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STC Student Fulfills Childhood Dream of Studying Biology

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After years of working in different industries hoping to find a passion in the workforce, South Texas College student Jose Daniel Moralez III is finally living out his childhood dream of pursuing a biology degree. STC Image
After years of working in different industries hoping to find a passion in the workforce, South Texas College student Jose Daniel Moralez III is finally living out his childhood dream of pursuing a biology degree. STC Image
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By Sara Reyna

After years of working in different industries hoping to find a passion in the workforce, South Texas College student Jose Daniel Moralez III is finally living out his childhood dream of pursuing a Biology degree. 

Born in San Diego, California and raised in La Grulla, Texas, Moralez faced many challenges growing up in an underrepresented area of the RGV, but that never wavered his curiosity for science. 

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“When I was young, I had a big interest in science and it stemmed from having to get creative with ways I would entertain myself as a kid,” shared the 29-year-old. “I read a lot of books growing up, eventually I came across science books and immediately loved the illustrations of cells and organisms. Upon learning more about the subject, I became more curious with doing activities like science experiments, but we just didn’t have the resources to make it happen.”

Enduring many hardships during his formative years, including the loss of his father at the age of eight, Moralez pushed forward trying to make a living by working as a ranch hand and in the hospitality industry in hopes to save money to one day attain his personal goal of getting a college degree. 

Moralez embarked on his academic journey studying Biology at STC in 2016. Familial and financial circumstances hindered his ability to fully immerse himself in his studies, leaving him with the difficult decision of putting his dream on pause. 

“After working in hospitality, I decided to get into school to study Biology, but my financial situation took a toll on me which prompted me to remove myself from the program,” Moralez shared. “School was always in the back of my mind; however, I spent years trying out different jobs in hopes I would find something I was good at, eventually I looked out of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) for opportunities.”

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Moralez explained that it didn’t feel like the right time to pursue his degree. He decided to leave the RGV in pursuit of a career in Alaska at a fishery which lasted seven months because of the pandemic sweeping the globe.

“I didn’t feel ready for college when I decided to attend STC, it was incredibly difficult to find steady work when I left, so I decided to take an opportunity in Alaska at a fishery, but because of the pandemic and quarantine that was short-lived. I spent most of my time in quarantine, without work, alone and across the country,” Moralez said. 

Amidst this challenging time, Moralez found a deep sense of clarity in what he wanted to do, ultimately leading him back to the pursuit of a degree at STC. 

“When I moved back to the RGV, I decided it was finally time to invest in myself and disrupt my mundane routine. I had to push myself to pursue school despite my financial and transportation needs,” he said. “I started with a degree in Cybersecurity and while I was good at it, my curiosity for science was relentless so I switched my major to Biology and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Moralez expressed that the STC Biology program has reignited his passion for science. He says it was an opportunity to participate in an honors biology course that was confirmation he was doing the right thing. He’s been able to participate in rare studies of isolating viral species that attack bacteria. 

“Participating in this esteemed research course has felt surreal because I am stepping into this new chapter of my life at 29-years-old and in the process, it feels like I am living the dream of my inner child,” he shared. “I have done very well in my courses that I truly believe my love for the field of Biology will lead me down a road of endless possibilities.”

Moralez emphasized that with the resources available at STC like the Jag Express, financial aid and additional scholarship opportunities his dream of studying science full time has now become a reality. 

“Despite everything I’ve endured in my adolescence and all the years that have passed, my goal that once seemed unattainable has now become my reality because of the support I have received from faculty and staff in the Biology department and STC,” Moralez said. “I am able to attend every class because of the Jag Express that picks me up from Starr County to get me to the Pecan campus and I’ve been able to utilize the financial resources such as financial aid and a well-known scholarship from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).”

Dedicated to his goals, Moralez continues to excel in his courses and receive positive feedback from his instructors for his resilience and determination to earning his associate degree. 

“I am so grateful for this opportunity, it feels like I am at the right place at the right time,” he said. “Even though it’s taken me 29 years to get to where I am, I remain hopeful and determined that this is just the beginning of a bright future for me.”

For more information on STC’s Biology program, visit https://www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/biology/ or call 872-1994.

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