This transfer and online student also completed an internship with a Texas senator.
Sometimes a person just has to get away and get a fresh start.
That was Texas Tech University graduate Emily Galante's situation during the COVID-19 pandemic while she was attending Purdue University, close to her hometown, when she started researching opportunities in other states.
“I was going through a lot at the time; a lot of changes were occurring in my life and COVID was just another add-on,” Galante said. “I love my hometown, but I needed a change to put myself in an environment where I would thrive.”
Emily was originally considering moving to either Colorado or Texas, and she researched both as well as the schools and other opportunities. She was looking to create a different life for herself, and Texas seemed the best place to start. Specifically, she decided TTU Waco had the best selection of degree choices.
“It was something I could afford on my own while experiencing life,” she said. “My friend was living in Waco, and she was telling me about transferring to McLennan Community College (MCC) and its transfer partnerships with other universities. I made sure my credits would transfer before I decided to move. Looking back, it is interesting to see how I got to Texas, but I am grateful I did.”
Transfer partnerships make moving credits from a community college a seamless process for earning a bachelor's degree at a four-year university. After earning her Associate of arts with a major in general academics at MCC, she transferred to Texas Tech in December 2021. Her Human Sciences major in the College of Human Sciences comprised three concentrations: psychology, nutrition and human sciences.
Her fresh start put in motion a string of successes Galante had only dreamed of. In her short two-and-a-half years in Texas, aside from earning her associate degree, her accomplishments include getting a job with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in 2022 and landing the Texas Tech Government & Public Service Internship with the state senate in 2023. She also got married this summer and graduated from Texas Tech in August.
Galante excitedly spoke about how she would never have accomplished these goals with a traditional on-campus degree plan.
“The benefit for me attending Texas Tech online instead of in person was the flexibility of my classes. I work full time, so that was what I was needing,” she said. “And being able to work at my own pace was my favorite part. In-person classes are scheduled at a different pace than what you may be used to. Sometimes I was quick with learning a lesson or other times I needed to slow down to really grasp the concept.”
According to Galante, TTU Waco is the perfect fit because from there students have access to both local MCC and Texas Tech main campus resources as well as ways to get involved with the university if they choose. From her home base there, to Lubbock and even in Austin, she had great opportunities to flourish.
“My internship was through the Lubbock campus, and I went to the graduation reception in Waco at the regional site,” she said. “I also was able to be part of the big centennial event in Austin, which was really awesome. I officially got to meet Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec.”
For students considering a strictly online path to graduation, Galante advised them to do their own research on educational and career goals to find the best fit.
“I also would tell them to take any opportunity Texas Tech gives them. They have so many resources and ways to gain experience and make great connections,” she said.
“They have all sorts of internship opportunities and great people who can connect you with the right people. Texas Tech will help you reach your goals, not just with education, but with your career plans as well.”
Galante recently attained a position at Baylor Scott & White Health Plans as a Medicaid project analyst before she even had her diploma in hand. She said Texas Tech helped her prepare for her career goals by providing her opportunities like her recent internship with the Texas State Senate.
“I never thought I would be considered for an internship position because I am not a political science major or minor,” she admitted. “This internship helped me get career-ready and understand how policy works in government. It helps with networking, provides great experience and skills, and a whole new set of knowledge. If anyone is even considering applying for a senate internship, they should go for it!”
Galante said working for Senator Charles Perry and his office were the best parts of her internship in the 88th legislative session. Her work involved greeting constituents and guests, answering the phone, checking voicemail and email, entering constituent data and assisting with the filing of bills. She also worked with lobbyists on their hospitality needs and sat in during meetings.
“It was an honor to intern for Senator Perry,” she said. “It was the experience of a lifetime. I understand more about how government works and how policy is created for the state. I have a better understanding of how the policy side of the Health and Human Services Commission works.”
Galante emphasized this is what she wanted to do with her degree, and now because of the combination of the flexibility of attending school through TTU Waco and the internship, she's already in her dream career.
“I love working in public health and anything health-related,” she said. “It is so fascinating to learn how the human body functions and how external and internal factors can affect it. My ultimate career goal is to always work for an organization that improves the health and lifestyles of our communities.”
Her aim for the future is to eventually go back to school for her master's in public health. For now, her fresh start includes a husband and time to settle into a different routine.
“My plan is to gain more experience and credibility in my profession before continuing my education,” she said. “I just got married and my husband has been my biggest supporter through it all. I have not really experienced life without working and being in school, so I plan on working and discovering more of my passions.”