In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, San Jacinto College pharmacy technology instructor Mario Garcia believes that having diverse professionals in the healthcare industry will help build better communication and trust for patients and medical professionals. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing department.
San Jacinto College faculty spotlight on Mario Garcia: New generation of Hispanics and the value of education
Andrea Vasquez-- October 2, 2012
As the nation recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month, San Jacinto College is releasing a series of student and faculty achievement stories as a celebration of the culture and traditions of 52 million (U.S. Census Bureau) people in the United States whose heritage comes from Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
Q: What courses do you teach, and how long have you been with San Jacinto College?
A: I am the program director and teach courses in the pharmacy technology program. I have been teaching at San Jacinto College for five years now.
Q: How did you enter into the pharmaceutical industry?
A: Initially, I was trained as a pharmacy technician while serving in the U.S. Army from 1993 to 1998. From there, I was a senior pharmacy technician at Walgreens for two years, an IV pharmacy technician at MD Anderson for six months, and a field customer service representative with American Pharmaceutical Services (now Omnicare) for five years. My teaching career with San Jacinto College began when I applied and was hired to teach pharmacy technology here at the South Campus in the Fall of 2007.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching in the pharmacy technology program, and what do you tell your students they can expect after completing the program?
A: I think the most rewarding part of my job is seeing our students succeed with the program, finding employment, and continuing their education. I tell them that while it is a rewarding field, it also requires constant continuing education in order to adequately assist pharmacists in the workforce. We not only want to find our students a successful career path, but also fill the jobs in our community with well-qualified workers.
Q: As San Jacinto College continues to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, what opportunities do you see this younger generation of Hispanics taking advantage of that maybe some didn't before?
A: The younger generation has recognized the importance of a college education, and many are still the first in their family to attend college. Their success is an important achievement. You can literally see how proud the families are and what this achievement means to them by the growing numbers of attendees at our graduation ceremonies across the College each year. They know their career goals are much more attainable by earning their associate degrees or technical certifications, whether continuing on to four-year universities or entering the workforce.
Q: In your opinion, how can the local and national economies benefit by seeing more Hispanics enter the pharmaceutical technology field and medical field all together?
A: I feel that a greater Hispanic presence in the health science industry, including pharmacy technology, will help both local and national companies that are seeking to reach out to the Hispanic community. Bilingual employees provide valuable customer service when language barriers can prove to be intimidating, and sometimes life-threatening in emergency medical situations. Knowing that their questions will be understood and answered helps build the trust and confidence that these companies are seeking to develop and maintain by having bilingual staff on-hand.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.