Daniel Varela began at Lone Star College-CyFair as an ESOL spring transfer student and he is leaving having earned a full-ride scholarship to Occidental College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
His family immigrated from Venzuela where Varela said “no matter how hard you work and how much you deserve to be successful, you simply don't have a future.”
However, at LSC-CyFair, Varela took advantages of opportunities he was given, such as working as a student ambassador and serving as Phi Theta Kappa Beta Lambda Mu Chapter president. He said this involvement “changed his life, gave him a purpose and turned him into a leader.”
Dr. Blake Ellis, professor of history, said he’s seen Varela’s transformation to a leader, scholar and community servant this past two years.
“He has never wavered in his dedication to LSC-CyFair and he is one of the most impressive students I have encountered in my time as Phi Theta Kappa advisor,” said Dr. Ellis. “From presenting top-level academic research to organizing service events to mentoring his fellow students, Daniel has consistently demonstrated servant leadership. In addition, he is passionate about social justice, collaborative in his approach to learning, and committed to diversity and inclusion.”
Varela’s original career interest was Industrial Engineering, but that changed, too, while at LSC-CyFair.
“I developed this sense of purpose for education and a deep interest in the macroeconomics sector of the economy and how it affects our lives,” said this Honors College student who is majoring in economics. “I went from having dreams of creating my own company and making tons of money as an engineer to wanting to work as faculty in a university, publishing, researching and sharing my knowledge with the future generations.”
With a $72,000-per-year scholarship, Varela will start the new year no longer concerned about paying for college, but rather excited about the idea of moving out of state and being successful in school and his career.
“And I like the idea of embracing a new academic and cultural environment and challenging myself again in a writing intensive academic institution,” he said. “I know now that I will have a future no matter what.”
For information on LSC-CyFair’s Phi Theta Kappa, Honors College, or affordable and flexible options for spring semester classes that start Jan. 17, go to LoneStar.edu/cyfair.