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Brenda Garcia Breaks Barriers, Embarks on New Pathway with Career Training at IRSC

Brenda Garcia Breaks Barriers, Embarks on New Pathway with Career Training at IRSC

July 31, 2019 Robert Lane

When Okeechobee resident Brenda Garcia began her career training in the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology program at Indian River State College (IRSC), she had initial reservations about being the only woman in her class. Support and encouragement from instructor Rudy Cheung, and quickly gaining the respect of her classmates, allayed her concerns—creating a positive environment where Brenda gained the confidence needed to start her successful journey.

Brenda Garcia Breaks Barriers, Embarks on New Pathway with Career Training at IRSC

“On my first day of class, seeing that I was the only female was somewhat intimidating,” Brenda recalls. “Mr. Cheung was very welcoming and unbiased. He never made me feel like this was not an appropriate field for me. He made an environment where I was able to learn and grow comfortably.”

Brenda also appreciated the commitment to student success she found in her program. “My instructor was very helpful. Mr. Cheung was able to answer questions and provide me with the hands-on experience that I needed. The evening class schedule was great, allowing me to attend class after work.”

Brenda takes personal pride in the College’s recognition as the recipient of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. “I am honored to be able to say that I am an alum of the top college in the nation, not only that I had the opportunity to be a student, but also that I was able to benefit from the amazing programs and resources IRSC offers.”

Today, working at Air Pro Cooling & Heating in Okeechobee, Brenda enjoys her new career. “My career field is an environment that is always is changing—I’m not stuck in an office on a daily basis,” shares Brenda. “I have always enjoyed being able to resolve challenges and overcome problems, and being in Florida it is very gratifying when you are able to save the day!”

IRSC programs in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating incudes clock-hour programs, and technical certificates that progress to an Associate Degree. After two years of college, graduates of the program can seek gainful employment as a skilled HVAC/R technician, maintaining and installing air-conditioning, heating and refrigeration systems in homes, commercial centers, offices, restaurants and other buildings. To learn more about the HVAC program at IRSC visit the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating page, call 1-866-792-4772, or email

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