TTUHSC Student Appointed to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Governor Greg Abbott recently appointed Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) student Christina Delgado, to serve as the student representative for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). She will represent students from across the state.

Delgado, a TTUHSC Student Government Association senator, is pursuing a master’s degree in speech pathology from the TTUHSC School of Allied Health Sciences. She received a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from North Greenville University and a master’s degree in biblical studies from the Dallas Theological Seminary.

“When I was serving as a student senator in SGA last year fall, Mike Russell, our vice president at the time, announced that applications were open for this and encouraged us to apply,” Delgado said. “I applied in December and then in June they called me for an interview. I didn’t think they would pick me, but I received a call later that the governor had chosen me for the position. I was very surprised and extremely humbled. Something I definitely was not expecting. But I am thrilled that I have this opportunity.”

Delgado, who is in her second-year at TTUHSC, was born and raised in San Antonio and when her family moved, attended high school in Florida. Later as an undergraduate she knew she wanted to find a way to bring together her two loves, her faith and empowering people to communicate.

“I knew working in the ministry would be a tough way to make a living, but the experiences I had serving people in so many places was inspiring,” Delgado said. “I wanted to find a way to do both, work in a health care profession and use it to serve the church.”

Delgado first completed her leveling classes at Abilene Christian University before deciding to attend TTUHSC to work on her master’s degree.

“At most schools, speech pathology programs are separate from other programs, almost like their own little islands,” Delgado said. “I loved that at TTUHSC the emphasis is on the importance of interprofessionalism, collaborating with other students outside of my field of study and preparing me to work with other health care professions once I start working. That really drew me here.”

Delgado’s desire to work with others from different backgrounds may also come from her experiences in numerous countries around the world. She has taught English in Russia and in China; completed relief work in Africa and Mexico and studied abroad in Central America.

“Those experiences definitely gave me a much boarder perspective about other people, countries and cultures,” Delgado said. “Multicultural environments make me sensitive to issues and where others may be coming from. In my field, I also may have children from other cultures, and I will be able to help identify with them.”

Delgado said she has dabbled in learning many languages like Chinese, SiSwati and Kuna. She had opportunities to travel to other countries like Swaziland, sleep in hammocks in Panama and live in a poor farming community in Nicaragua.

“Being from San Antonio, I had never seen snow,” Delgado said. “One of my favorite memories from Russia was seeing snow for the first time. I had a snow ball fight at the Gulf of Finland with the kids.”

Delgado said she has always learned about the importance of giving back. She remembered while in Swaziland, she and her group went on side of mountain to minister to people in the huts. She didn’t expect for even her favorite pair of tennis shoes to be a key in her developing understanding for other cultures.

“I kept hearing God leading me to put the shoes in the offerings during the service,” Delgado said. “There when the church has offerings people give the fruits of the produce or from their trade. Whoever was in need would take something they would need. It hurt to put my shoes in, but one of the ladies picked them up.”

Years later, Delgado was told by one of the ladies visiting the states that the tennis shoes were taken that day by the evangelist of the church. She would minister to the people in the mountains and had to stop because the land was too rough on her bare feet. She was able to resume her ministry when she received the tennis shoes.

“Those life experiences are very life changing,” Delgado said. “I don’t know how my future will all play out. I chose to do speech pathology because it is in demand everywhere. If I am called abroad, I will be able to minister physically and spiritually.”

Last month, she went to Austin and completed her orientation as well as met with all of the key staff members of the board. Staff members explained their role for her to better understand the organization. Delgado also attended her first committee meeting.

She went on to witness the signing of a historic strategic THECB plan, 60x30TX.
According to their website, the THECB's mission is to promote access, affordability, quality, success and cost efficiency in the state's institutions of higher education, resulting in a globally competent workforce that positions Texas as an international leader in an increasingly complex world economy.

Under this new Texas Higher Education strategic plan, 60 percent of “Generation Texas” will have a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030. The hope is that students from all backgrounds, including those traditionally underrepresented, will accomplish this and add to the workforce in large numbers as well as help Texas compete globally. The plan stresses that if this is not met, a lower percentage of educated Texans equals lower incomes and a decline in the economic future of Texas.

In the application process, one of the issues of concern in higher education Delgado felt strongly about is limited space in academics for all health professions.

“In my field, we have quite a few people in undergraduate programs, but they cannot practice if they don’t have a master’s degree,” Delgado said. “Limited spaces are a huge problem, and also it is expensive to get to graduate school. This not just an issue with my field but many health care professions.”

Delgado’s role in this new student position will be to participate in all THECB and committee meetings. As the student representative, she is free to ask questions and speak on behalf of the students of Texas when they have concerns or questions about the decisions the board is making.

“It is truly a privilege to be included as part of the team with the board members,” Delgado said. “I look forward to partnering with such an incredible group of people to improve Texas education and make it available to all students, regardless of their background and culture.”

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