Success at Work: Abdel Casiano

Following his service in the Navy, Abdel Casiano didn’t see higher education in his future. “To be completely honest, attending college was never the initial plan,” he said. “When I was honorably discharged from the Navy, my intentions were to become a police officer.” Abdel job-hopped hoping for that dream to happen. “The closest I ever made it was becoming a detention officer.”

Enter Abdel’s girlfriend, who is now his wife. Taking notice of how miserable he was in his detention officer job; she did due diligence about his GI bill and told him that his benefits through the GI bill would alleviate most of his financial worry if he decided to attend college. “She suggested I visit with a vet counselor at TCC, and the rest is amazing history!” he said.

When Abdel decided to attend college, he was nervous. “You must remember, I never intended on attending college in the first place,” he said. “I performed poorly in high school and had parents that never wasted the opportunity to tell me that I was not college material or capable.”

Abdel wrestled with those thoughts as he started at TCC. “I felt defeated before I even started,” he admitted. However, his experience was quite different. “The first day on campus was amazing! I met people who were just like me and provided me with pointers/tips to be successful.”

Following completing his Associate of Arts degree at TCC, Abdel transferred to Texas Christian University. Unfortunately, finding his place there initially proved to be difficult. “Another challenge for me was being a non-traditional student and a predominantly traditional school,” he said. He found that most students were 18 to 21 years of age, but at the time he enrolled, he was 30 years old. “I felt like I did not fit in with the campus culture at first.”

Things began to turn around for Abdel when he realized he was the problem. “I had all these walls up,” he confessed. “Once I dropped them, the experience was amazing! I learned from the students, and they learned from me.” He found that because he was older, he was offered a “plethora of opportunities,” such as becoming an undergraduate research assistant, traveling, and getting his name on two publications.

In college, Abdel’s military experience served him well. “(It) gave me the discipline to complete my goal of being a college graduate,” he said. “I treated my education like I did in the service. I was the first to arrive to class and the last to leave. I maintained professionalism at all times, and it paid off.”

Abdel considers marrying his wife his greatest accomplishment, closely followed by graduating from TCU in the fall of 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. At the top of his graduating class, Abdel was the only student that had a cumulative GPA of 4.0.  Eventually, he hopes to complete his master’s degree and doctorate.

For now, he says he is exactly where he wants to be. “I have always wanted to be a career advisor at TCC, and it has happened!” He started in that role at TCC Southeast on July 3 this year. He works with all students, however, “occasionally, I will get to work with veterans, which is great for me because I love working with (other vets).

One day, Abdel would like to become a veteran counselor. “My goal is to make sure that my brothers and sisters who served have someone waiting for them on the other side to help them with the transition (to civilian life),” he said.

Are you experiencing Success at Work thanks to your time at TCC?  If so, please let us know. We love hearing about the success of our graduates!  Contact us at, and we’ll be in touch.