Los Fresnos News

New Congresswoman Credits STC with Her Success

Mayra Flores, STC alumna, is the newly sworn in Congresswoman for District 34 in Deep South Texas

By Amanda Sotelo
(McAllen, TEXAS) – Newly sworn in congresswoman and South Texas College alumna Mayra Flores recently made history for becoming the first Mexican-born woman to win a congressional seat and the first Republican in more than 150 years to represent the people of District 34 across deep South Texas.

Flores, who earned an associate degree from STC’s Respiratory Therapy program in 2014 and a bachelor’s degree from the college’s Organizational Leadership program in 2019, said had it not been for her journey at STC, she would have never discovered her interest in politics.

“STC really shaped who I am,” said the first-generation college graduate. “STC is where my interest in politics started. If not for a huge setback during my time in the respiratory program, I may not be where I am today.”

After barely missing the passing threshold by one point to continue in the respiratory program, she used it to her advantage to complete her academic core, enrolling in her first government class.

“This moment in my life; this government class, is where I was meant to be,” she said. “This was a defining moment. It all makes sense now. Without this class I wouldn’t have found my love for government or politics.”

She added that every instructor and professor, from those in the respiratory program and academic programs to organizational leadership, inspired her to set high standards, meet those standards and aim for her goals.

“Everyone had different teaching styles, some were even extra strict, but all inspired me, motivated me and impacted who I am. They made me want to be better,” she said.

STC Organizational Leadership Instructor Emma Miller said Flores’ success clearly shows that a bachelor’s degree from STC can help a person achieve their dreams and full potential.

“Mayra, while in my capstone courses, spoke to me about her passion for serving her community and how she truly enjoys politics,” said Miller. “I knew that one day she would make her dreams come true.”

Ali Esmaeili, STC dean of Math, Science, Information Technology and Bachelor’s Degree programs, shares Miller’s sentiment and said STC is preparing the next generation of leaders.

Mayra Flores graduated with an associate degree from STC’s Respiratory Therapy program in 2014 and a bachelor’s degree from the college’s Organizational Leadership program in 2019.

“Bachelor’s degree programs at South Texas College provide quality instruction for preparing well-rounded and well-prepared 21st century leaders,” said Esmaeili. “Mayra is a great example of such leaders.”

Flores, 36, who was born in Burgos, Tamaulipas, Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was only six years old, said she has achieved the ‘American Dream,’ by becoming a U.S. citizen at 14 and now an elected official.

Her journey to this dream began at 13, when she began harvesting cotton with her parents in the Panhandle town of Memphis to pay for her own school supplies and clothes.

Years later, Flores is now a respiratory therapist, who worked the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic rehabilitating elderly who were recovering from the virus and a newly-elected congresswoman for District 34.

She will serve out the remainder of former Congressman Filemon Vela’s term through January 2023. Her seat will be up for reelection in November.

“Nothing is impossible when you work hard. I ran because I wanted to give back to this amazing country and community that’s given me so much,” said Flores. “I’m a proud STC alumna and a huge advocate of community colleges and the value of education they provide our communities.”

To learn more or to register in one of STC’s five bachelor’s degree programs, visit southtexascollege.edu or call 1-855-GoToSTC.