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Student selected to represent Blinn College, national honor society as district vice president

‘I can’t wait to see the person I become because of Blinn and Phi Theta Kappa,’ Carla Vinas-Yanez says

June 7, 2016

Carla Teresa Vinas-Yanez Carla Teresa Vinas-Yanez has been selected to represent Blinn College and an international honor society at several leadership conferences this year.

Vinas-Yanez, a second-year student from Bryan, was elected by her peers in the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Phi Lambda chapter to serve as District V vice president, a role that represents students at more than 20 college campuses.

Vinas-Yanez is one of six officers who make up the 2016-17 Texas regional officer team, which will attend conferences and deliver speeches at Alamo Colleges in San Antonio and the Southwest Texas Junior College District in Uvalde and Laredo. Before the close of the Spring semester, the officer team traveled to Austin Community College to lead the college’s induction ceremony.

Vinas-Yanez is the fifth Blinn College-Bryan campus student to serve in this position since 2005.

PTK is the official honor society for two-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges. Founded in 1918, PTK promotes scholarship, leadership and service. To be accepted into the program, students must carry at least a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) with at least 12 transferable hours. Blinn-Bryan’s Alpha Phi Lambda chapter, advised by social sciences instructors Drew Denman and Lena Brewster, has more than 100 members.

As a 35-year-old mother, Vinas-Yanez never imagined her second stab at higher education could be so impactful. She originally enrolled at Blinn following her high school graduation, but withdrew when she became pregnant with her eldest son.

“I’ve always wanted to go back to school,” she said. “It has taken me a while to find out what I wanted to do, but when I took Ms. Lena Brewster’s government class, it lit this fire in me that has since grown bigger and bigger. Now I know I want to be a human rights activist.”

Or, better yet, what Vinas-Yanez calls the “biggest thorn on the right person’s side.”

“There are so many causes that deserve attention, like human trafficking,” she said. “I want to advocate for people, for basic human rights.”

Vinas-Yanez is working toward an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree at Blinn and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree at Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree at Texas A&M University.

As a member of PTK, and now a district officer, Vinas-Yanez said the opportunities in the national honor society are preparing her for a successful career in civil rights advocacy. She never realized the magnitude of PTK until she attended the national NerdNation conference, held in National Harbor, Md. this spring.

“PTK is nothing like I expected,” she said. “It’s going to be a wild ride now that I’m an officer. I’m closing a chapter of my life and I’m walking into something I’ve never done before. I can’t wait to see the person I become because of Blinn and Phi Theta Kappa.”