HARLINGEN — Sustenance.
Sustainability, resourcefulness and empowerment.
Such is the mettle demonstrated by two Harlingen residents who graduated Saturday from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in the Spring Class of 2021.
The ceremonies at both the Brownsville and Edinburg campus were the first in-person commencements since the pandemic. More than 3,000 students received their degrees Friday and Saturday.
Javier Camacho has been concerned about sustaining people’s ability to eat safe and healthy foods, so he received his bachelor of science in sustainable agriculture and food systems.
“Sustainable agriculture, it’s mainly pretty much what it says,” said Camacho, 33. He’s one of only three students who graduated in his field; they are the first to earn the degree at UTRGV.
“It’s trying to plan ways especially down here in the Rio Grande Valley to have better practices for our agriculture. We’re concerned about how to make it more sustainable so we don’t use up so many resources or better practices such as water irrigation.”
Bianca Escobar has been concerned throughout her life with helping people sustain their emotional health through different circumstances. That’s why she graduated Saturday with a master’s in social work.
“It feels really good,” said Escobar. “This has been one of my goals, to continue my education and to get my master’s, so being able to graduate is an awesome feeling.”
She realized while working with foster children and families for 13 years that she wanted to do more, and so she did.
“Helping people, it’s just an awesome satisfaction you get when you’re working with families and their kids to meet their goals or whatever they need, so I knew that social work was for me,” she said.
It bears noting that two of her siblings are social workers and her brother is a psychiatric nurse — and her father, Romeo Escobar, is an assistant professor of social work at UTRGV.
“By profession I’m a social worker but presently I’m a faculty member at the School of Social Work at UTRGV,” said the elder Escobar.
“I have a clinical practice in Harlingen,” he said. “It’s part time now because of my obligation as a faculty member. I provide mental health services to children, adolescents, adults and elderly. I’m very proud of Bianca.”
Check out other UTRGV in-person commencement stories from this weekend.