Student Spotlight: Non-Traditional Student Club president
Madam President: Avendano heads Non-Traditional Student Club
At first glance, Roxana Avendaño looks like the typical
student at San Antonio College. She
appears to be a 20-something, petite woman sporting a pixie haircut and a few
But at a sit-down interview Roxana reveals she is closing in
on 40, a native of Mexico, and a domestic abuse survivor.The
single mom of two is also president of the Non-Traditional Student Club.
“I thought everyone was dealing with it, and it was something
they just didn’t talk about,” she says of the abuse she endured during a 14–year
marriage. One day she decided "to be brave and get out.”
Following a divorce, money was tight and child support was
sporadic at best.Eventually the family was evicted and landed in the SAM
Shelter. Roxana says it was a tough time, but praises the SAC faculty for their
“I wasn’t going to let it bring me down. With God’s help we
started moving up,” she said. They spent a year at the shelter before moving to
a Section 8 (public housing) apartment.
In 2009 she started attending SAC full time.
Roxana had attended college in Mexico before getting married
at 21. She studied chemical engineering,
spent a year in medical school, and studied psychology. She said university
classes in Mexico were massive and there was very little contact with
professors. “At SAC I’ve had the best
professors ever,” she said.
It was in her government class that she met a deaf student with
“I was 35 and got my ‘WOW’ moment,” she said explaining that
she decided then to study American Sign Language. She had some experience with it through her
job as a special education assistant for Judson ISD.
Currently, Roxana has GPA of 3.46 and will graduate in
December. She hopes to pursue a bachelor’s in psychology at Texas A&M
University San Antonio.
In 2011 Roxana received the GOAL scholarship through the SAC
Women’s Center. GOAL students are
required to be part of the Non-Traditional Students Club and Roxana became club
president. The club, which meets
monthly, has some 30 members. Activities include the Clothesline Project to
raise awareness of domestic violence, cell phone collection, and a recent Krav
Maga self-defense demonstration.
“The Non-Traditional Student Club is for everyone, no one is
excluded. It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are,” Roxana says. “We
provide encouragement and support for you.”
Roxana is also a member of the ASL Connection Club, the ASL
Glee Club and is a current work-study student for the ASL department.
She will speak at this year’s Women Empowered Conference set
for May 22 and 23 at McAllister Auditorium.
Asked if she had any advice for women who may be in a situation like she
found herself in, she said:
“Never give up. There is support we don’t know about –
there’s always a way out and coming to school is No. 1.”