With a second chance at life, Carranza Bankston has joined the Texas State Technical College family as an employee and a Cybersecurity student.
It’s only been a few months since the 34-year-old, single mother had a stroke that left her bedridden for two months induced by Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks the nerves.
“I’ve always been the traveler, the daughter that moves away to find adventure, so when I had my stroke I was far from my family,” said Bankston. “I knew it was time to move home and that’s when TSTC came into play.”
While on bed rest, the Richmond native began her job search, and working in the food industry for much of her life, she knew the TSTC Café cook position was the right fit.
“I had already applied to TSTC for several other positions, but this one was the one that was meant to be,” she said. “And I was able to move back home.”
Bankston’s food industry experience ranges from restaurant management to catering business owner. She even began culinary school, but put it on hold at age 22 when she became pregnant with her daughter.
Her catering business “Jacasians” is Jamaican food with an American twist, and has seen success in the wedding and large-event arena.
“I’ve been working since I was 15 so I’m no stranger to hard work,” said Bankston. “And even though cooking has always been my passion, I also worked in technical support for a couple of major companies, and that’s why I decided to return to school for cybersecurity.”
With support from her mother and daughter to return to school, Bankston enrolled in Cybersecurity’s online program and expects to earn her associate degree in Spring 2021.
She said she is blessed to have a job she loves and a program that is flexible, allowing her to balance work and life.
“TSTC has exceeded my expectations as an employee and student,” she said. “I love the help, the friendliness and family-like atmosphere. I feel right at home.”
She added that her favorite part of being TSTC’s Café cook is serving people and making them smile, because with everything she has had to overcome she knows the importance of not taking life for granted.
“Everything I do, I do with my daughter in mind. I want her to see that no matter the trials and tribulations, you can still accomplish your dreams,” she said. “And that’s what I’m doing here at TSTC, moving forward with my goals so I can make my dreams come true.”
Bankston plans on continuing to travel around the United States, adding Mexico to the list soon, maybe even Italy in the future.
And while her ultimate goal is to own a successful restaurant, she said she is going to work hard in first, completing Cybersecurity and second, getting a government or state job that will allow her to use the skills she learns.
“With this degree I have the opportunity to start a new career in numerous areas. It really opens doors,” she said. “And although there are and will be obstacles to overcome, I can’t wait to put all – restaurant and cybersecurity – skills together to become a leader in my industries.”
Cybersecurity is offered online or at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Waco and East Williamson County campuses. And, beginning Fall 2020, Cybersecurity Technology will be one of the Performance-Based Education programs offered at TSTC. PBE allows students the flexibility to move through the program at their own pace.
For more information, visithttps://tstc.edu/programs/Cybersecurity.