Author Archive

Graduate Spotlight: I Never Thought I Could Learn

By Jeff Sanchez | JUNE 1, 2022 You never know what you’re capable of until your back is against the wall. That’s what it took for Stephanie Berman to realize her full potential. In her thirties, Stephanie fled an abusive marriage with her life and her three children. Thrust into the role of sole provider, […]

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Graduate Spotlight: The Resilience To Keep Going

Pictured left: Estrella Saldana; top right: Estrella and her parents; bottom right: Estrella and her Career Navigator, Tonia Gooden By Jeff Sanchez | MAY 19, 2022 One of Estrella Saldana’s earliest memories is of bringing in groceries from the car. Her mom would place one small item in a grocery bag and let her drag […]

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Graduate Spotlight: My Destiny Was Forever Changed

APRIL 8, 2022 Below is a transcript of Gabrielle’s Aurora Alworth Award acceptance speech at the 2022 Celebration of Achievements held virtually on March 1, 2022. Watch the slide presentation and listen to her speech here: YouTube Event Recording » Good afternoon, friends: My name is Gabrielle Michelle Shepherd, and I am a Registered Nurse […]

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Graduate Spotlight: There’s Always a Way

Hammurabi (left) sits down with Capital IDEA alum Heriberto Gonzales (right). By Jeff Sanchez | MARCH 15, 2022 Hammurabi Bueno doesn’t like sitting still. Landing a desk job was never a dream of his. “I’m a person that likes to be hands-on and build things.” Of the many careers sponsored by Capital IDEA, power technology […]

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Graduate Spotlight: She’s Here To Help

“Capital IDEA makes individuals stronger so that they can do the work that makes our community stronger.” – Stephanie Mbulu By Jeff Sanchez | DECEMBER 7, 2021 From early on, Stephanie Mbulu had the heart to help others. “My mother would joke that I came out of the womb wanting to help people,” but it wasn’t until […]

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Graduate Spotlight: The Strength To Start Over

By Jeff Sanchez | NOVEMBER 3, 2021 It takes incredible strength to start over and build a new life. Khaibar Rahimy and his family emigrated from Afghanistan about four and a half years ago. In Afghanistan, he was a degreed professional, a civil engineer. His skills allowed him to work with the United States Army […]

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Support Spotlight: Career Placement

By Jeff Sanchez | OCTOBER 4, 2021 Support Spotlight Series In this final installment of the Support Spotlight Series, we feature the career placement services at Capital IDEA. Many of the adults who come through Capital IDEA have, at one point or another, had their doubts about getting a college education. It can feel risky […]

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Support Spotlight: Career Navigators

By Jeff Sanchez | SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 Support Spotlight Series For the second installment in our Support Spotlight Series, we are highlighting our Career Navigators. It is one of the most important and unique forms of support that a student receives in the Career Expressway program. Keep reading to learn more about the role the […]

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Graduate Spotlight: I Was Supported The Whole Way

By Jeff Sanchez | JULY 1, 2021 College isn’t for everybody, right? Some people should go, but others just aren’t cut out for it. That’s the conclusion Skyler Coffman arrived at when his first attempt at college didn’t pan out. But Skyler is now a college graduate with a great job. As a Senior Ops […]

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Top 5 Advanced Manufacturing Companies

By Jeff Sanchez | JUNE 10, 2021 Is getting a degree in Advanced Manufacturing (AM) worth the next two years of your life? The short answer is YES! Capital IDEA has done the research. Every degree program we sponsor has to meet several criteria before we can add them to the Career Expressway and offer […]

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Graduate Spotlight: Be Your Own Hero

MAY 27, 2021 Alumnus, Jason Lopez, shared the following remarks with Capital IDEA’s long-time supporter, the Sooch Foundation, during a virtual site visit on April 28, 2021. Jason was also featured in an episode of KLRU Austin PBS’s docu-series American Graduate: Getting To Work that aired in November 2019. Click here to watch »  Hello, […]

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Graduate Spotlight: His Next Big Goal

By Jeff Sanchez | APRIL 8, 2021 Alpha Diallo’s life has been shaped by goals. Some he set for himself and others his parents set for the family. When he was 13, Alpha’s parents emigrated with him and his siblings from Guinea West Africa to France. Their primary goal was to escape dangerous circumstances and […]

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Partner Spotlight: Our Nurses Aren’t Just Tired — They’re Exhausted

By Jeff Sanchez | FEBRUARY 3, 2021 “There’s a real problem here. Why aren’t we solving it?” When she agreed to take on the project, research fellow Sherry Sybesma had no idea there was a problem at all. But after a year spent digging into the complex issues surrounding our region’s nursing shortage, she couldn’t […]

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Graduate Spotlight: One Family, Three Degrees and Counting

By Jeff Sanchez | DECEMBER 9, 2020 When Juana Patino decided to go to college, she had no idea the kind of ripple effect it would have on her family. As of this post, three of the Patino siblings, Juana, Araceli, and Maria Laura, have all graduated from college with degrees in healthcare and IT. […]

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Graduate Spotlight: I Was Called To This

By Jeff Sanchez | NOVEMBER 12, 2020 Vision. Perseverance. Support. For Shirlet Oriakhi, these were the things that helped her achieve great things in her life. Inspired by her mother who had a gift for passing on wisdom and knowledge, Shirlet, from an early age, cultivated a vision for herself that included helping others through […]

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Graduate Spotlight: From Struggling Student To Professor

By Jeff Sanchez | OCTOBER 29, 2020 “The only limits are the ones I create in my mind.” Teresa Garza proclaims these words as she remembers the long journey that brought her to where she is today. From academic probation to a college professor, she never imagined her career would lead her to academics. “I […]

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Graduate Spotlight: Nursing Shoes Are A Big Deal

By Jeff Sanchez | OCTOBER 14, 2020 The start of the 2020-21 school year is unlike anything we could have imagined. The classroom has been replaced by a computer screen, and schools are faced with new challenges as they try to create the best learning environment for their students. For teachers like Lori Lucas, adapting […]

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Partner Spotlight: Seeds of Strength

By Jeff Sanchez | AUGUST 13, 2020 “Women coming together to make a difference.” This statement sits atop the Seeds of Strength (SoS) website, a giving circle based in Georgetown, Texas. It is a strong statement that perfectly describes the core of who SoS is, and what they’re all about. This group of women, ranging […]

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Graduate Spotlight: She Just Needed An Opportunity

By Jeff Sanchez | JUNE 22, 2020 Tania Santiago-Kelly will do whatever it takes, going to extraordinary lengths to reach her goals and provide for her family. Over 14 years ago, Tania was living in Mexico with her son. In order to make ends meet, she worked three jobs. One of which paid her five […]

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A Letter From Our Leaders

JUNE 5, 2020 The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Ramos, and so many, many others confront us forcefully and inescapably with the violent racism endured by our Black neighbors, colleagues, students, friends, and family. We must not forget. It demands that we listen deeply and attentively. We must act. We, as individuals and […]

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