Former GEAR UP Student Shares Struggles, Success

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WESLACO – A former GEAR UP student, with a passion for dancing, found her calling in the health sciences.

Veronica Mares worked in the fields growing up and had to play catch up when she went back to class. She knew she had to get an education.

GEAR UP gave her a chance to find out what career path she wanted to follow.

“As a middle school student I was invited to a job shadowing program where we took a little test and we were told what our strengths were and what our interests were and mine led me to speech pathology,” she said.

Mares said she sees patients that have had strokes that may have trouble speaking.

She loves her job. “Helping my patients makes me feel really happy. It makes me feel like my college education and all of the time that I put into it is totally worth it,” she said.

Mares graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She pointed out that the program helped her and guided her to find her purpose.

She wanted to share a message for other students who are growing up in similar situations like hers.

“Because of my education, I have a very different lifestyle from when I was a little kid. I don’t just go to work, I get to play too,” she said. 

Mares said getting through college wasn’t a walk in the park, but neither was picking fruits and vegetables for 10 hours a day.

She is now reaping the fruits of her labor.

“I have the luxury of owning my own vehicle and having clothes and pretty makeup and nice shoes,” she said.

Mares tells others to never give up.

“On those days where you’re thinking, I can’t really do this anymore, keep on trying by attending college. You open so many doors for yourself, just don’t let anything hold you back,” she said.

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