When Cristian Armendariz walks the stage for Odessa College’s graduation at 6 p.m. Friday, it will mark the achievement of earning two bachelor’s degrees — one in entrepreneurship and the other in occupational health and safety management.

Odessa College’s BAAS graduate Cristian Armendariz’s medals for Award of Excellence and Leadership and Management for occupational health and entrepreneurship hang from his neck as he poses for a photo Tuesday on campus. Armendariz is among OC’s first Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences graduates. (Jacob Ford|Odessa American)

He also received two medals for his bachelor of applied arts and sciences degrees and two for awards of excellence.

Graduates will participate in person, and friends and family will be invited to view the ceremony virtually via live stream on the Odessa College YouTube page.

Commencement for graduates receiving the bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree, School of Business and Industry associate and certificate degrees, and those students who successfully completed the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxCHSE–GED) is Friday.

Commencement for graduates of the School of Liberal Arts and Education and the School of Health Sciences will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. As of Monday, OC had 736 unduplicated graduate candidates.

Armendariz, 23, is among OC’s first bachelor of applied arts and sciences graduates.

Through all of his studies the last roughly two years, Armendariz has been working full time as an electrical technician at Cimarron Energy.

Armendariz earned an associate degree in occupational health and safety technology in 2018 from OC. With bachelor’s degrees in hand, Armendariz plans to see what his options are.

“The program was excellent. I liked how the costs of it were really low and it was very affordable.

“I’m really excited, because it is a really big accomplishment and I can’t wait to make my family proud,” Armendariz added.

He decided to go for the bachelor’s degrees to increase his education.

Having the occupational safety and health degree, Armendariz said he can work for oilfield companies. He said most of them want you to have a bachelor’s degree, or a lot of experience.

This will enable him to work in an office or be in the field.

“I think the opportunities are kind of endless,” he said. “… It opens up more doors for me.”

The entrepreneurship degree provided knowledge on how to start his own business, understand business models and financials.

A 2016 Odessa High School graduate, Armendariz plans to start a business centering on shoes and streetwear.

The name of his streetwear start-up is Azael.

“We’re trying to introduce streetwear to West Texas …,” he said.

For students who are reluctant to go on to community college or for a four-year degree after high school, Armendariz said oilfield money sounds good right out of high school.

“But invest in yourself and get yourself a degree because down the line 20 years from now you’ll probably be thinking I should have gotten a degree, especially since it’s hard labor,” Armendariz said.

Armendariz’s fiancée Daniela Carrasco, who graduated from OC’s radiologic technology program and works at Medical Center Hospital, is thrilled about his accomplishment.

“I’m super proud of him. I know what it took to get to where we are and everything he had to overcome to get here,” Carrasco said.