to teaching. I love to teach. I thought it would be my temporary job, and it ended up becoming my dream.”
Though being an instructor has brought her many special moments, the times when she knew she was changing a student’s life are those she remembers most fondly.
“Years ago I took several students to a competition in Illinois for Business Professionals of America. Some of them had never been on a plane. When the plane took off, one of the students had to hold my hand because she was so nervous. That moment was unforgettable for me because I knew that would be one of the moments that would change her life.”
Being a department chair has given her the chance to oversee some changes happening within the program, including the transition to remote learning.
“We are moving into the future,” she said. “The world around us is constantly changing, and if we don’t move on that, we risk becoming obsolete. The Business Management Technology program is evolving and is now 100 percent online, which allows us to serve the entire state of Texas.”
The program offers a hands-on approach to learning the skills required to help keep a business running.
One of Mata’s colleagues at TSTC, Edna Claus, said that graduates of the program are beneficial to all areas of the business community.
“Regardless of the type of business, they all need to have a business manager or supervisor who understands how to use the latest software and can understand the basics of accounting and marketing strategies to assist in making their organization a success,” Claus said. “Whether a student wants to work for an organization or start a business of their own, the skills that they will gain in our program will assist them in becoming a valued employee.”
In addition to Mata’s focus on keeping the Business Management Technology program thriving, she is thankful for what her time at TSTC has taught her not only about her role in education, but also about herself.
“TSTC has made me a better me,” she said. “My time here has allowed me to understand people better, how to continually treat people with respect and integrity.”