Weatherman boosted by degrees
Jose M. Garcia Jr.
Occupation: Meteorologist in charge - National Weather Service's Amarillo office.
Where did you receive your education?
David Crockett High School in Austin; bachelor's degree in engineering science, University of Texas at Austin; master's degree in public administration, Texas A&M University at College Station.
How has your education played a role in your life today?
My undergraduate degree earned me an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream of becoming a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. A graduate degree in public administration provided me an opportunity to move into a leadership position. Education does not stop with formal schooling. Every week I strive to learn more about the science of meteorology.
What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
I was the first in my family to attend college and receive a degree. Everything I encountered in pursuing higher education was a first for me and I had to learn everything on my own. I was able to overcome the challenge with the support of my family and school friends. It was also a challenge to pursue an advanced degree while juggling a full-time work schedule. I overcame the challenge with the support of my wife, an understanding supervisor and work mates who supported my efforts.
What is the value of your education?
I think the greatest value is to set an example for my children and help them understand why education and lifelong learning is so important.
What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
Strive to be the best at whatever you do. In doing so, you will be constantly learning. I know individuals who are successful and don't have undergraduate or graduate degrees. However, they did not reach success and do not maintain it without continued learning and education.
When did you make education a priority?
For me, education was a priority from my first day in kindergarten. My parents always reinforced that they wanted their children to be successful and have a better life and more opportunities than they had encountered.
What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
My early educational years were spent in the barrio of San Antonio. While my father was serving our country, I spent many years living with my mother and grandparents in an area where poverty and dropout rates were quite high. Seeing these conditions firsthand made a huge impact on my life
Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
I have never considered quitting, and that's probably why I'm still learning.