Spotlight on Leopards: Student Spotlight

Benito Costilla planned on going to Texas A&M and studying aerospace engineering. It is still his dream to attend Texas A&M, but he was unable to pursue it out of high school due to the financial burden. He began to look for other education options and one of those was Temple College. When he came to campus to register he visited with financial aid about scholarships, and they sent him to the Foundation.

From the Foundation website he recognized Jennifer Graham, the executive director, from a leadership camp he had attended as a senior in high school. He reached out to her through Facebook, and arranged a meeting with her. From there the Temple College Foundation opened many doors for Benito. He was able to start a Rotaract club at Temple College that focused on leadership and community service, he starred in a video series designed to show what being a new student was like, he got help getting a job, and he was able to find financial aid for both tuition and housing.

“The TC Foundation provided a scholarship,” Benito said, “which was extremely helpful to me, because I don’t think I would have been able to be as involved as much in the community without something like that. The TC Foundation has done much, much more for me than I can really say.”


Q & A with Benito:

What are you studying at Temple College?

“At TC I am studying Biotechnology. My hope is to get this associates degree, and be able to transfer to Texas A&M University and study nuclear engineering or bio-medical engineering. The TC Foundation was able to find funds for me to attend an internship this summer. The experience I got through that internship was just immense. Sometimes it’s just hard to fit all the information in my head, because I have just learned so much. And I am really thankful for that.”

Why was Temple College the best Option for you?

“I think Temple College was right for me, because it wasn’t too far away from my home, about an hour drive from here. I also knew they offered all the basic classes I needed to transfer. It also offered the opportunity to get an associate’s degree, in bioscience, which is a growing field and I think it is going to be very important in the future. TC is not that expensive, which was really great for someone like me who doesn’t have too much money.”

Do you feel like you are getting more than an education from Temple College?

“Yes, I am. I am getting way more than an education. I came in expecting to just study, and I have gotten to do so much more. I have been able to get involved in the community and I am part of two college clubs. One thing I have done with the Temple College Foundation was help with the Bike Share program, and that was a big community event.”

What is your message to potential donors about the Foundation?

“My message to a potential donor would be you’re investing in something really, really great. You’re not only investing in someone’s education, but in someone’s future. I know there are a lot of students today who need financial aid, who like me at the beginning, can’t find it. If it wasn’t for organizations like the TC Foundation, I think a lot of students wouldn’t be able to find the aid they needed.  I wouldn’t be in college right now, if it weren’t for the TC foundation; I can say that for sure.”

What are some specific things you learned at TC?

“At my internship, I have learned how to extract RNA from a plant, then transcribe that to the DNA, and then amplify the DNA using something call PCR. What you do is take the DNA and put it in some reactants and then run it through a thermo-cycler, which heats it then cools repeating the process for about 30 cycles, and then at the end of the cycles, you have more than a billion copies of that DNA.”

Do you have a favorite place to go on campus?

“I really like to go to the library, but really don’t have much time to go there anymore. My favorite place would be the Texas Bioscience Institute, where I am doing my internship. I feel that every time I go there I have fun, and I learn something new, something I can apply someday when I go get a job.”

How are you different because of TC?

“TC has made me more educated, it’s taught me the value of many things. I kind of understood voting was important, but it wasn’t until I took my government class I learned the value of it, I learned the value of being involved with the community, and knowing what’s going on. In science, it has broadened my mind. I used to think science only involved what went on inside a lab, but it’s what goes on inside and outside your body, and what goes on in space. With getting that education it makes you see things a whole different way. Once you learn something, you never look at something that way again.”