Associate degrees were key into health care field and top universities

Ingrid Treybig is doing what she loves, taking care of young patients as a cardiology nurse at Texas Children's Hospital. At the same time, her daughters, Whitney and Taylor Treybig, are studying at Texas A&M University and the University of Houston-Clear Lake, both with a San Jacinto College associate degree in hand, just like their mother.

"When my daughters were in high school, I talked with them about their plans for college," said Ingrid Treybig. "My husband and I liked the idea of them going to San Jacinto College first and getting their associate degree before attending a university."

When Ingrid Treybig decided to become a nurse, she already held a bachelor's degree in graphic design from St. Lucas University College of Art & Design, Antwerp, Belgium. As a mother of three, she said she wanted a quick and flexible way to train into the health care workforce. After two years at San Jacinto College, she graduated in 2001 with her associate degree in nursing and began working as a nurse for Texas Children's Hospital that same year.

"I felt really prepared when training to become nurse," said Ingrid Treybig. "I received a lot of mentoring from many of my professors, like Professor Veronica Jammer and Professor Lillian Garcia-Maas, and I did my clinicals at the medical center, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, Hermann Memorial, and Texas Children's Hospital."

When it was time for two of her daughters to attend college, she and her husband, John, encouraged them to first attend San Jacinto College for their associate degrees. However, Whitney and Taylor Treybig decided to attend a community college away from home in hopes of transferring into the university of their choice.

In 2012, the sisters had a change of heart and moved back home to attend San Jacinto College. They found mentors and free student services on their campus. They participated in service learning projects and found they had a knack for some of the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

"The professors were really helpful, and Dr. Ann Cartwright was one of the best professors I ever had," said Taylor Treybig. "She made me love and enjoy chemistry with her personality and humor. "I also took advantage of the free student services like the math lab, and I really liked the student center. It gave me a place to relax and study."

Whitney Treybig also visited the math lab and noticed an improvement in her algebra class. She consulted with Educational Planning and Counseling to find which careers were right for her.

"The counselors really guided me into which classes to take,” said Whitney Treybig. "I found that the transfer plans were pretty easy to follow.”

During the Spring and Summer of 2014, the Treybig sisters received news of their acceptance into their desired universities. Taylor Treybig now attends Texas A&M University to pursue a bachelor's degree in business, and Whitney Treybig attends the University of Houston-Clear Lake to pursue a bachelor's degree in environmental management.

"I thought coming out of high school that I was ready for a university," said Taylor Treybig. "I realized that I rushed into my decision. Earning my associate degree allowed me to receive a solid foundation for a university. Yes, the classes were smaller at the College, but the homework load was the same as what I'm getting at Texas A&M."

Whitney and Taylor Treybig now follow in their mother's footsteps, passing along information learned from their own experiences in getting to where they want to go.

"I tell all of the high school students to go to San Jacinto College first because all of the classes are the same, and you save so much money for when you do attend a university," said Whitney Treybig. "People think community college is easy. It is not. The professors know you're going to transfer, and they make sure you are prepared."

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. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.