Educational beginnings at branch campus culminate in bachelor’s degree from Midland CollegeJuly 31, 2018

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Geneva Duarte-Diaz

Geneva Duarte-Diaz describes The Williams Regional Technical Training Center (WRTTC), Midland College’s branch campus located in Fort Stockton as a “mini Midland College.”

“WRTTC is the best start for your education,” said Duarte-Diaz. “It is easier financially and you can take classes close to home. There are a lot of single parents, and this is the only way we can get our education because we work full time and we have families. The faculty and staff help take care of everything; they give you the same type of support and encouragement you find at the Midland College (MC) main campus or another University.”

Duarte-Diaz has taken classes at both the WRTTC and at the MC main campus. She received her Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science in Child Development from classes she took at the WRTTC as a single mother working both a full-time job and also a part-time job. She describes a typical class there:

“Students either had an instructor or a proctor,” explained Duarte-Diaz. “A proctor would turn on a TV and a camera so we could see the professor and classroom at Midland College,” said Duarte-Diaz. “The camera allowed the professor and students at Midland College to see us, interact with us and answer our questions in real time. It was like a video conference call. Plus, the instructor would plan visits to teach at Fort Stockton using all that technology in reverse for students back at Midland College.”

Later in life, Duarte-Diaz found herself following her daughters to Midland so she made them a deal.

“I told my daughters: I will not move unless I get a job at Midland College,” said Duarte-Diaz. “I applied for different positions and was lucky enough to become the clerk for the Aviation Maintenance Program. At that time my youngest was starting to take classes toward her bachelor’s degree with Sul Ross State University on the Midland College campus, and it got me thinking, ‘Maybe I should go back to school. So I thought, I’ll try it!’”

Duarte-Diaz earned her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Midland College.

“I am so appreciative that Midland College took that extra step to remain a community college that offers bachelor degrees,” said Duarte-Diaz. “It is proof, I am living proof, that Midland College is focused on education and the communities’ needs. I also have the communities of Fort Stockton and Midland to thank because they gave me many scholarship opportunities. If it were not for the Angelique Webb Harrill and Marian and Jan Jones scholarships that I received, I would not have been able to complete my bachelor’s degree. I am fortunate to have lived in these communities where the residents believe education is important.”

Duarte-Diaz’s most memorable accomplishments were being invited to join Sigma Kappa Delta, the English Honor Society; making the Dean’s and President’s lists and walking across the stage to receive her baccalaureate degree.

“My 12-year-old granddaughter and seven-year-old grandson thought it was funny that Granny was going to school,” said Duarte-Diaz. “It was a struggle, it did limit a lot of the stuff I could do with them because I was always doing homework or working full-time and part-time, but all along the way they were my support system. When I finished, they said, ‘Granny did it!’ Their reaction made me even more proud. I kept telling them, ‘If Granny can do it, you can too!’”

Duarte-Diaz has advice for anyone considering starting his or her education at any age.

“Take advantage of WRTTC and Midland College,” said Duarte-Diaz. “It is the best possible way to get your basics done and receive a degree. Take advantage of the small, welcoming community and built-in support system. Midland College is an awesome place to work and go to school. It is never too late to get an education; it does not matter how old you are. Do not be afraid. I consider myself a lifelong student; I wish Midland College would start offering master’s degrees!”

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