TSTC to Host Open House at Breckenridge Campus

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will hold its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 2. This event is designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, but it is also open to their parents, families and friends.

Visitors can tour the campus and speak with instructors about the programs offered, including Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding.

Faculty from the Business Management Technology (Brownwood), Culinary Arts (Abilene), Wind Energy Technology (Sweetwater) and Health Information Technology (online) programs will be available to meet with students and answer questions about their programs.

Students will also be able to meet with Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, Veteran Services and success coaches, among others, to help guide them through the college enrollment process.

The college expects over 400 students from the local area to visit.

Interested persons should register online at tstc.edu/openhouse. For more information, call 940-447-7714.

TSTC Graduate Inspired to Pursue Bachelor’s Degree

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College Welding graduate Coltin Wiesner has been accepted to Texas A&M in College Station to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science.

Wiesner hopes his welding background will help him excel in his new degree plan.

“A lot of times ag teaches both the welding and the animal portions of it,” he said. “The welding will definitely help and will move over into that.”

Wiesner graduated from TSTC with a 3.2 GPA and finds it one of his greatest accomplishments at TSTC.

“I’m proud of earning my associate degree and the lifelong connections I made while doing so,” he said. “In my family, I’m the first one. My mom went to college for a semester, but my grandfather died and it was horrible for her. For me, it’s almost honoring them. I came from a background of farming and ranching; you complete high school and that was it. You went into the field. It’s just honoring that I’m going into something that they came from Germany to do and to make a new life.”

Having been inspired by his high school FFA class, Wiesner hopes to become an agriculture teacher one day.

“I would love to share my FFA experience with others,” he said. “I wasn’t in it for four years like the traditional kid; I was a band kid. Moving over, you don’t know anybody. I met amazing people there who I am still friends with today; they’re lifelong friends. Moving over into that program and having those people there helped me get comfortable. It made me who I am today.”

Wiesner said TSTC Welding instructor A. Keith Wojcik also played a part in his decision to teach.

“My welding instructor, Keith Wojcik — words can’t describe how much I’ve learned from the greatest man I have ever met,” he said. “How much he enjoys teaching people to weld after so long in the business is great. I like the creative part of welding, where you can just make something. That’s something he was really good about him. He would just say, ‘Do it.’ He wants you to succeed. He couldn’t have been any happier when I got accepted to A&M.”

Wiesner hopes to transfer that ideology into his teaching style as well.

“I love animals, I always have, and how much I enjoyed it is something I want to share with other people.”

Wiesner’s advice to those interested in continuing their education is to be productive and to persevere.

“This may sound corny and repetitive,” he said. “However, keeping up with your work and not slacking shows and pays off.”

TSTC will host its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 9. For more information on the college and its programs, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC welcomes new recruiter

(BROWNWOOD) – Texas State Technical College in Brownwood welcomed a new recruiter, Laura White, earlier this month.

 

White was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in Florida. She currently lives in Abilene. White and her husband moved to the area when he was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base.

 

“I used to work for Bank of America merchant services,” White said. “I loved it. I worked there for a little over a year, and then we got orders to move to Abilene.”

 

White said she wanted to work at TSTC after hearing about it around town.

 

“I hear a lot of people in the community always saying how much they love TSTC,” she said. “There are just so many great things they say about TSTC. I also have friends who attend as students in the nursing program in Sweetwater. I’ve just always had it in mind that TSTC was a great place. So I went to the website and saw a job opportunity, and here I am.”

 

So far, her favorite part is working one-on-one with the students.

 

“TSTC as a whole focuses on making sure we walk the students step by step through the process,” she said. “If there is any additional help they need, we’re always there and that’s awesome. It’s customer service to a T.”

 

White has always prided herself in the customer service she offers.

 

“I relate to that because that’s how I am in any job I’ve ever had,” she said. “I really loved coming into that atmosphere and joining people that are willing to go above and beyond for the students. I love that culture, and that’s what it is — it’s a culture within TSTC.”

 

TSTC is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.

Local TSTC talent competition canceled

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College and “Texas Music Cafe” have canceled the regional Talent Search competition originally scheduled to take place on February 27 on TSTC’s Abilene campus.

The decision was made after only one student signed up to perform. Texas Music Café will transport that contestant to Waco to record her performance, and she will be invited to perform on behalf of West Texas at the finals in Waco on Tuesday, March 20.

The grand prize is a $2,500 recording contract and a chance to perform in a live taping of “Texas Music Cafe.” Runners-up can receive recording gear, a single recording package or a ukulele package.

“Texas Music Cafe” is an hourlong, magazine-style PBS program that is recorded all over the state of Texas in front of live audiences and broadcast nationally on radio, TV and the internet.

Live Oak, Midway Students Win Top Prizes at Science and Engineering Fair at TSTC

(WACO) – Two students who were the only representatives of their high schools were the top winners in the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair held Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas State Technical College.

Caleb Chakmakjian, 15, of Live Oak Classical School and Remi Labeille, 15, of Midway High School were the overall winners and are eligible for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Pittsburgh.

Chakmakjian tested different methods of making potassium nitrate for small rockets for his project. This work was a continuation of what he did for last year’s science and engineering fair.

“Caleb has unending tenacity and a tremendous amount of fortitude,” said Melinda Johnson, a Live Oak Classical School science teacher who has taught him in the past. “He is methodical and analytical. He could at some point send a vehicle of his own into space.”

Labeille genetically engineered yeast for biofuel production for his project. He said his goal was to find a better way to produce biofuel.

“He was self-motivated and worked with someone from Michigan State University who has done similar research,” said Kathy McMillan, an Advanced Placement biology teacher and science instruction support specialist at Midway High School.

McMillan said Labeille continues Midway’s winning tradition at the science fair. While this is Labeille’s first time at the top, Midway alumnus and Harvard University student Edward Kim won three consecutive times.

There were more than 100 projects from Brownwood, Cameron, Corsicana, China Spring, McGregor and Waco students on topics such as animal science, biochemistry, mathematics and robotics.

“Don’t stop experimenting and don’t stop playing and having fun,” TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison told students before awards were presented Wednesday morning. “Keep asking the questions that are helping us to build a better tomorrow.”

A team from Live Oak Classical School won the Junior Science Bowl held Tuesday at TSTC’s IDEAS Center.

Live Oak Classical School swept the junior divisions in biochemistry, microbiology and plant science and C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron won the top three spots in the senior division’s plant science category.

The first-, second- and third-place winners in junior and senior divisions are eligible to attend the Texas Science and Engineering Fair on March 23-24 in San Antonio.

For more information on the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair, go to ctsef.org.

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

TSTC Alumni Savor Business Success

(WACO) – If you have never seen pigs fly, double-check next time you are at a local HEB.

Waco Beef and Pork Processors’ Holy Smoked Sausage is a local savory treat that will send your tastebuds to hog heaven.

Founded by Wallace Wright in 1995, the company started as a small butcher and meat processing plant that served restaurants in the Waco area. Now the family business is continued by friends Michael Landsfeld and Mike Linder, both of whom earned associate degrees and taught in Texas State Technical College’s Meat Processing and Marketing program before it was discontinued.

“I started in this industry when I was 11 years old with my father. Sausage making and the meat industry is something I’ve just always enjoyed, and you should enjoy what you do,” said Landsfeld, the company’s managing partner.

Recently, the Waco company donated sausage to feed students competing at the Area 5 and Area 8 FFA Tractor Technician Competition hosted by TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“I’ve always kept in contact with my old teacher friends and old students who come by and see me,” said Landsfeld. “And anytime TSTC comes calling, I try to help.”

In 1978, Landsfeld graduated from Ennis High School in Ellis County, and around that time he heard about TSTC at a local trade show.

After graduating from TSTC, he continued practicing his skills in Dallas before returning to teach at TSTC.

“I came back to TSTC in ’89 and was asked to teach in the Meat Processing and Marketing program, and that’s when I first got to work with my friend Mike Linder,” said Landsfeld.

Landsfeld and Linder were both TSTC graduates who returned to teach and always talked about working together in a business environment.

“Linder and I have been friends for 30 years. We never thought we’d get to work together, but we dreamed about it back in the office days,” said Landsfeld.

After teaching for some time, Linder left to work at Waco Meat Service and Landsfeld started his career at Waco B&PP.

“Waco B&PP has been here for 23 years, and our main business is sausage making,” said Landsfeld. “We serve mainly HRI — hotels, restaurants and industry, but you can find us in small grocery stores too.”

Linder later joined Landsfeld and the Waco B&PP team as sales manager and now says he truly enjoys his workday.

Waco B&PP has expanded beyond Waco and now serves multiple businesses within a 120-mile radius.

“You know we’re growing, and it’s a good feeling to have when you’re with a company that’s continuing to grow,” said Linder.

The two friends attribute their success to their time spent at TSTC.

“TSTC made a good impact on me, and it was due to the teachers,” said Linder. “They were really good, knew their stuff and were well-driven. TSTC helped me to learn and be ready to continue learning.”

As with many trades, meat processing technology continues to change, encouraging the industry to adapt along with it.

“The technology has evolved quite a lot, and the emphasis is on the science as opposed to the art, both in sausage making and the meat preparation,” said Landsfeld.

Since the friends’ time at TSTC, parts of the Meat Processing and Marketing program have been integrated into the Culinary Arts program.

“We teach basic butchery skills, and meat fabrication is taught in all savory classes, where students learn the codes and regulations,” said TSTC Culinary Arts Department Chair and Chef Mark Schneider.

As Landsfeld and Linder continue their time together, they encourage the younger workforce to consider meat processing and the affiliated fields.

“We need younger workers; this business is very hands-on, and these young people are wonderful. And we do hire TSTC graduates,” said Landsfeld.

Landsfeld and Linder agreed that in a time when jobs are not guaranteed after a four-year education, TSTC serves as a viable alternative.

“Our time at TSTC was valuable for both of us. I’ve always been a hands-on type person,” said Linder. “I like working with my hands, and I worked in construction before I went to TSTC. But we went to TSTC to step up our education.”

There is evidence of the company’s success in the numerous awards and prizes received from the Texas Association of Meat Processing and other organizations.

“I think TSTC opened the doors to a lot of people, and I can vouch for them — I’m one of them,” said Landsfeld.

Waco B&PP specializes in sausage making but also provides specialty meets, spices and cheeses. These can be purchased directly through Waco B&PP or through local grocery stores.

For more information on Waco Beef and Pork Processors, go to holysmokedsausage.com.

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

TSTC Alumnus, Instructor Receives Conference Scholarship

(WACO) – A Texas State Technical College instructor in the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program recently received a nationwide scholarship to attend a professional development conference later this spring.

David Brannen, lead instructor of the Waco campus program, was one of two recipients of the D. Brian Baker Memorial Scholarship, which covers travel, lodging and registration for the 2018 National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference on March 26-28 at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. The scholarship is sponsored by the Council for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators and HVAC Excellence.

This will be the first time Brannen has attended the conference, the largest gathering of HVAC instructors in the nation.

“I want to talk to educators and see what we are doing well and what we need to do better on,” he said.

Brannen said he would use the trip to tell as many conference attendees as possible about TSTC’s mission of strengthening the Texas workforce. The HVAC program on TSTC’s Waco campus has more than 100 students, with 25 of them starting their first semester in the program this spring.

“We always have more jobs than students,” Brannen said. “We have to figure out how to get them in here.”

The scholarship also covers a one-year membership in the Council for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators.

The other recipient of the scholarship was a Delaware high school teacher.

Lance Lucas, TSTC’s statewide HVAC program chair, said he was proud of Brannen’s selection.

“We want to learn from David how HVAC teachers are teaching throughout the nation,” Lucas said.

Brannen, 39, grew up on farm in Axtell and is a graduate of Axtell High School. During his junior and senior years of high school, he took automotive technology classes at Connally High School. He worked for several years and graduated in 2010 from TSTC with an associate degree in refrigeration technology, which is now part of the HVAC program.

Brannen has taught at TSTC for four years and is also a licensed HVAC contractor and certified master electrician.

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

 

TSTC to Host Annual Talent Competition

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College and “Texas Music Cafe” will host the third annual TSTC Talent Search from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at TSTC Student Central in Abilene.

TSTC student contestants will perform as soloists, musicians or groups, and the performances will be posted to YouTube, where the winner will be chosen based on the number of likes on their video.

Holly Tucker (runner-up on NBC’s “The Voice”) will host the competition, which is taking place at TSTC’s four legacy campuses: Harlingen, Marshall, Waco and West Texas. The winner from each location will compete in the finals on Tuesday, March 20, in Waco.

Belinda Palomino, TSTC’s coordinator of Student Life and Engagement, said the event should be fun for those attending.

“Holly Tucker will be there, hosting and performing,” Palomino said. “There will be music and food, so dinner will be provided for anyone attending.”

There is no admission charge to attend.

“I’m just happy I’m not a judge,” Palomino laughed. “The competition is very hard each year because the students are so talented.”

The grand prize is a $2,500 recording contract and a chance to perform in a live taping of “Texas Music Cafe.” Runner-up contestants can receive recording gear, a single recording package or a ukulele package.

“Texas Music Cafe” is an hourlong, magazine-style PBS program that is recorded all over the state of Texas in front of live audiences and broadcast nationally on radio, TV and the internet.

Contestants must be currently enrolled as a full- or part-time student at any TSTC location. For more information, visit tstc.edu/texasmusiccafe/tstctalentsearch.

Preschoolers get visit from TSTC ‘tooth fairies’

(HARLINGEN) – For two decades the Dental Assistant program at Texas State Technical College has organized a community service event at a local Head Start program or preschool to teach children about good oral health care and nutrition.

This semester the 27 students from the program’s Dental Prevention class gathered at the Wesley United Methodist Church Preschool dressed as tooth fairies and a tooth mascot to host child-friendly activities.

“Our program is about community service. We work with the community every day,” said Dental Assistant lead instructor Jean Lashbrook.

Lashbrook added that the goal of this event is to familiarize children with dental care so they’re not afraid of going to the dentist.

“We want to encourage these children to practice good oral care, while giving our students the opportunity to practice patient education and interaction,” she said.TSTC Dental Assistant Community Service

Students like Amanda Garcia, who is in the last semester of the program and vice president of the Dental Explorers Club, taught the preschoolers about brushing, flossing, “good” and “bad” foods, and how to make healthy snacks to try to prevent cavities. There were also coloring stations and games for the children.

“It was a great experience being able to teach these children about brushing and flossing,” said Garcia. “This event helped me better understand the importance of communication and how different it has to be, depending on the patient.”

Every child went home with goodie bags filled with floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste and everyone’s favorite, stickers.

Dental Explorers Club President Clarisa Chapa agreed that it was great getting to apply what she learned in class to a real-world scenario.

“Introducing oral health and healthy foods at this age is beneficial toward their future,” said Chapa. “I enjoyed it so much that after graduating I’m thinking about specializing in pediatric dentistry.”

Dental Assistant instructor and 2005 program alumna Kristen Deleon said this project is a requirement for anyone pursuing a certificate in Dental Assistant, but it is also what everyone looks forward to.

“This is everyone’s favorite project. It’s not only a great community service event, but also a positive TSTC memory,” said Deleon. “This is the thing alumni reminisce about the most.”

After completing the nine-month program, students will earn a certificate and have the skills they need to work as a dental assistant or dental laboratory technician. Many find employment almost immediately at area dental clinics.

“The experience this project gives our students is invaluable,” added Deleon. “It prepares them to enter the field.”

Dental Assistant is also offered at TSTC’s Waco campus.

 

For more information, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC, local agencies partner for Operation Big Rig

(HARLINGEN) – The fourth annual Operation Big Rig was recently hosted by the Continuing Education Department at Texas State Technical College.

More than 50 people attended the half-day awareness event that covered topics such as human and drug smuggling, human trafficking, and recent revisions to federal transportation laws and regulations.

“Overall, the event was a success,” said TSTC’s Continuing Education transportation coordinator Adan Trevino. “It’s important that we spread awareness on issues that affect our industry and those who work in it every day.”

TSTC partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Public Safety, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Homeland Security to make the event possible.

Federal transportation officers and agents in attendance at the event emphasized that if something doesn’t look right, then give them a call.

“We want our students to understand that we are all on the same page and here to work together to make their career journey as safe as can be,” said Trevino.TSTC Operation Big Rig

Trevino added that every year the event focuses on different topics, depending on the pressing issues at the time, but its primary goal is to teach students and industry professionals how to keep the community safe and save lives.

“Recent events are showing a rise in human smuggling and trafficking and how unsafe and sometimes deadly conditions are,” said Trevino. “We’re creating well-rounded professionals, and we want them to be smart and make the best decisions once they’re out in the field and know how to spot dangerous situations.”

Daniel Deleon, a TSTC Continuing Education Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) student, said Operation Big Rig is a great opportunity, especially for someone like him who is new to the industry.

“What TSTC does with Operation Big Rig is great,” he said. “It has really increased my awareness of the dangers we face out in the field and how our quick thinking and actions can save lives.”

Ernie Garcia, a recent TSTC CDL graduate who already has a job lined up with Spirit Truck Lines in San Juan, said he will take what he learned to help make the roads safer for all drivers and bystanders.

“I will be an advocate for safety in my career,” said Garcia. “I learned numerous tips on how to be safe and keep others safe and report suspicious activity.”

Operation Big Rig has also teamed up with local truck stops to help spread awareness of human and drug smuggling and human trafficking.

“At TSTC, safety is our No. 1 priority for our students and community,” said Trevino. “Together, we can make an impact and keep our streets safe.”

For more information on TSTC’s Continuing Education Transportation Services courses, visit tstc.edu.