EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With Winter Graduation season underway, more than 3,000 El Paso Community College (EPCC) students are giving themselves the ultimate gift – something that will improve their lives and the lives of their family – a college degree.

One of these graduates is Mariana Prieto Caballero, who is completing her associate degree in Accounting, Business and Economics and credits El Paso Community College (EPCC) with giving her the confidence and ability to achieve any dream she wants to accomplish.

Mariana explains, “I sincerely believe that EPCC has changed my life. I feel like a much more prepared person than I felt two years ago, and not only in the academic field but also in general. I am very grateful to my professors, advisors, classmates and the entire EPCC community with whom I had the pleasure of interacting.”

Mariana grew up in Ricardo Flores Magon, a small town in Chihuahua, Mexico. When she was in high school, her family moved to Ciudad Juarez so that she could receive a better education. Once she finished high school, Mariana was granted a student Visa to take intensive English courses at EPCC. After completing those courses, she continued her journey at EPCC by earning her associate degree.

EPCC has taught Mariana to believe in herself. “No matter how difficult things are, goals can be achieved with effort. Also, any dream can come true if you really put your mind to it.”

One particularly meaningful experience for Mariana was participating in the Service Learning Program while enrolled in an English course with Professor Margie Nelson Rodriguez. This program provides academic credit for service work in the community, and through it, Mariana volunteered at the El Paso Zoo.

Professor Nelson Rodriguez explains the benefits of Service Learning to students, “Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on, professional skills in many different sectors, and they have memorable experiences to carry on with them in their next chapters.”

That’s definitely the case for Mariana, who plans to continue her studies with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from The University of Texas at El Paso.

“EPCC helped me a lot in my personal growth, developing myself as a person and in the academic field. I felt welcomed by the school community, and I am happy that I completed my associate degree here. I am entirely grateful for the people who witnessed this progress.”

Mariana Prieto Caballero

The graduates will celebrate their accomplishments at in-person Commencement exercises this Friday, December 10, at 2:00 p.m. for students receiving degrees in Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science and Certificates of Completion and at 6:00 p.m. for students receiving degrees in Associate of Arts and Associate of Arts-Teaching.

Students who are eligible for graduation after either the Summer or Fall 2021 semesters will participate.

Graduates who were part of the Spring and Fall Classes of 2020 and Spring 2021 virtual graduations are also invited to attend the two live ceremonies. To view the celebration online, visit the EPCC website.

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