TSTC Introduces Robotics Technology Degree to Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND) – Robots are a way of the future. They can be found inside manufacturing and distribution centers and state-of-the-art factories and at Texas State Technical College.

Students can now enroll in Robotics Technology, one of four new programs being offered at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, and learn how to program and operate a fast-growing robotic population.

“Our program offers students a path to learning cutting-edge automated system technologies in the industry,” said TSTC’s State Department Chair of Instrumentation Technology Bob Lovelace.

Robotics Technology is a five-semester program in which students learn about automated manufacturing processes, the role of robots and support equipment through instruction in areas such as motion programming, conveyor systems and computer networking.

Students in the program will also receive hands-on, real-word experience in the class with the opportunity of setting up industrial robots and designing and building electromechanical Robotics Technology studentcontrol systems.

“Our students will train with the most used industrial robots in the industry,” said Lovelace. “Because of our training they will be able to be successful in any manufacturing job they find themselves in.”

Lovelace added that a career in robotics can be diverse and gives graduates an array of options when job searching. He also proudly stated that this type of accomplishment has been evident with the Robotic Technology program in Waco since 1999.

“The demand for highly-skilled technicians is growing,” he said. “And we provide the best entry-level technicians money can buy.”

Graduates from TSTC’s Robotics Technology can expect to find jobs as robotic technicians, electro-mechanical technicians, mechanical engineering technicians and electromechanical equipment assemblers.

“We put as much emphasis on putting people to work, as we do putting them in the classroom,” said Lovelace. “It is this effort that makes TSTC students and our funding model successful.”

TSTC has an outcome-based funding model meaning TSTC gets paid based on students’ job placement and earnings after they graduate, rather than initial enrollment.

“Our students have no limits on where they can go after getting a degree from TSTC,” said Lovelace. “And in this new program it’s no different.”

For more information on Robotics Technology and to apply and register anytime, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC National Guard Student Deployed for Harvey Relief

(HARLINGEN) – Texas State Technical College student and National Guard reservist Lino Gonzalez was recently deployed to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in coastal East Texas, derailing his plans to attend TSTC for the Fall 2017 semester.

The deployment, originally scheduled for late August through September, forced Gonzalez to withdraw from his Wind Energy Technology classes for fear of falling behind.

However, during deployment his orders changed, and Gonzalez got the opportunity to return home with his wife and two-year-old son earlier than planned. But he had already lost the semester.

“We go when and where we’re needed,” said Gonzalez. “This has in no way discouraged me from coming back.”

The Mercedes native will register to return to TSTC Wind Energy Technology in the spring.Lino Gonzalez

TSTC Veteran Center Director Steve Guevara said that, in accordance with state statutes and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rules, college or university students like Gonzalez who are called to active duty as guard soldiers or reservists have three options. They can choose to receive a full refund of tuition and fees already paid; if eligible, receive an incomplete grade in all courses by designating “withdrawn military” on transcripts; or, as determined by the instructor, receive a final grade or credit if a substantial amount of coursework has been satisfactorily completed.

“We try to assist our active military and veteran students the best way we can,” said Guevara. “Our goal is to help them get the education they deserve and want.”

In Gonzalez’s case, he took the withdrawal option and dropped his courses. He said everything was settled quickly with no penalties, and it was like he never registered for the semester at all.

“Everyone was so helpful,” said Gonzalez. “My withdrawal process was smooth and stress-free, thanks to the help I received from my program instructor David Gomez and Veteran Center staff.”

While deployed, Gonzalez, who is also an Army veteran, helped the communities of Corpus Christi, Victoria, Katy, Beaumont and Port Arthur. He assisted the fire departments with evacuations, search and rescue, and debris cleanup.

“Hurricane Harvey was devastating to many communities and families. What we saw was surreal,” said Gonzalez. “That’s why, no matter the situation, it’s important to me to always help and serve.”

Gonzalez was 22 years old when he enlisted in the Army. The veteran Army specialist served eight years, with two tours in Afghanistan and Korea. During and after his time in the Army he worked as a generator mechanic and provided internet to military bases.

“What I did in the military goes hand in hand with what I’m studying now,” said Gonzalez. “I’m a hands-on learner and worker, and Wind Energy Technology and mechanics is what I see myself doing long term.”

The 31-year-old expects to earn his associate degree in Spring 2019 and looks forward to working as a Wind Turbine Technician.

For more information on the TSTC Veteran Center or Wind Energy Technology, visit tstc.edu.

Student Success Profile

(HARLINGEN) – Celina CasaresThis is Texas State Technical College student Celina Cazares’ first semester in college, but she is already proving herself with good grades and as an active member of the TSTC Service Squad and Agriculture Club.

The Brownsville native is a recent graduate of Lopez High School. The 18-year-old expects to complete her Academic Core by Spring 2019.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m already looking into registered nursing programs. I want to study to be a nurse once I’m done with my academic classes. The idea of me being able to help others is what I love about nursing.

What’s your dream job?

 My dream is to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing, practicing my skills in a hospital or clinic and continuing my education for a master’s degree and maybe even doctorate degree.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment so far has been being selected for the Student Success Profile honor. It has given me the confidence I need, and I hope someone will read my article and get inspired to enroll at TSTC.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned comes from my parents, who always push me to do my best. They always tell me that if I want something to fight for it and not stop until I get it. So every time I run into an obstacle I remember this and I tell myself I can do better.

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

My Anatomy and Physiology instructor, Paul Leonard, and my Diet and Nutrition instructor, Michael Gay, have been my greatest influencers thus far. I love the way they teach and keep us engaged. They make a student want to come to class. And of course I need to mention my best friend since sixth grade, Angie Cruz. She’s also a student at TSTC. She keeps me sane when I’m stressed and is one of my biggest motivators and encouragers.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

I want future and current students to remember one thing: At the end of the day everything you do is your choice and the future is yours, so make the best of it.

 

TSTC Receives Latest ULA Donation Installment

(HARLINGEN) – United Launch Alliance recently donated $500 to Texas State Technical College’s SkillsUSA Precision Manufacturing 2017-18 competition team.

The donation comes as the latest installment of $168,600 that ULA has already given to the college for student scholarships and equipment.

Ralph Luaces, site lead at ULA Harlingen, said they are ecstatic about being able to help a program that has proven to be effective.

“ULA is happy to support the SkillsUSA program at TSTC,” said Luaces. “The students’ recent success in competition has shown that the program is very effective in developing and preparing students to enter the workforce.”

One of ULA’s largest donations came in 2015, when the company gave TSTC $40,000 for the college’s Challenger Learning Center Planetarium.

TSTC Senior Development Officer Amy Lynch said ULA is one of TSTC’s largest partners and supporters.TSTC and ULA Check Presentation

“ULA supports our college and its students not only with monetary contributions for scholarships but also with tool and equipment donations and by hiring our students,” said Lynch. “They’re a great asset to our college and our community.”

The recent contribution made to TSTC’s SkillsUSA Precision Manufacturing team will be used to fund equipment upgrades for the team’s Urban Search and Rescue robot, SkillsUSA uniforms and blazers, and personal protection equipment.

Just last year, ULA gave $1,000 for the purchase of a new robot kit and additional upgrades that put the robot at a more competitive level, and this year’s donation will help do the same.

The robot had previously been used and upgraded for the 2016 and 2017 SkillsUSA national competitions, respectively.

TSTC Mechatronics Technology student Michael Arreola and recent Mechatronics and Precision Manufacturing Technology graduate Rick Santos were the 2017 Urban Search and Rescue team that used the robot and earned gold medals at the national competition.

TSTC Precision Manufacturing Technology Instructor Rick Limas said it is donations like this one that help TSTC’s SkillsUSA students get to the national level and remain competitive among their peers.

“Industry support is imperative to our younger generation of craftsmen and craftswomen,” said Limas. “It helps our students cross barriers and jump hurdles and gives us insight and knowledge on what employers are looking for so we can get our students hired.”

Limas hopes this longtime partnership with ULA continues to remain strong and steadfast for the benefit of future TSTC students.

“We thank ULA and all of our industry leaders for their monetary, material and training support they provide to our students,” added Limas. “And we hope to continue working with everyone so that we can continue to provide our students with cutting-edge technology that will prepare them to be successful in industry.”

To donate to SkillsUSA and help TSTC students get to the 2018 SkillsUSA national competition, call The TSTC Foundation at 956-364-4500.

For more information on Precision Manufacturing Technology, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Vice Chancellor Takes on Provost Role

(HARLINGEN) – Rick Herrera first stepped foot on Texas State Technical College grounds when he was a student in the 1980’s and he never imagined the success and the family he would find at the college nearly 20 years later.

The San Benito native earned his associate degree from Texas State Technical Institute in 1987, before it became TSTC, in Industrial Data Processing, now known as computer science.

For the next two decades, Herrera had a rewarding career in the manufacturing industry as a programmer, engineering manager, production manager and site director for a maquiladora plant in Northern Mexico.

“At this point it was time to come back home and be closer to my children, so when the opportunity at TSTC presented itself I took it,” said Herrera.

The jump from manufacturing to higher education in 2009 was a change for Herrera, but his knowledge and skill quickly moved him up the ranks.

“Coming from industry it was about working effectively and efficiently to meet stakeholder profit,” said Herrera. “At TSTC, it’s about working for the benefit of our students. It’s important to me that we help them fulfil their version of the ‘American Dream.’”

Herrera is now TSTC Vice Chancellor and Chief Integration Officer and Interim Provost for the Harlingen campus – the highest local position.Rick Herrera

During his time at TSTC, Herrera has served as Director of Administrative Technology, Project Manager in charge of implementing TSTC’s statewide online learning management system and Associate Vice President of Technology Management.

In 2010, former TSTC Chancellor Bill Segura appointed Herrera as Chief Technology Officer before being promoted to his current positions of Vice Chancellor and Chief Integration Officer by TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser in 2011 and 2017 respectively.

“Through the years and in my new positions I’ve had to reevaluate my leadership styles,” said Herrera. “All of my experiences have really opened my eyes to coaching, mentoring and guiding, communicating effectively and applying change.”

Herrera said as provost, internal and external communication is an integral part of his role.

“It is my duty and goal to always ensure that communication is effective to all parts of our organization so that we all work toward the same mission and goals,” said Herrera. “We’ve experienced a lot of change recently and have been fortunate to have employee support and voices to shed light on new or missed opportunities.”

In addition, Herrera said he will also continue to work hard to remain connected to the community and its industries.

“This type of connection is important to keep our programs relevant and ensure we offer those that are in high demand,” he added. “It’s important that we continue to meet the needs of our community and industry while remaining true to our mission.”

In his role as provost, Herrera will conduct outreach and meet with elected officials, economic development representatives, community and industry leaders and TSTC alumni to find out where TSTC can help and to build partnerships that will help the community grow.

For the past eight years, Herrera said being part of the TSTC family has been a great experience like none other.

“TSTC a different kind of place,” he said. “The family-type atmosphere permeates all around whether you’re an employee or a student.”

Herrera said, by working together, TSTC will continue to support student success and make sure that everyone who steps through the college’s door will be trained and prepared to leave with a new or better-paying job in their field of study.

TSTC in Waco Auto Collision Students Receive Recognition

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College students Hector Corujo and Jose M. Rodriguez have a lot in common.

Corujo, 34, and Rodriguez, 45, are natives of Puerto Rico and U.S. Army veterans. They are both studying in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program and have received a national scholarship for members of the military and veterans.

The students received the 2017 3M Hire Our Heroes scholarship sponsored by the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division and the Collision Repair Education Foundation. Corujo and Rodriguez were among 12 veterans receiving $2,000 scholarships. The students also were among 40 veterans who received tool grants.

“It helped me a lot,” Corujo said. “It took a burden off my shoulders. I feel like when I go out in the industry, I will be a more complete technician.”

The students were encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Clint Campbell, department chair of Auto Collision and Management Technology at TSTC.

“Any of the ex-military students tend to be mature coming to class and doing their work,” Campbell said. “They are prompt in being on time. They become leaders in the class.”

Corujo moved as a teenager from Puerto Rico to Florida, where he graduated from high school. The Killeen resident spent 14 years in the U.S. Army and worked as a light wheel vehicle mechanic. His Army stint included three tours of duty in Iraq.

Corujo is studying for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology – Refinishing Specialization with future plans to pursue the Advanced Technical Certificate in Auto Collision Refinishing.

He is scheduled to graduate in December 2018. His goal after graduation is to open his own auto collision and refinishing shop and own a home in the Hill Country with horses.

“I just like working on cars,” he said. “It keeps me at ease in dealing with PTSD for me.”

Rodriguez, of Kempner, grew up in Puerto Rico and studied criminal justice but could not find a quality job. His sister convinced him to join the military at 32 and he spent 11 years working in military intelligence. Rodriguez did one tour of duty in Afghanistan and two tours of duty in Iraq.

Rodriguez is working on a certificate in Auto Body Refinishing and is scheduled to graduate in December. He wants to work in an auto body shop after graduation.

He hesitated to apply for the scholarship at first because he felt others needed it more than he did. But in the end, Rodriguez said he was happy he received the recognition.

Rodriguez said he has enjoyed meeting other veteran-students while at TSTC.

“You exchange experiences and advice and opinions,” he said. “You get to help the younger students to be more proactive. We tell them to look ahead of the situation and think two steps ahead.”

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

Student Success Profile

(HARLINGEN) – Ana EscamillaAna Escamilla is completing her Academic Core at Texas State Technical College. The Rio Hondo native expects to complete her courses Summer 2018.

When the 18-year-old is not busy studying, she is volunteering around campus and her community with the TSTC Service Squad.

Escamilla is also a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), a certification she earned as a junior at Harlingen High School, and has worked in her field as a CNA at Windsor Atrium in Harlingen.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I want to work toward getting into a registered nursing program, and eventually transfer to a local university to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. My passion in life is helping others and there is nothing better than helping to nurse a person or baby back to good health.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment so far has been having the motivation to enroll in college. I really wanted to take time off to keep working partly because I was afraid of failure. Coming back has been the best decision I could have ever made.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

I have learned the lesson of hard work from my parents. My parents and I have struggled a lot financially, and seeing them work so hard to support me and help my dreams come true means the world to me. Their hard work is my motivation to be successful. It’s going to be my way of paying them back for everything they have done.

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

Steve Guevara, TSTC Veteran Center director, and Jose Villegas, Veteran Center program officer, have had the most influence on my success. My dad is a veteran and I’m using his Hazlewood Act to get an education, and these two men have guided me through the entire paperwork and registration processes.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

The best advice I have for students in general is do not procrastinate. Someone once told me this and from experience procrastination makes life harder. Get things done ahead of time and semesters will not seem as stressful.

 

TSTC Micronauts Program Explores STEM Education

(HARLINGEN) – Three, two one… lift off. Texas State Technical College’s Micronaut Program at the Challenger Learning Center is launching for its second year in October and is already booking missions.

Yvette Mendoza, TSTC’s coordinator for the Center for Science and Math Education, said this program is about helping elementary-age students increase their understanding and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.

“We want to plant the STEM seed at an early age,” said Mendoza. “This will open their eyes to the many opportunities that are out there for them.”

The Challenger Learning Center hosts flight missions for junior and high school students while the Micronauts Program is open to kindergarten through fourth grade students from across the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.

“We’ve had schools as far as Falfurrias bring their students to our center,” said Mendoza. TSTC Micronauts Program“Teachers believe in the program and how it benefits their students.”

The Micronauts program offers students the opportunity to learn science with hands-on projects such as building circuit boards, experimenting with kinetic sand, magnets and microscopes, and learning about computer coding and the solar system.

Students also get to experience the Challenger space shuttle and TSTC’s planetarium.

“The best part of this program is seeing how excited the children get walking through our building, riding our space shuttle and doing their projects,” said Mendoza. “The enthusiasm in their voices lets us know this program is a success.”

What makes the program popular among teachers and parents is that each lesson is aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) required curriculum and testing.

“Eventually, everything the students learn during Micronauts will be taught by their teachers in class,” said Mendoza.

The program runs on a school-year calendar, beginning in October and ending in May, giving teachers and schools a chance to book their missions at their convenience.

“This is the first step in STEM education,” said Mendoza. “In the past year more than 5,300 students have visited our center and our goal is to enhance the way each of these students thinks about science and related fields.”

To enroll in Micronauts or for more information on how to book a mission call the Challenger Learning Center at 956-364-4125.

 

TSTC Nursing Program Welcomes New Class

(HARLINGEN) – The Fall 2017 semester marked a new beginning for the Registered Nursing program at Texas State Technical College and the 30 students who make up its newly formed class.

The students are part of TSTC’s licensed vocational nurse to registered nurse transition program. It’s a one-of-a-kind in Cameron County and has already proved to be a highly-competitive and an in-demand program.

TSTC Vocational Registered Nursing Program Director Shirley Byrd said it was always the college’s number one priority to reopen the program after a two-year hiatus to revamp curriculum and improve passing rates.

“We’re back and ready to produce highly-skilled, compassionate nurses,” said Byrd. “We have a lot of support from TSTC administration and the excitement surrounding this program is immense.”

TSTC’s Vocational Registered Nursing program accepts 30 students per year and the program runs from August to August.

And for many students like Daniel Avila, who had to compete with 60 other applicants to be accepted into the program’s inaugural class, this means a chance at a new career and life for him and his family.TSTC Registered Nursing

Avila, husband and father of two, is already a licensed vocational nurse. He graduated from Rio Grande Valley College in 2013 and works in the home health care sector.

The 25-year-old said TSTC’s nursing program puts him one step closer to his long-term goal of becoming a nurse practitioner and being able to better support his family.

He added he was first inspired to pursue a nursing career after his son spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“I love what I do right now, but I know being a registered nurse will open doors of opportunity for me,” he said. “I want to be an advocate for patients the way my son’s nurses were for him.”

Avila said he could have chosen to do nursing anywhere, but he chose TSTC because Byrd and other nursing program staff believed in him immediately and were great at communicating what was needed to apply unlike other programs he had looked into.

“TSTC really helps us strive to be our best,” added Avila. “Everyone wants us to succeed, probably more than we want to. This is the setting that will help me be a leader in my field.”

Students enrolled in TSTC’s Registered Nursing program will learn advanced nursing skills such as intravenous (IV) therapy, patient assessment and care planning, in addition to managerial skills.

TSTC nursing students will have access to a new state-of-the-art nursing center on campus with classrooms and simulation labs filled with the latest technologies used in the nursing and medical fields.

“Our goal for this program is to not only teach to have a 100 percent national exam pass rate, but also produce dedicated and compassionate nurses,” said Byrd.

Students who successfully complete the nursing program, must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination, a standardized exam required by the state board of nursing.

Careers in nursing are available at places such as hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities.

As for Avila, he said he is keeping an open mind about what he will do when he graduates in August 2018, but for now added that he is thankful for the opportunity of being accepted into this program.

“So far the program has exceeded all of my expectations,” he said. “This is something I have wanted for a long time.”

Applications for the Fall 2018 class open in March 2018.

For more information on the RN program, call the TSTC Nursing Center at 956-364-4983 or visit tstc.edu.

 

TSTC Welcomes Two New Recruiters

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College welcomed two new student recruiters this month at its Williamson County campus.
Stephanie Guillory, of Round Rock, and Melissa Zamora, of Hutto, joined the recruitment team at the beginning of September.
Guillory made the move to TSTC after working for Round Rock ISD for 15 years, beginning as a teacher and later working in administration. She and her husband, who is also a teacher, share a passion for education.
“I want to help students reach their highest potential. My husband and I were raised in two different households. My husband is one of 19, and I’m an only child. For myself, being raised by a single mom, it was a big deal to get an education and have a successful career. It was ingrained in me early, but my husband didn’t have that. He was encouraged more by his teachers.”
Guillory became interested in joining higher education by listening to recruiters at college nights with her students.
“I wanted a career change, but I still wanted to be in higher education,” she said. “The recruiters piqued my interest.”
So far, Guillory is enjoying the position and is eager to tell students about TSTC.
“I’m excited about being able to go to schools and tell them about TSTC and what we have to offer. I’ve been in the classroom for so long and all they’ve promoted are the four-year colleges, not a trade or another option for post-high school. I’m excited to get the word out.”
Zamora is a four-year TSTC veteran who moved to Hutto from TSTC’s Harlingen campus. She is excited to see the campus grow.
“I know what TSTC has to offer, so I’m excited about spreading that across the state,” she said. “I love the transparency of the Williamson County campus. We can view so much — our labs and facilities — while we’re giving our tours.”
Zamora has also enjoyed the campus faculty and staff.
“Everybody has been so welcoming,” she said. “It feels like a very strong TSTC community.”
As a TSTC graduate herself, Zamora wanted to help students navigate their college years.
“I was kind of clueless as a student, and I think that’s what made me want to help others,” she said. “I’m a first-generation college student and I’m the youngest in my family. For me it’s like, ‘how can I help someone that was me?'”
Her favorite thing about TSTC is its job placement record.
“We put our money where our mouth is,” she said. “I feel like we’re on the cusp of changing education. We’re about change and we’re about results.”
TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla was happy to welcome the two to the team.
“It’s exciting to see great talent joining our Williamson County team,” he said. “Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge and institutional experience from her previous role in Harlingen and will immediately contribute to our success. Stephanie is a longtime educator with Round Rock ISD and understands the evolving nature of secondary education. Her expertise will go a long way in bolstering our recruitment efforts. We are very pleased to welcome them both to our phenomenal team!”
TSTC touts itself as being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.