Catalina Garcia

Dr. Catalina E. Garcia


Trustee, Dallas College District 1

Catalina, front, and her little sister Anna Maria and their mother

in El Paso.

Dr. Garcia

My parents, who were brought to the USA as children, believed that education was the means for securing a good job. A graduate of a technical high school, my father was a vehicle mechanic, for everything from autos to tanks. Although she only completed fourth grade before having to work in the family laundry business, my mother was able to pass the court’s exam and work as a court clerk! Since both were essentially self-educated, they became highly aware of how necessary higher education was becoming for their children to achieve – certification or a degree would be the keys to their success.

Catalina rides on the shoulders of her father, who worked at the nearby Fort Bliss.

For me, finishing school was hard work, especially along with having a job as I did. Yet, realizing my dream of becoming a doctor required that much investment of my time and effort. What could be better than leading a life of one’s own choosing? Achieving the job or career of your dreams is a gift you give yourself. Your education can never be taken away from you; moreover, it gives you the option of changing employers, moving up into managerial level positions and not staying at an entry level job.

Catalina (right) and a friend as students at UTEP.
Dr. Catalina with her grandmother and mother on graduation day at UT Southwestern Medical School.

Adversity and setbacks, however, are painful lessons. Since I had never lived away from my family, my church, or my hometown of El Paso, I had a difficult time adjusting and staying on track with my medical school studies and left after two years. But being out of school that following year made me determined to do whatever it took to become a “doc.” Fortunately, I was able to convince the medical school administration to give me a second chance. We have a lot of people in Dallas County who need that first and even second chance to get the education they need to improve the future for themselves, their families and Dallas area employers. Dallas College can provide that opportunity.