TSTC Cyber Security Student Graduates to New Career

(HARLINGEN) – Rogelio Garcia is a small-town guy from Roma, Texas, but has accomplished big dreams at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County and will graduate with his associate degree in Cyber Security Technology this Thursday.

“TSTC has been a great ride,” said Garcia. “I never thought I could accomplish something like this at my age.”

This is a career change for the 37-year-old who spent nearly 13 years in the retail industry serving as a multi-unit manager for chains such as Kirkland’s, Anna’s Linens and Sears.

“Retail is all I’ve known since high school,” he said. “I hadn’t been in a college classroom since my early 20’s. It was intimidating making a change.”

Garcia had attempted the college and university life before TSTC. He studied Criminal Justice at a Rio Grande Valley community college and a university in San Antonio, but neither was the right fit.

“In the long run I realized criminal justice was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Garcia. “I couldn’t find anything I was passionate about, until now.”

With the instability and hectic schedules that come with working retail, Garcia, with the support of his wife of 14 years, quit his job and they moved to Houston in hopes of finding better opportunities.Rogelio Garcia

“We always heard from others that Houston has tons of opportunities and work available, so we decided to make the move,” he said. “And it was perfect timing with the opening of the TSTC campus in our area.”

Garcia said he did not know what he was getting himself into; he had no idea what cyber security was about. The only computer experience he had was with point-of-sale systems and online shopping.

Disregarding his insecurity about the program, Garcia enrolled in January 2017 and since then has found success as a student and student leader on campus.

“Yes, there were moments I felt like giving up,” he said. “Moments I wondered what I was doing. It was a risk, but a risk worth taking.”

Garcia credits his Cyber Security Technology Instructor Ryan Hill for the reason why he did not quit school this time around.

“Mr. Hill was my guidance and saved me when I was ready to quit,” said Garcia. “He was the first person I saw on my first day and the one that mentored me along the way. He’s a great asset to TSTC and overall a great person. He believes in me and believes that I can do great things.”

Hill described Garcia as a great joy to have in class, a pleasure to work with, and one of the most dedicated students he’s seen.

“As a dedicated student and leader, he was always the first to arrive and the last to leave,” said Hill. “It is his dedication and earnest involvement on campus and in the community that will allow him to graduate with distinction. It is this drive, determination and ability that will make him a valued asset at any company he chooses.”

Garcia will graduate with a 3.9 grade-point average, with honors and memories he said he will cherish and miss.

Along with adjusting to student life and studying to maintain his impressive GPA, Garcia also served as TSTC in Fort Bend County’s Student Government Association president, where he recently led a school supply drive and benefit and was one of the first inductees into the campuses newly established honor society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, where he served as vice president.

Garcia also worked on campus as a Student Ambassador and New Student Orientation volunteer conducting campus tours and welcoming new and prospective students on campus.

“Being active on campus gave me a whole new outlook on college and improved my experience,” said Garcia. “It allowed me to meet new people, make new friends, make a difference in the community, and make college memorable. I’ve enjoyed every moment and I’m going to miss it.”

So what’s next for Garcia?

He already has a few job offers on the table that he is reviewing. He ultimately hopes to work as a network administrator and Garcia is looking forward to celebrating this accomplishment with his wife, parents and in-laws on Thursday and can’t wait to put on his cap and gown and walk across the commencement stage.

TSTC in Fort Bend County’s Commencement Ceremony will be held Thursday, August 16 at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas at 6 p.m.

TSTC’s first registered nursing graduates honored at ceremony

(HARLINGEN) – Daniel Avila recently shared with a room full of his classmates, their families and friends that he first realized he wanted to become a nurse when his son was in the neonatal intensive care unit after he was born.

“Author Mark Twain once said, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why,’ and this is when I found my why,” he said.

Now six years later, Avila found himself telling his story as the salutatorian of the first registered nursing cohort at Texas State Technical College during the program’s first pinning ceremony.

“The feeling of helplessness, the fear of the unknown and seeing other families struggling in the NICU the way we were was my motivation,” said Avila. “I didn’t want to be clueless about my son and his care, so that’s when I told my wife I’m becoming a nurse and I’m going to work in the NICU someday.”

So the Avila family sold their possessions, moved in with Avila’s mother-in-law, he left his job as a customer service representative with United Health Care and went back to school.

The 26-year-old and father of two first graduated with a certificate as a vocational nurse from a local community college, but found himself left out of the registered nursing program three years in a row.

“There were so many bumps in the road and this was my biggest one,” he said. “I tried three times and each time was a no.”

After speaking with a friend, who told him about TSTC’s vocational nursing to registered nursing transition program, Avila called Shirley Byrd, the program’s director, and found out he had only 24 hours to take his entrance exam and apply.

And so he did.

“I’m so honored to be a part of this first cohort,” he said. “It’s been a great experience being able to pave the way for future classes and I can’t wait to come back and mentor students.”

Avila first became a nurse to work in the NICU, but along the way he found a new passion: working with cardiac patients. He has accepted an offer at Harlingen Medical Center in the Cardiac Care Unit and will start as early as September 1, contingent on him passing the National Council Licensure Examination.

“I’m so excited for this new journey. My family has sacrificed so much, but this job makes everything worth it,” said Avila. “Heart disease is prevalent in our area and with my parents growing older I want to understand the issue to help educate and advocate for my family and patients.”

Avila is one of 29 TSTC registered nursing students who recently graduated and pinned into the profession.

The pinning ceremony is a tradition the program will follow annually and dates back thousands of years. It is a rite of passage that represents sacred healing and the commitment to caring for others and the official welcoming into the profession.

“Pinning our students is an honor and sense of accomplishment,” said Byrd. “We’ve have good and bad times, ups and downs, but we all prevailed, they succeeded. I’m so proud of them and I’m excited to see where their futures take them.”

Perfect attendance awards, registered nursing club officer awards and student leadership awards were also presented.

“I hope this ceremony has been as important to you as mine was to me,” said Amy Flores, chief nursing officer at Harlingen Medical Center. “You are now reaping the reward, this pin is your gold medal. Always remember that patients are counting on you and will reap the benefit of your hard work. All patients need your caring touch, so be committed to doing it right and your mind open to learning.”

For more information the vocational nursing to registered nursing transition program at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

Student Success Profile – Megan Trevino

(HARLINGEN) – Megan TrevinoMegan Trevino is a Digital Media Design student at Texas State Technical College. The 26-year-old expects to earn her associate degree in Summer 2019.

Although busy as a work study at the TSTC Print Shop, the social media chair for the Junior League of Harlingen and media team leader at Abundant Life Church, the Harlingen native has maintained a 3.7 grade-point average.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I plan on concentrating full-time on my business “Megan Monique Designs.” I already offer graphic design and marketing services to a few business owners and realtors.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to continuing growing my business, growing my clientele and being successful in my endeavors, especially because this is my second chance, second career choice after being unable to find a job with my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment at TSTC has been maintaining my high GPA because balancing a full-time class schedule, my business, my work-study job and extracurricular activities has not been easy.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is that it is okay to take risks. I took a huge one coming back to school, but with the support of my family it has all been possible. I have found nothing but doors of opportunity opening in my favor.

Who at TSTC has had the greatest influence on your success?

All of my Digital Media Design instructors have influenced my success. They are always available to lend a helping hand and to share their knowledge. As experienced professionals who have also worked in the field, they have been able to advise me on my business also.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice for future TSTC students is to soak up as much information as they can, ask a lot of questions, remember that your instructors are there to help you succeed and never give up.

TSTC partners with UTRGV Veterans Upward Bound program

(HARLINGEN) – Johnny Rivera, a Computer Networking and Security Technology student at Texas State Technical College and U.S. Navy veteran, joined the Veterans Upward Bound program in Spring 2018.

Veterans Upward Bound is an organization aiding veterans in Cameron County and providing a way to level the playing field between those continuously pursuing education and veterans that serve and then return to school.

The program hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at TSTC’s Veterans Center also provides one-on-one tutoring services, equipment such as calculators and laptops, financial aid assistance and preparatory TSI tests.

Rivera described the program and his time at the Veterans Center as pleasant and accessible with many resources to meet his day-to-day tasks.Veterans Upward Bound

“They have thought of everything you could possibly need. It’s all under one roof,” he said. “I recommend the program to any veteran seeking to make the most out of their education.”

Rivera, who plans to graduate Summer 2020 with an associate degree, said the program has helped him tremendously.

“Here at TSTC I’m receiving the building blocks to transfer to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree in business administration,” said Rivera. “And it’s the VB program that has helped me. It’s so beneficial having someone guide me through the process of re-entering college.”

Jose Villegas, TSTC Veterans Center program officer, said when UTRGV reached out to TSTC to establish a partnership with Veterans Upward Bound, they knew they had to accept.

“We were excited to see how it could benefit not only our students here at TSTC, but other veterans in our area,” said Villegas. “Not only does the program serve TSTC students, but also veterans throughout Cameron County.”

Villegas said the program is able to become more accessible now that it is at TSTC and grow in the number of veterans served  in Cameron County.

Lizette McNaine, a Veterans Upward Bound program representative, said she sees the partnership with TSTC and the program expanding in the future.

“We are aiming to increase our scope to reach more veterans,” said McNaine. “We are unbiased and work with veterans no matter their college or university degree of interest.”

The Veterans Upward Bound program grant began in 1999 and was recently approved for another five years.

For more information about the services offered at the TSTC Veterans Center, call 956-364-4386.

TSTC Graduates 12 at Summer Commencement

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College celebrated its summer commencement ceremony in Hutto Friday, Aug. 10. Twelve graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

“This is a celebration of our graduates’ efforts, and a recognition of all they have accomplished,” TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said. “Tonight’s ceremony acknowledges the completion of study and dedication by our summer graduates and signifies the beginning of their professional careers.”

Robb Misso, Founder and CEO of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

“Start your path,” Misso told the graduates. “Understand your skills and your capabilities.”

He urged graduates to continue developing in their careers.

“The more that I learn, the more that I realize that it’s a journey,” Misso said. “You can’t stop. As soon as you stop, you stop progressing. You stop growing. It’s so important that you don’t ever quit. When you start something, persevere.”

Industrial Maintenance graduate Damian Helmbold was selected for the Provost Award, an award given to a student who has demonstrated high academic performance, exceptional character and student leadership, and who has influenced their peers to strive for excellence.

“I’m totally honored and surprised,” Helmbold said. “I wasn’t expecting anything. My family being here, it was a great feeling.”

Helmbold, who has worked for the city of Georgetown for nine years, credits his degree for his new position as a SCADA Technician, which he began six months ago.

Precision Machining Technology graduate Wyatt Hauer was excited to receive his degree. At just 20 years old, he manages Four Points Platinum Machining.

“I’m certified now, so that helps.” Hauer said. “I do everything from programming parts to sweeping floors. I pretty much run the place. It’s the owner, and then me. He handles the business and I handle the shop.”

TSTC in Williamson County graduates earned degrees in six of the programs offered at the campus – Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Welding.

TSTC is registering for the fall semester through Aug. 20. For more information on the college, visit tstc.edu.

For a gallery of photos from the ceremony, click here.

TSTC student inspired by sons with muscular dystrophy

By Emily Swartz

(FORT BEND) – Joshua Schott, a Texas State Technical College Robotics Technology student, grew up in less-than ideal circumstances.

“Growing up I had no idea where my next meal was going to come from,” said Schott. “My life was less about success through education and more about survival.”

Schott attended Palacios High School where he received a 2.1 grade-point average.

During that time, school was not a priority.

“I didn’t receive much of a high school education,” said Schott. “I knew that I didn’t have many options as far as higher education, but I ended up getting my degree anyways at ITT Technical Institute.”

At ITT Tech, Schott refocused on his education. He received a 4.0 grade-point average and graduated with an associate degree in Electronics.

The father of four worked menial jobs after earning his degree to provide for his family.Joshua Schott

Without much luck finding a job in his desired field, he made the decision to enroll at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County.

“My wife is the person that inspired me to pursue my education. We did our research together and waited for the Fort Bend campus to open,” said Schott.

The 38-year-old plans to earn his associate degree in Summer 2020 to venture out into the medical field. He wants to help develop new exoskeletal technology to aid in mobility for people that are paraplegic, including his two sons with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is an inherited disorder of progressive muscular weakness typically in boys and in one of the many types of muscular dystrophy.

“My sons are where I get my passion from,” said Schott. “I really want to make a difference for them through my career. “My dream is that all kids confined to wheelchairs are granted this opportunity.”

Darcy Schott, Schott’s wife speaks to his resilience.

“Joshua is a dedicated husband and father. He has never given up,” she said. “He gives his time selflessly and is always willing to help another person in any way he can. Robotics is just another way for him to tirelessly help not only his family, but humanity as a whole.”

Schott’s family members are not the only ones proud of him. TSTC Electronic Power and Controls instructor Jonathan Bonkoske sings praises for the helpful student.

“He is a high quality student who personifies the technical skills education that TSTC provides,” said Bonkoske. “He has always been available to help those who need a hand with class work and I look forward to seeing him excel in our program and his career.”

Schott’s wishes for after graduation are simple.

“I hope to provide enough finances to purchase a house, to no longer rely on government assistance, and take my family on a vacation,” he said.

For more information on the Texas State Technical College Robotics Technology program, visit tstc.edu.

Registration is going on now. First day of class is August 27.

TSTC Wind Energy Technology Program Contributing to Area Economy

(SWEETWATER) — A summer breeze floating through Texas brings a moment of relief for some residents, but thousands of Texans are taking advantage of each gust as a clean energy source.

Texas State Technical College and Nolan County are working together to lead the charge in the nation’s number one renewable energy source: wind energy.

“In Nolan County alone we’ve seen more than 250 jobs emerge because of wind energy,” said Ken Becker, executive director of Sweetwater Economic Development. “Whether it’s maintenance, manufacturing or installation there’s an opportunity in multiple fields and that’s feeding back into the community.”

With no intention of slowing down, the industry is clamoring for more and more people.

“Wind energy is growing,” said Billie Jones, a TSTC Wind Energy Technology instructor. “It’s a renewable energy source, so it’s it going to be here when we run out of other fuel sources which means there is definitely job security.”

Locally, wind energy helps rural communities like Sweetwater with new sources of income and tax revenue. Globally, it provides an opportunity for the more adventurous to travel and work in various locations.

“I accepted a job with KBA and after I graduate in December they will be flying me to Germany for a year of training,” said Kaitlin Sullivan, a TSTC Wind Energy Technology student. “I’m so excited because I get to travel but also because my job options are pretty much limitless in this industry.”

Sullivan grew up watching wind turbines pop up in her hometown of Dumas, but assures that the industry is accepting of anyone willing to learn and interested in clean energy.

“I had already earned a bachelor’s degree in English but couldn’t find a job I liked, so I went back to school at TSTC and found my calling,” said Sullivan.

The wind energy industry has evolved from many field technicians learning as they worked to having specific industry standards, training and certification requirements for all wind turbine technicians.

“Back in 2007 when I entered the wind industry there were no wind turbine training programs and very few experienced wind turbine technicians,” said Tony Robinette, field operations and recruiting manager at SystemOne, which has locations in Amarillo, Dallas and Houston. “Now, training programs like TSTC have created clear paths for entry into the wind industry to meet the rising demand and create more opportunities for wind technicians.”

As global populations grow, so does the demand for energy.

“This industry is here to stay,” Becker said. “We use energy everyday and we need to pursue something sustainable like wind energy because it is renewable and it gives back in a positive way to the surrounding communities.”

TSTC offers the Wind Energy Technician certificate and the Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology.

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

First Cohort of Gerdau Workers to Graduate from TSTC

(RED OAK) – The first cohort of workers from Gerdau’s Midlothian Steel Mill will walk the stage at Texas State Technical College’s first Commencement on Monday, Aug. 20, in Waxahachie.

The company began sending employees to further their training at the campus in 2015. The eight students who will walk the stage Monday worked full-time while attending TSTC to earn their associate degrees in Industrial Maintenance.

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said the college is looking forward to celebrating the occasion.

“We are very excited to not only be able to host our first ever Commencement ceremony here in North Texas, but also to have the opportunity to celebrate the first cohort of Gerdau employees graduating with the AAS in Industrial Maintenance,” he said.

Ryan Hube, Gerdau Midlothian Human Resources Manager, said the employees are already benefiting from their training.

“Many of them have already accepted maintenance apprenticeship positions throughout the mill,” he said. “With continued hands-on training they will hopefully have long careers as industrial millwrights or electricians here at Gerdau.”

Balch said he is proud to see area companies investing in their employees.

“What a tremendous accomplishment, and, what a great company Gerdau is to invest in their employees and provide opportunities for these employees to grow within their organization,” he said. “We at TSTC couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this partnership.”

Sixty students are eligible to graduate from eight of the college’s 10 programs in Red Oak.

The Summer 2018 commencement will be at 6 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser will be the featured speaker at the event.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Receives Nationwide Aviation Scholarship

(WACO) – James Floyd is soaring not only in his studies at Texas State Technical College, but also in receiving a financial boost.

Floyd was one of two college students nationwide to recently receive a $2,000 scholarship from Mesa Airlines and the international coed aviation fraternity Alpha Eta Rho.

“It will help with supplies, books and tuition,” said Floyd, 32. “I am blessed. I’ve worked hard. This will be my 11th semester at TSTC.”

Floyd is president of the Alpha Eta Rho’s Alpha Pi Chapter based at TSTC.

“People want to naturally follow him,” said Robert Capps, a TSTC aviation maintenance instructor. “He was always a cool head.”

Floyd is scheduled to graduate in 2019 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Avionics Technology. This will be his fourth associate degree from TSTC.

“I wanted to expand my knowledge to work on any part of the aircraft,” said Floyd.

Floyd grew up in Round Rock and graduated from homeschooling in 2003.

He was in the U.S. Air Force from 2004 to 2010 and left the service as a senior airman. He did three deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq and a support deployment to the United Arab Emirates.

“I wanted to serve my country to do my part to ensure our U.S. Constitution is upheld,” said Floyd.

After the military, he worked for an armored courier service but realized he needed other skills to  ensure his success.

In 2014, he enrolled at TSTC in Williamson County and graduated two years later with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology.

“TSTC in general came highly recommended from my parents, friends and elders,” Floyd said. “I wanted a trade I could fall back on.”

He said he enjoyed precision tungsten inert gas, or TIG, welding and learn it can be used in the aviation field. In fall 2016, he transferred to TSTC in Waco and began studying aviation maintenance.

Floyd finished associate degrees in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology earlier this year.

“You need the A&P (airframe and powerplant) before you touch an aircraft,” he said. “I think I adapted pretty quickly, especially to the airframe side. I had worked with metal before when I was in welding.”

Martin Seagraves, the lead instructor in TSTC’s Avionics Technology department, said graduates having the Aircraft Airframe Technology, Aircraft Powerplant Technology and Avionics Technology degrees means they can fix anything on an aircraft.

“These graduates are in very high demand,” said Seagraves. “Employers come find them.”

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

Registration for fall classes is ongoing through the end of the month.

Student to Graduate from High School and TSTC Simultaneously

(WACO) — How do you get ahead of the competition?

According to Texas State Technical College student Josie Price, it is by graduating high school a month before graduating college at 18 years old.  

Price, of Mt. Calm,  is a candidate for graduation for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Visual Communication Technology at TSTC’s Summer 2018 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, at the Waco Convention Center.

Just a month ago, she earned her high school diploma through homeschooling. Price credited her nearly simultaneous graduations to dual credit hours at TSTC and the flexibility offered with homeschooling.

“TSTC was phenomenal in allowing me to get everything done quickly but thoroughly,” Price said. “It really allowed me to get more accomplished to be ahead in life and stay ahead.”

On top of her studies, Price balances working at an antique shop, an internship and serving as a writer and member of the board for a startup website, Temple of Geek.

“I just can’t stand to be still,” Price said. “I’ve learned so many things from each job that are molding me into a better professional and allowing me to pursue my passions.”

Price’s dedication and ambition resonate with her instructors and even surprises them when they learn of her age.

“If she hadn’t told me she was high school school student I wouldn’t have known,” said Stacie Buterbaugh, a TSTC Visual Communication Technology instructor. “She’s so mature, confident and talented. She’s such a great communicator and a real motivated self learner.”

According to the Texas Home School Coalition, it is not uncommon for homeschoolers to graduate early or even obtain a college degree at younger ages.

“If I have learned anything, it’s that hard work trumps talent every time. You are competing against yourself and only if you push yourself to be better will you succeed,” Price said.

For more information about TSTC, log onto tstc.edu.