My name is Lourdes Ornelas, and after working more than 28 years for the Illinois Department of Public Aid, I retired, relocated to Laredo, Texas and enrolled in the Masters in School-Counseling Program in January 2014. My passion and lifelong dream was to pursue a career where I can assist people struggling with career, social and emotional issues. I met with Dr. Dinkel, Associate Professor of Counselor Education, and Program Coordinator here at Texas A&M International University, to discuss my goals. I was absolutely inspired by how passionate Dr. Dinkel was about producing culturally competent School Counselors and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) to serve the City of Laredo. I immediately realized that I wanted to be part of this vision. The school-counseling program offered the two tracks and I could qualify to become a professional school counselor or LPCs, concurrently.
Under Dr. Dinkel's tutelage, every step of the program was an amazing experience. The dedication, empathy, and unconditional positive regard she demonstrated for each student, motivated us to thrive and become better people, both personally and professionally. I graduated with a Masters in School Counseling in May 2016 and became the first graduate student to pursue the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) track. I successfully passed the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and the Texas Jurisprudence in November 2016. I have been offered a postgraduate position as an LPC- Intern in a non-profit organization in the community. This would not have been possible without the mentoring and support of Dr. Dinkel.