(HARLINGEN, Texas) – After having spent nearly two decades working in the Texas government, Maricela De Leon joined Texas State Technical College in February to serve as its regional executive director of Government Affairs.
De Leon said that education is something she has always fought for, not only in her career, but also in her personal life. She knows these experiences will bring much to the table through her journey at TSTC.
“I have always been a proponent of education,” she said. “I hope to bring my leadership and go-getter attitude with me to my new position.”
Growing up in the underserved community of San Carlos is what motivated De Leon to continue her education, and it is what propelled her to continue fighting for others who have grown up in similar circumstances.
“Sometimes there are communities that are left behind,” she said. “I know what it’s like to be invited last to the party, and I want to make sure that I give back. Coming from a challenging background should not be the single most reason why you do not want to seek higher education. I want to be the advocate for those students.”
While De Leon wants to be a fighter for others, it was her family that inspired her. Her parents have always instilled in her the importance of an education, and her older brother, who left home at 18 to attend college in Dallas, reinforced it through his own experience.
“My brother would write to me and say that education was my key to everything,” she said. “My education, along with my career experiences, have led me to where I am today.”
De Leon also dedicates herself to her nonprofit, Just Kauz It’s Right, which she started in 2009. The organization gives school supplies to students across the Rio Grande Valley and in Mexico.
“When you plant that seed about a desire to learn more, it really does stick with young students,” she said.
Ultimately one of De Leon’s callings is to continue planting that seed in the minds of young people so that they too can experience the difference that an education can make.
“Students develop the life that they are going to live,” she said. “I would tell any student to continue to develop their mind because it is invaluable. Take the leap and keep charging forward.”
During the month of March, TSTC wants to honor women in history and right on our campuses who work to make strides in STEM fields every day. #tstchonors
To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.