The Hon. Sylvia Garcia
When Sylvia Garcia was recognized as a TWU Distinguished Alumna in1994, she was an attorney serving as Director and Presiding Judge of the City of Houston Municipal Courts. Her career path has taken her from there to county public office and now to Austin where she has been appointed to fill the State Senator term for District 6, an area encompassing parts of Houston and as far south as Galveston. Senator Garcia remembers her time at TWU and the impact her education had on her distinguished career.
TWU Alumni Connection: How did you come to enroll at TWU? My family chose TWU because two aunts from both sides of my family- Consuelo Rodriguez and Armandina Garcia- had attended TSCW. It was affordable and familiar to my family. We knew we could put our trust in a “girl’s school” and the environment would be safe.
TWU Alumni Connection: Tell us something about your TWU experience. It was a great experience, particularly in my area of study, social work and leadership development. I couldn’t have been better prepared for both. The social work practicum gave me a hands-on experience that was invaluable. It allowed me to see firsthand what social work was really all about. It helped my resume, which resulted in finding a good job in my field immediately after graduating. Likewise, my student government activities gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills which brought me where I am today.
TWU Alumni Connection: What does being a TWU graduate mean to you? It means the world to me. Growing up poor in South Texas, I never dreamed I would go to college. TWU gave me a chance with a scholarship for students with high academic achievement from low-income areas. Like many students, I worked and also utilized student loans. But most of all, TWU focused on building a foundation for women in a variety of disciplines, some of which were not traditionally open to women.
TWU Alumni Connection: How did your experience at TWU help prepare you for success in your career? TWU gave me opportunity to develop my leadership skills. I am not sure I would have been able to hone my leadership skills in a coed or larger university. TWU offered a safe and intimate setting for women to learn how to use their voices and be heard in male dominated world.
TWU Alumni Connection: How did the education you received from TWU influence your career choice and/or objectives? But for TWU, I would not have been exposed to social work as an option. It built on my family’s principles and my Catholic faith teachings of service and taking care of your neighbor. It brought it to a higher level that has stayed with me, no matter which position I have held- social worker, legal aid lawyer, Judge, Houston City Controller, Harris County Commissioner and now State Senator.
TWU Alumni Connection: How did your time at TWU impact your life and/or values? My time at TWU impacted me tremendously. I often think that I will always be a social worker at heart. Public service is a calling and my passion. It is about helping people and making a difference in their lives, just as I was taught at TWU School of Social Work.
Thank you, Senator Garcia! We applaud your heart to serve and your accomplishments!