(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Navy veteran Ashley Flores knew that her career was not over after she concluded her time in the military. The Austin native received her Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology this summer, and she wants other veterans to know that they, too, can start a voyage in higher education.
Why did you decide to pursue surgical technology?
I thought it was fascinating to be able to assist in surgeries and save lives behind the scenes.
What was your experience like at TSTC?
My experience at TSTC was really great. The instructors in the program were wonderful. Mr. Sanchez, who is now retired, really impacted me in the program. I related to him a lot because he is also a veteran.
Do you have any favorite TSTC memories?
My favorite memory at TSTC is when my surgical tech classmates and my instructors had a Thanksgiving dinner at TSTC. We were like one big family. I will miss my instructors and classmates a lot, but I know they will be there when I need them, and they are just a phone call away.
What are your plans after TSTC?
I’ve recently been hired to work in the main operating room at DHR Health, where I am hoping to gain as much experience as I can. My goal is to grow in knowledge and reach the high bars I have set for myself.
What words of advice would you give to others who are about to start their educational journey at TSTC?
I would say that it is OK to start from scratch, not knowing what you want to do. Our paths change often until you find your way to your true journey. I’m a U.S. Navy veteran who was stationed in Japan for four years. When I got out of the military, I really didn’t know what to do. When I started college, I began to see that the military wasn’t the end of my journey and there was another chapter in my life to write. The advice I would like to give to my fellow veterans is not to let the hard days win. Only you can decide what breaks you. You have more courage than you know when you start your journey in higher education.
To learn about veteran services offered at TSTC, visit www.tstc.edu/veterans.