TSTC Emergency Medical Services student one year away from achieving goal

(ABILENE Texas) – Texas State Technical College Emergency Medical Services student Laura Jungling is close to achieving a major milestone in her life.

“I began the paramedic program this week, and I am one year from my goal of becoming a paramedic,” she said.

Like many people, Jungling enrolled in the EMS program with a specific purpose.

“It might sound cliche, but my reason for becoming an EMT was my desire to help people,” she said. “I also wanted to give back to the community.”

Jungling, who recently passed the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification exam, said she looks forward to the variety of experiences she will encounter in the field.

“I know that not one day will be the same,” she said. “I know that every call will be different.”

Jungling said she considered other options for a medical career, but nursing was not something she wanted to pursue.

“A lot of the schools I looked at offered nursing, but I wanted something fast-paced,” she said.

The more Jungling explored TSTC’s program, the more impressed she became. Once she started taking classes and participating in lab sessions, she knew it was the right decision.

“I really appreciate the instructors. They push us on a daily basis not to fail,” she said. “They really want every student to succeed.”

Jungling said instructors prepared students in every aspect of becoming an EMT from the first day of class.

“They have been through this in the field. They would not let us do anything that they have not done first,” she said.

She also chose TSTC because of the program’s success rate. Instructor Richard Sharp said students who recently completed the program had a 100 percent passing rate on the certification exam, and each graduate found employment.

Jungling knows once she completes the paramedic program, she will be able to find a job that pays well.

“An entry-level paramedic can expect to make in excess of $45,000 to $50,000 a year,” Sharp said.

With a new group of EMS students beginning this month, Jungling said they should not get discouraged.

“There can be some times of uncertainty during the program,” she said. “Just remember that the instructors will give you every single tool you need to be successful.” 

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC’s Business Management Technology program offers job opportunities, resources

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Business Management Technology program can provide graduates with job opportunities and resources.

For 2020 graduate Sarah Smith, now a student recruiter at TSTC, she is using what she learned to promote the college while improving her organizational skills.

“I gained a lot of sales skills and organizational skills in the program,” she said. “I have modeled my work style from what I learned in the program.”

Smith is also able to tell students how studying online will benefit them and how instructors are always available.

“The instructors are very easy to work with,” she said. “They are consistently in contact with their students.”

One key area in which Smith said she saw improvement in herself was time management.

“I learned that to do things online, you do not need to get overwhelmed,” she said. “Our instructors are going to be checking on you. The program showed me the importance of time management.”

Instructor Duston Brooks said students of all ages and backgrounds have registered for the program. He said one student who worked as a truck driver completed the program while on the road.

“He could not attend a class on campus, so he took his laptop with him,” Brooks said. “And whenever he had time off the road, he would work on his online classes. So we were able to serve his needs. With the COVID situation now and the aftermath, I think the demand for online education will only grow.”

Smith said having completed online courses herself helps her while recruiting students to TSTC.

“For people who have to work or have children, completing the programs online was perfect for me,” she said.

In addition to organization and time management skills, students can expect to learn other skills needed in a business office. These skills include word processing, presentation graphics, accounting and business ethics, principles of accounting, computerized accounting, principles of management, small business operations and payroll accounting. 

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology program selected for national apprenticeship program

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College has been selected as one of four colleges nationally to take part in a program aimed at producing more workers for the automotive collision repair industry.

Enterprise Holdings, with funding from its philanthropic arm the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, and Missouri-based Ranken Technical College have launched the Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program. The program includes that college, TSTC, and institutions in California and Illinois.

The pilot program’s purpose is to have students get real-world experience as they learn in classes to go into the collision repair industry. Jobs for auto body and glass repairers is projected to be at 184,000 by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Texas, workers are reported to make an annual mean wage of $36,960.

“We’re proud to be spearheading the Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program through this innovative pilot,” said Mary Mahoney, vice president of Enterprise Holdings’ Insurance Replacement Division. “As the world’s largest car rental provider and an industry leader in mobility and technology, we have a huge stake in the health of the automotive repair industry and are committed to doing our part to invest in its success.”

The pilot program is using a model that Ranken Technical College has developed to provide apprenticeships to collision repair students. TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program will follow this format.

Students starting this fall in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program are eligible to join the apprenticeship program. Students that meet program requirements throughout their time at TSTC will earn the Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology – Repair Specialization Co-op. Some of the topics that students will learn include automotive plastic and sheet molded compound repair, collision repair welding, estimating, structural analysis and vehicle hardware.

“This program is for someone who really wants to do this,” said Jannifer Stimmel, an instructor in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program. “We are aiming for a very special kind of student. We want someone who is motivated and driven.”

Students accepted into the program will take seven weeks of classes and work at approved repair shops for seven weeks each semester. Stimmel and the students will select the best place to work, but she will visit to make sure the repair shop has the right equipment and a technician who can mentor. 

She said it will help if shops are part of the Ford Certified Collision Network. Shop staff need to keep journals each week for Stimmel to review students’ progress. A portion of each student’s pay is subsidized by the pilot program.

“The goal is to have them work wherever they are planning on living when they graduate,” Stimmel said. “The ultimate goal is for them to be in a certified shop that can offer them an opportunity.”

The collision repair field is evolving for technicians who are becoming collision engineers.

“We are handed the instructions when a vehicle has been wrecked, and it is our job to put it back the way the manufacturer had it,” Stimmel said. “We are using procedures to re-engineer the vehicle and building it just like the factory does.”

Potential students interested in the pilot program can go to https://www.beacollisionengineer.com.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC welcomes back students for spring semester

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On January 11, Texas State Technical College welcomed back students to its Fort Bend County campus for the spring 2021 semester.

Some students, staff and faculty returned to campus on a limited basis, following TSTC’s coronavirus safety guidelines. While some courses are being taught online only, others are a combination of online classes and in-person labs.

TSTC Associate Provost Bryan Bowling was eager to welcome students to TSTC and said that a new semester is the steppingstone to a gratifying career.

“This will be the year you recall as a new beginning,” he said. “A student’s decision to enroll at TSTC represents a critical point of origin on a life-altering journey that can lead to a lucrative career.”

Environmental Technology instructor Maria Vaughan added that she knows this year will be a positive one.

“As we start the year, students should be curious about their purpose,” she said. “It is going to be a great semester.”

TSTC is dedicated to helping enhance the Texas workforce by equipping students with the skills needed to succeed in the most in-demand careers.

Established in 2016, the Fort Bend County campus offers more than 10 technical programs that can give students the training needed for a successful career.

TSTC’s coronavirus safety protocols include wearing face masks while on campus, social distancing, and designated entrance and exit doors.

To learn more, go to tstc.edu.



TSTC implements new tool to make sure that students graduate

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently added an additional resource to ensure that students succeed during their time in college.

Progress Pathway, formerly known as Early Alert, is a feature that allows students, faculty and staff to submit a referral about a student who they feel may be falling behind in the curriculum. The referral will then lead to assisting that student to help them make it past the bump on their educational journey.

Christina Vargas, assistant director of enrollment management at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, said that the system was created to help students get back on track when they may be struggling.

“If there is concern that a student is having problems with not only their courses, but maybe another issue, we can submit a referral that goes directly to the student’s enrollment coach,” she said. “Once the referral is submitted, the coach will reach out to the student. We have resources at TSTC to address many of the types of barriers that impede student success.”

“The objective of Progress Pathway is student success,” added TSTC enrollment analyst Robert Foshie. “We want to ensure students, staff and faculty have a way to express concern that may negatively impact a student’s ability to persist through their degree.”

He said that the tool will allow appropriate parties to offer assistance when a student needs it.

“Progress Pathway allows Enrollment Management to intervene and provide resources or additional funding as needed to ensure students stay on course to graduate.”

Issues that students may face go beyond the classroom. Access to technology, funding for supplies, or personal dilemmas are all factored into the solutions that Progress Pathway can make happen for students.

“We know there are a number of issues that could be causing a student to fall behind,” Vargas said. “The issues that can be reported on Progress Pathway reach beyond academics. Whether it be financial struggles or a lack of child care that an instructor suspects is causing the student to struggle, a referral will work in the same way.”

Foshie said that the new feature helps continue to enable TSTC’s mission of building the Texas workforce.

“Being able to assist a student with their needs is often the determining factor for whether or not a student can persist to graduation,” he said. “Our mission is to place more Texans in great-paying jobs, and our team strives to make what is impossible for some a success in their journey.”

To learn more about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.


Instructor’s passion for cars guided him to TSTC

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – A curiosity for engines and transmissions is what drove Diego Trevino to a career at Texas State Technical College three years ago. He is currently an instructor in the Automotive Technology program and brings to the classroom not only his love for all things automotive, but also his firsthand experience.

What was your career before your time with TSTC?

Before I became an instructor, I was an automotive technician for Gillman Chevrolet Buick GMC in San Benito for several years.

Why did you decide on a career in automotive technology?

The main reason I decided on my career in the automotive industry is my love for cars. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been working on cars. On my time off, I still make time to build engines and restore classic cars.

What do you think makes the automotive program at TSTC different from other colleges?

What I think sets the TSTC Automotive Technology program apart from other auto programs is the experience of the instructors; we are all masters in the field and accredited as such. TSTC only hires the best and most capable to pass along decades of experience and skills.

Additionally, job placement is a big help for students when they graduate. Not many other colleges set up interviews or help create paid internships for students while they are enrolled in classes with some of the biggest automotive shops in the region.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

What I enjoy the most about my job is passing on my years of experience to a new generation of technicians to continue this craft.

To learn more about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.



Automotive Technology at TSTC drives students toward thriving career

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The revving of engines is music to the ears of students and  instructors alike in Texas State Technical College’s Automotive Technology program.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for automotive service technicians are expected to continue to rise through 2026. TSTC’s Automotive Technology program utilizes a hands-on method of learning that gives students the necessary training needed to excel in the field.

The college offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology, as well as several options for certificates of completion.

Instructor Diego Trevino said that TSTC students in the program are given the opportunity to study with working vehicles, as well as learn from instructors who have had firsthand industry experience.

“We get to teach from actual running vehicles rather than trainers on a stand,” he said. “All the instructors at TSTC are required to be Master Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified and also have an associate degree in the automotive field before they can step into a classroom.”

Bruce Schmitt, also an instructor, added that TSTC’s mission to work closely with students is what sets this program apart.

“We invest in students over a long period of time,” he said. “TSTC is a well-established college throughout the state of Texas.”

He added that the focus on students does not stop once the class ends. Job placement is also a vital component of the program.

“All automotive students are assisted with job placement through our partnerships with local industry partners, both dealership and independent,” he said.

Trevino said that Automotive Technology instructors also do their due diligence to ensure that students are given good opportunities.

“As instructors, we all take time out of our day to visit dealerships and shops across the Rio Grande Valley to create a relationship with them to help our students get their foot in the door,” he said. “We take advantage of the interview practices offered throughout the year to help our students prepare for the interviews with industry partners that we have set up for them by the time they graduate.”

Instructor Miguel Zoleta said that the automotive industry is not slowing down, as far as jobs are concerned.

“I see a rapid rise in demand for the automotive industry, especially in the electrical automotive industry, because many automotive companies are introducing electric lines of vehicles,” he said.

While current safety precautions have impacted the one-on-one time that instructors have with students, Trevino said that this has not deterred the department from finding other ways to guarantee communication, such as distancing with minimal time in the lab, virtual appointments, and even phone calls.

“We are always available by appointment,” he said. “In order for students to really master the automotive craft, whether it is practicing a skill like tire balancing or getting the finer points of engine rebuilding, we try our best to make ourselves available to students however we can.”

To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.


TSTC spring semester begins with winter blast

(ABILENE, Texas) – Mother Nature delayed the beginning of Texas State Technical College’s in-person spring semester classes this week.

With more than seven inches of snow recorded in West Texas, the college’s administration closed the campus on Monday to keep faculty, staff and students from driving on hazardous roads. TSTC’s online and remote learning began Monday as scheduled.

When students arrived on Tuesday for in-person classes, they completed orientation of what to expect and the proper coronavirus safety procedures that are in place.

Everyone on campus must follow the same protocol to protect themselves and others to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing a face covering at all times, maintaining a social distance of six feet, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer regularly, and following directional signs in buildings.

Welding Technology student Bryan Mendez, of Sweetwater, said he is glad to be back on campus.

“I like to be around people, and I was ready to further my education,” said the second-semester student. “I could not wait to continue learning.”

Automotive Technology student Brady Kennemur, of Big Spring, was ready for orientation to end this week.

“I could not wait to get back into the shop and get to work,” he said. “There is nothing better than getting your hands on an engine.”

Wind Energy Technology student Curtis Kelley, of Austin, also was ready to get back to work. He is beginning his final semester of the program.

“I have enjoyed every aspect of this program. I am glad to be back in the lab and looking forward to the final semester,” he said.

TSTC’s spring semester is scheduled to run through April 23.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

With Nursing degree, TSTC grad fulfills dream

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Shannon Powell is now working in a field she fell in love with at the age of 19.

Powell, who received an associate degree in Nursing at Texas State Technical College in 2020, passed the National Council Licensure Examination earlier this year. Today, she is a registered nurse in the medical-surgical department at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater.

Her interest in health care started in that department, even though the medical field was not her first career choice.

“I had a job at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital as a ward clerk. I really wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I watched the nurses working with the patients, and that lit something inside of me.”

Powell decided to enroll in TSTC’s Nursing program and graduated from the Vocational Nursing program. During her time at TSTC, she said the hospital’s staff was always supportive.

“I received a scholarship from the hospital. Rolling Plains really supported me,” she said. “Anytime I needed to take off for school, they would let me. The staff wanted me to succeed.”

Powell’s dream of becoming a registered nurse was put on hold while her family took precedence.

“I wanted to focus on my husband Britt’s career and our children,” she said. “Once the kids were older, Britt pushed me to focus on me. He told me I should go back to school. I told him, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Powell knew her first choice would be TSTC because of her experiences while studying to become an LVN. She knew things would be different, especially when COVID-19 forced more of her courses online.

“I knew there would be a lot less of the in-person classes. I had to adapt to that,” she said. “The instructors told us from the beginning that this was not going to be easy. They gave us all of the tools in order for us to succeed.”

Nursing instructor Lisa Van Cleave said Powell was an excellent student and will be a nurse people can depend on.

She demonstrates the highest level of professionalism, compassion and care with everyone,” she said. “Shannon seeks to deliver excellent care and promote the nursing profession.”

With a degree in hand and officially being a registered nurse, Powell, a lifelong resident of Sweetwater, is glad to be working in her hometown where her medical career began.

“It is just amazing that I was able to go to school and work in my hometown,” she said.

Van Cleave said the Sweetwater community should be proud of Powell’s accomplishments.

“(Her) patients and peers are very fortunate to have her as a nurse and a teammate,” she said.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

Longtime TSTC Creative Services employee to retire

(WACO, Texas) – Glenn Zgabay has seen a lot in his more than 40 years of working at Texas State Technical College.

“It’s rare nowadays to see someone’s career span over 40 years with the same employer,” said Nick Alvarado, TSTC’s vice president of Communication and Creative Services. “Glenn has been a strong foundation to our team with his technical experience and historical knowledge. We are truly grateful for his dedication to TSTC.”

From the evolution of technology, to a college name change in the 1990s, to buildings torn down and new ones erected, Zgabay is a walking history of the college. But at the end of January, he will retire from his position as a publication specialist in TSTC’s Creative Services department.

“I worked with so many wonderful people during my tenure here at TSTC, that it would probably be impossible to list them all and unfair to try,” Zgabay said.

Jan Osburn, a former executive director of Creative Services at TSTC, worked with Zgabay for about 30 years. She remembers his working with a paste-up board for designs and trips back and forth to the print shop to work with staff to produce camera-ready pieces.

Eventually design work became digitized, and Zgabay had to keep up. Osburn said he was great with Adobe Photoshop but also worked with Adobe PageMaker and QuarkXPress. He also contributed his skills to helping produce TSTC’s former student newspaper, the Tech Times.

“Other than being talented and skillful, Glenn is a kind person, but he has a dry sense of humor,” Osburn said.

Caitlin Hooks, interim assistant director of Creative Services at TSTC, had an office next door to Zgabay’s at the Provence Graphic Communications Center on the Waco campus.

“Although I have only worked alongside him for the last five years, I can say that Glenn has always come to my office with a smile and ready to work,” Hooks said. “He is always willing to take on difficult projects and never complains. I have never seen Glenn stressed out or upset. He is generally an easygoing and happy person to work and be around.”

Zgabay was born in Waco.

“My father worked at James Connally Air Force Base and had been an aircraft pilot. So naturally when I was very young, I wanted to be a pilot,” he said.

Zgabay graduated in 1976 from the Commercial Art and Advertising program at what was then Texas State Technical Institute (TSTI) and eventually became TSTC.

“I’ve always liked to draw and have been interested in art,” he said. “I was attracted to artwork relating to fantasy, science fiction, surrealism — the type of artwork seen on many album covers, movie posters and book covers.”

During his time at TSTI, he was a work-study student in the campus Public Information and News Office and did a paid summer internship at Southwest Advertising, an agency that was in downtown Waco’s ALICO Building. After graduation, he worked at the agency for about a year before being hired at TSTC as a graphic artist in February 1977.

“My career in this field spans over 44 years,” he said. “One of the biggest changes in commercial art production has been the introduction of personal computers, and what we referred to at the time as desktop publishing. The advent of this liberating change revolutionized the profession.”

What has kept Zgabay at TSTC is its mission to educate Texans to get great-paying jobs. He said TSTC’s contribution to the 10 Texas cities that have campuses and to the state is essential.

“Being a graduate of the college, I have felt a personal bond and kinship with our students,” he said. “Working in Waco, and being close to my and my wife’s families, was also a major factor.”

Zgabay said it feels liberating to retire.

“I have enough plans to keep me busy for years, and they will definitely include artistic endeavors of various sorts.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.