Mastering a tough course in science or math is no problem for Texarkana College’s STEM Club president, Tara Hindi. But that has not always been the case- since she never went to high school. Hindi says finding out about the student success and support services available at TC changed her life and helped her have hope for a career in the future.
“As a kid, I was always that person asking about how things worked,” said Hindi. “I wanted to know all I could about nature, the human body and physics. But I wasn’t raised in an environment that believed women needed an education.”
Although the odds were stacked against her, Hindi began the GED program in 2002 with her goal to earn her high school degree equivalency.
“I had a lot of people questioning me as to why I needed to go to school,” Hindi said. “However, my grandpa helped me through it and supported me all the way. At the end, though, I still wanted more. I wanted to go to college.”
In 2016, Hindi applied for admissions into TC by submitting her transcript from her GED program and taking the required Texas Success Initiative (TSI) placement exam.
“I failed the math part of the exam and had to start with college readiness courses before I could begin taking college-level classes for credit,” said Hindi. “Although I had earned my GED, I still needed a lot of help in math and science. TC professors helped me every step of the way and opened up a whole new level of understanding for me.”
Hindi said she built extra confidence in her knowledge of tough subjects like math and science by getting involved with the TC STEM Club. She found that club activities were designed to help students succeed in class by providing fun and enriching activities that provide a little “extra” knowledge to help students master skills.
“The classes were hard and I remember saying to myself, ‘If I can just pass this class, then I will be ok,’” said Hindi. “But my TC professors had a different idea in mind for me, they wanted me to do more than just pass– they wanted me to grow and succeed. I had never had anyone in my life encourage me this way. Their belief in my success changed my life. I ended up passing College Algebra and Trigonometry with a 100% average!”
Hindi will graduate in Spring 2020 with her second associate degree. Last year she earned her degree from TC in biology and is now pursuing her degree in chemistry. She plans to transfer to Texas A&M University-Texarkana in Fall 2020 to pursue her bachelor and master’s degrees with the goal of becoming a college professor.
“More than anything else, the teachers at TC have invested in me and changed the direction of my life,” said Hindi. “I have three children of my own and I know the importance of education in a child’s life. I want to share my love for knowledge with others and encourage them the way I have been encouraged here at TC.”
In addition to her role as STEM Club president, Hindi serves as a tutor for TC students enrolled in biology, anatomy & physiology, and physics, and helps with the college’s co-ed STEM Exploring Post sponsored by the Learning for Life program of the Caddo Area Boy Scouts Council. The program is designed for high school students interested in pursuing degrees in STEM fields to interact with other students in the area with similar interests. TC STEM Club student volunteers help facilitate the program.
“There are so many ways high school students can get involved with STEM activities that can help shape their future,” said Hindi. “One way is by participating in TC’s STEM Exploring Post. This program is designed to help high school students build their resume for college entrance with hands-on experience of ecosystem monitoring, advanced water chemistry testing, and certification by the Texas Stream Team project to conduct water quality monitoring for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All students have to do to get involved is contact TC’s STEM Division for more information.”
Hindi also said students can volunteer to participate in community events like the city-wide rummage sale and electronic and technology recycling event scheduled for Saturday, October 26th at Spring Lake Park.
“STEM Club students will be on sight during the recycling event to help people carry old computers and equipment to the booth for proper disposal,” said Hindi. “It is important for people to dispose of electronics the proper way to ensure toxic chemicals don’t pollute the environment. You can’t just throw electronic devices away- they must be disposed of properly.”
More information about TC’s student success services, degree programs, and student clubs can be found online at www.texarkanacollege.edu. Campus tours are available by appointment by calling 903-823-3012.