Tag: alumni relations

Alum discovers passion for art following advice from professor

by REBEKAH HARVEY

Many college students know what it is like to change their major.

For Catherine Argueta, changing her major was also part of her college experience.

Argueta was born and raised in Lubbock. She graduated from Lubbock High School in 2007.

After high school, Argueta decided to attend South Plains College, a decision she based on the smaller class sizes.

“Everything about SPC seemed like an easier transition from high school.” Argueta explained. “I absolutely loved being a Texan! All the professors were great. I especially loved my Art professors, which is why I ended up changing my major to Art.”

Argueta came to SPC majoring in Biology, with a minor in Art, but soon realized she enjoyed her Art classes more than her Biology classes.

“Both were equally stressful,” said Argueta. “But I felt that I was more focused in my Art and Art History classes, therefore I was more successful.”

Argueta also knew she wanted to work with children. After talking to professor Allison Black, she learned about the Visual Studies program at Texas Tech University.

“She (Black) talked about how a teaching certificate in Art was a bit different than other subject areas,” explained Argueta, “and that once I received my certificate, I could teach any grade level I wanted. Once I heard that, I jumped on board and changed my major.”

After attending SPC, Argueta transferred to Texas Tech. Where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Studies with an emphasis in painting. She also received her teaching certificate so she could teach art.

“I love having the ability to showcase my students’ work,” said Argueta, who now teaches art at Cavazos Middle School in Lubbock. “We do lots of exhibits and competitions throughout the year, and now you can always find Cavazos artwork throughout our community, like the South Plains Fair, the Civic Center, the Arts Festival, et cetera…”

When she isn’t teaching art, Argueta spends most of her time with her kids, Catalina, 2 , and Jason, 8.

“I also think it is important to continue creating,” explained Argueta, “so I always make sure to do my own art, whether it’s a small five by five drawing or painting, or just doing the projects I assign to my students, whatever it is, as long as I keep my artistry going and growing.”

For anyone pursuing a similar path, Argueta advises others to “keep at it.”

“I think a lot of people have this misconception of what art school is about,” said Argueta, “like it’s easy. It isn’t. I spent countless nights studying or in a studio. It is definitely hard work, but you just have to keep going and doing what you feel is necessary.”

She also advises to be prepared for the emotions of teaching.

“I think this is what a lot of first-year teachers struggle with,” Argueta explained. “Kids can be difficult sometimes, but they are also so, so amazing.”

Despite the struggle at times, Argueta knows that what she is doing has impacted many students.

“It’s definitely worth it when a student tells you how much you’ve impacted their life,” said Argueta, “and how grateful they are to have you as their teacher.”

Alum expresses fondness for home away from home

From the beginning, Stephanie Smith always knew that South Plains College would be her home away from home.

Her journey began when she graduated from Levelland High School in 2009, and went on to attended South Plains College from Fall 2009 to Spring 2011. While she attended SPC, she started off as an English major and became a work-study student in the office of Marketing and Recruitment during her freshman and sophomore years.

While focusing on her studies, Smith had always found a way to be involved with campus activities and continued to encourage the people around her daily.

“I really want to drive in that I completely believe that SPC changes lives,” Smith said, “This is a place where students can develop into who they are meant to be.”

During her time at SPC, Smith was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, served as Terrible Tex, the mascot, and was a member of Campus Ambassadors. She also received the Lena Roettig English Scholarship Award, and participated in the Miss Caprock Scholarship Pageant.

Smith recalls that she spent many late nights studying at the Student Center with her brother, as well as playing ping pong in between classes for fun.

Smith graduated from SPC in May 2011 with her Associate of Science degree. She then continued her education at Texas Tech University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations in 2014.

Smith said that she considered working in non-profit PR during her senior year of college because she felt that is where she belonged and would have the strongest impact.

During that time, she called Myrna Whitehead, the media coordinator at SPC, looking for an internship to have some experience in that field. She would travel from Lubbock a few times a week to help around the office. She said that being a part of that internship has helped her strengthen the skills she needed as a writer.

While interning, Smith got word from other co-workers that they were starting up an Alumni Relations Office, and she knew where she was meant to be. “Prior to me working here, this office didn’t exist,” Smith said. “So, when I heard about it, I was excited, because SPC is so important to me and I love this place.”

Smith immediately made it known that she was interested in the job and began an intense interview process. She got the job and started working as the Alumni Coordinator at SPC in 2014.

Smith explained that what she loves most about SPC is that “the physical aspect of the campus may change; however, the culture here and the way that things [have always felt] like home, hasn’t changed.”

Smith also says that before being involved, she was very introverted. But once she began

working in the Marketing and Recruitment office, in addition to participating in other activities around campus, everything compiled together and Smith brought her out of her shell.

Throughout her time in high school and college, Smith discovered that she enjoyed photography as a hobby. In her free time, Smith ends up at different shows or gigs in support of her friends and significant other to take photos of their performances.

She also finds joy with writing in her spare time, even though she writes quite a bit as part of her job. She likes to write things such as helping with writing biographies and a little bit of poetry.

Smith also stays involved in the Levelland community as a member of a women’s service group, Marigolds of Levelland. The goal of this volunteer group is to ultimately serve the Levelland community.

Smith knows that with all the activities going on in her life, it is important to have a healthy balance between her job and things she enjoys doing for fun.

“I really do love this place,” Smith says. “It really is a second home to me, and it always will be. I’ve been really blessed in my career, and overall, working here has been really fun.”