She attributes the help she has received and time she has spent at TSTC as giving her the confidence she needed to compete in the Miss Texas Latina beauty pageant.
(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Daniella Mendez can often be found after hours, or on her days off from school, working on projects in the Welding Technology lab at Texas State Technical College’s Fort Bend County campus.
But this TSTC student wears more than just a welding helmet: Mendez happens to be the reigning Miss Rosenberg Latina. She will compete next month in the Miss Texas Latina pageant.
She describes her motivation to become “an irreplaceable welder” as coming from the example her parents set.
“My parents have both worked two jobs their whole lives to support their four kids,” Mendez said. “I didn’t understand growing up just how much they did to help us and themselves. And they are still there for us. That’s why I try to work hard and do my best.”
Born in California, Mendez moved with her family to Rosenberg at age 3 when her dad found higher-paying work as a welder in the area. Throughout her life, she has tried to be involved in her community and with her peers. In high school she was a part of the soccer team, student council, band and more.
One area that she participated in was welding, being inspired in part by her father. While she knew she liked it, it wasn’t her initial plan for after high school. Her mother encouraged her to do what she wanted, and she ended up receiving a scholarship to play soccer at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.
Mendez’s plans changed before she was able to attend, however, due to a foot injury.
“Going from planning to play soccer to not knowing what to do was hard,” Mendez said. “I did know I really liked welding, so I decided I wanted to try it. I knew that I had so much time to choose something else if I had to. It has been the best choice I ever made.”
Mendez is now in her third semester in the Welding Technology program at TSTC. She plans to graduate with her certificate of completion in Welding Advanced Pipe Specialization.
It was during her time at TSTC that she was contacted by representatives from the Miss Texas Latina competition.
“I had just posted a welding photo on my Instagram,” Mendez said. “A day later the representatives for Miss Texas Latina messaged me. I thought it was a scam, honestly, but I have a friend who had done it in the past and told me it was real.”
While Mendez was a little hesitant at first to enter the contest, she ended up deciding to try. She attributes the help she has received and time she has spent at TSTC as giving her the confidence she needed. She hopes that in participating she can be an inspiration to others.
“I’ve always wanted to try and reach people,” she said. “I feel like that’s my calling. I want to make sure other people have what they need and inspire people. I wanted to be some kind of motivation for them.”
TSTC offers Welding Technology at all 10 of its campuses. An Associate of Applied Science degree and several certificates of completion in various specializations are available, depending on campus location.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation. For more information, visit tstc.edu/mbg.
For more information about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.