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Pharmacy Tech Student Finds Her True Passion

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Karina Gonzalez believed her journey as a student was over after many years of searching for her true passion, but South Texas College helped her find a place where she belonged through the Pharmacy Technology program. STC Image
Karina Gonzalez believed her journey as a student was over after many years of searching for her true passion, but South Texas College helped her find a place where she belonged through the Pharmacy Technology program. STC Image

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Karina Gonzalez believed her journey as a student was over after many years of searching for her true passion, but South Texas College helped her find a place where she belonged through the Pharmacy Technology program, and now she’s getting ready to graduate as one of the program’s top students.

“There was a point in my life where I believed school wasn’t for me and I just focused on a full-time job. I didn’t feel the drive to want to continue,” Gonzalez shared. “My brother was studying chemistry at STC and suggested the pharmacy program, that’s when I found my place.” 

Born in McAllen to immigrant parents, the 28-year-old takes pride in being a successful full-time student and a dependable employee. 

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“In a perfect world you could dedicate all your time to your education, but when expenses come up holding down a job is necessary. I want to show future students that it is possible; it’s all about time management. STC instructors have been very understanding and have helped me succeed.”

Gonzalez currently works in a rehabilitation center and in the past has been part of a migrant tutoring program, showing from early on, that she wanted to dedicate her life to giving back to the community.

Gonzalez was accepted into the Pharmacy Technology program in 2021 and now expects to graduate this May.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field, and I looked into nursing, but it just wasn’t for me. I love this program that I have found; there’s so much to learn,” she said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that the prescribed medications go to the right person, one mistake could be fatal so we have to be very careful. Sometimes even one milliliter can make a terrible difference, especially in children.”

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Gonzalez said she has a passion for learning; which in the pharmacy world comes in handy because there is always something to research such as new regulations, laws or recalled medicine.

“We also have to know about insurance and programs that can help the patient, we can guide them to help them pay less if we’re informed enough,” she shared. “There’s so much more than just being behind a counter counting tablets, there are systems in place and programs we keep track of.”

Pharmacy Technology Instructor Roger Rodriguez commented on the recent changes that the profession has seen as a result of the pandemic; technicians were asked to participate in more important tasks and get certified to administer vaccines, a skill that is also taught to STC students as part of the program.

“We need technicians like her that are always asking why and looking for clarification, that’s what makes her excel in our program. Future technicians need to be more involved with patient care, we need them to want to learn and take the lead to pass that information on,” he said.

Gonzalez expressed her gratitude to STC’s instructors for helping her feel more than prepared to enter the field and also gave recognition to all of the resources students have at their fingertips.

“I can confirm, especially because I’ve seen it in other programs as well, that STC overprepares us so when we graduate, we are ready to encounter everything our jobs throw at us.”

The Nursing and Allied Health campus has a hospital and community pharmacy simulator facility, fully equipped with imitation medicine that helps the students practice handling medication safely.

“We practice with all kinds of medication, from over-the-counter to cancer. Everything has to be separate and have its own storage place, there’s even some medicine that needs to be protected from light to remain stable,” Gonzalez said. “We must know how long everything needs to be stored for and when it’s no longer good. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Gonzalez said she will continue to advocate for education and learning and encourages always asking questions. She’s grateful to have found a team and mentors at STC and hopes to continue her education. 

For more information about Pharmacy Technology program visit https://nah.southtexascollege.edu/

or call 956-872-3100. 

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