ESL graduate shares inspiring story

Published on: June 10, 2008

When Janette Quintero Bustamante enrolled at Lone Star College-Fairbanks Center in 2003, her first goal was to learn English. Now, having graduated with her LSC-CyFair associate’s of arts degree, she’s set her sights on a bachelor’s degree in business and a career in finance.

“Janette is one of those students who never gives up and is always willing to work hard to achieve her goal. She also works great with others and helps others in any way she can,” said Dr. Macarena Aguilar, ESL professor. “She is an example that the lack of knowing the language is not an impediment to achieving any dream. Janette is an inspiration to others.” 

Bustamante met her civil engineer husband when he was vacationing in her home country of Venezuela. They got married and eventually he brought her to the United States. After they moved, she began taking ESL courses.

Following a couple semesters off when she became pregnant, she returned to college with a goal of transferring to a four-year university.

Bustamante said her overall LSC-CyFair experience was awesome because she was not only learning English but how to use different computer programs along the way.

“One thing that encouraged me to continue studying was that I was on the National Dean’s List,” she said. “For the college, I was on the President’s List (three times) and in 2006 I was accepted into the Honors Program and invited to join the National Scholar Honor Society.”

Throughout her time at LSC-CyFair, Bustamante said her teachers, from ESL to accounting, history and world literature, as well as the tutors and librarians, all provided a lot of support.

“The campus has a variety of languages, programs, activities and clubs and an excellent tutoring area,” she said. “I have met wonderful teachers who were always there to help me and encourage me.”

History  professor Robert O’Brien said he enjoyed teaching Bustamante because she’d ask lots of questions. She also worked well with other students in the classroom and was one of the leaders of a study group outside of class.

“Janette is a bright young woman who loves to learn and is very curious about the world,” said O’Brien. “Students also benefited from her international perspectives as she was willing to share experiences from her country and talk about the history of Venezuela.”

Stephen Mendonca, professor of English, considers Bustamante a role model for the college’s international students.

“World Literature gave Janette the impetus to express her imaginative and spiritual talents,” he said. “Despite the challenges of language and culture, she showed diligence and initiative in tackling her assignments.”

Wanting to get to know people, Bustamante said she happened across Club Rush Day, which showcases all the various on-campus student organizations. She joined X-PRESATE, participated in leadership conferences, networking events, community service projects and continued improving her English skills.

“Although it was apparent English was not Janette’s native language, she worked diligently to grasp the language of business in a second language,” said her accounting professor, Shawn Miller. “She proved that America is still the land of opportunity to those who truly want it.”

In fact, Bustamante became a U.S. citizen in February and was recently accepted to the University of Houston. So now this LSC-CyFair graduate, and mother of a three-year-old daughter, is ready to pursue a business degree to reach her next goal, a career in finance working for a large oil company.

For information on LSC-CyFair associate’s degree and ESL programs, go to CyFair.LoneStar.edu.