Author Archives: Daniel Perry

Ohio Company Offering Tuition Reimbursement to TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology Graduates

(WACO) – Crown Equipment Corp. is making it enticing for Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology majors to work for them.

The Ohio-based company specializing in forklift parts and production is offering tuition reimbursement for TSTC’s DET certificate and associate degree graduates from the Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses who are hired as technicians. The tuition plan started earlier this year.

“Every candidate (in the past) we have brought on board has been excellent,” said Joe Razza, a Crown regional recruiter for Louisiana and Texas based in Arlington.

The new hires will have five weeks of training, and after six months they will begin receiving extra money each pay period that can be put toward student loans, Razza said. The amount the company will reimburse is capped at $10,000.

“Getting tuition reimbursement from companies like Crown helps students get off to a solid start,” said Henry Macik, TSTC’s statewide chair for Diesel Equipment Technology. “Instead of worrying about paying off student loans, they can buy tools and invest in their future.”

Crown Equipment Corp. has four Crown Lift Trucks locations in Arlington, Houston, San Antonio and Waco. Razza said there is a push to hire more personnel at its locations in Texas and nationwide.

Kacey Darnell, TSTC’s executive director of Talent Management and Career Services, said students learn about the tuition reimbursement if they express interest in Crown. Razza also tells students about it when he visits TSTC campuses.

“Joe is an auto mechanic by trade and knows what it’s like to be a student,” Darnell said.

Razza said after several visits to TSTC’s campuses, he saw the value in the hands-on education that Diesel Equipment Technology students are receiving. He spoke to staff in Crown’s corporate office and the reimbursement plan was quickly approved.

“We have had a better success rate with TSTC because of the additional training students receive,” Razza said. “TSTC is also willing to train students with workshops in professionalism and soft skills.”

For more information on Crown Equipment Corp., go to crown.com.

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

TSTC in Brownwood to Host Registration Events This Summer

(BROWNWOOD) – Texas State Technical College will have two Registration Rally events this summer in Brownwood.

The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 26 and July 31 at the Enrollment Center/Learning Resource Center at 305 Booker St. in Brownwood. The events are part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students planning to take classes in the fall semester.

“We make it fun,” said Devin Crenshaw, a TSTC college outreach representative. “They can come and do every single thing in one day. It’s easier for people that don’t want to deal with the lengthy process and do a lot of back and forth. They can just come and get it done and not wait until the first class day.”

Visitors can take campus tours and learn about the seven technical programs offered at TSTC in Brownwood, including Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Emergency Medical Services and Welding Technology.

People interested in enrolling should bring a copy of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this summer. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to tstc.edu/rally.

For more information, contact TSTC in Brownwood at 325-643-5987 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Chemical Dependency Counseling Student Teaches Inmates Life Skills

(BROWNWOOD) – Offenders in the Texas prison system sometimes are the forgotten ones who need a guide to find a path toward personal fulfillment.

But people like Norma Vandenberg, a Chemical Dependency Counseling major at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood, are there to teach the life skills they need.

“We do not tell people how to live,” she said. “We help them find better coping skills and how to make better choices.”

Vandenberg, a resident of Dublin in Erath County, is doing a summer practicum in substance abuse and addiction counseling at the Thomas R. Havins Unit in Brownwood. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice pre-release facility holds more than 575 male inmates.

“I teach classes that help the addict understand addiction, anger management, and understanding mental illness and how it mimics addiction,” Vandenberg said. “I also do individual counseling and group counseling and assessments as new clients come in.”

Elizabeth Jones, an instructor in TSTC’s Chemical Dependency Counseling program, said people working in treatment at the Havins Unit are chosen by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. She said a majority of the facility’s counselors are TSTC graduates.

“Norma has the discipline and dedication because of her past career as a nurse,” Jones said. “She is following the guidelines that I tried to establish concerning ethics, professionalism and establishing good boundaries with clients.”

Vandenberg is scheduled to graduate in August with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling from TSTC. Program majors learn about criminology, individual and group counseling skills, and substance-related and addictive disorders.

“I enjoyed school and learning new things and new challenges,” she said.

Vandenberg grew up in Worthington, Minnesota, and is a graduate of Worthington High School She studied nursing at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

“I worked with women recovering from addiction and enjoyed the work,” she said. “I enjoy helping people. I am burned out with nursing, and CDC is still in the medical field.”

After graduation from TSTC, Vandenberg will work full-time at the Havins Unit as a certified criminal justice addiction professional.

Jones said program graduates also go on to work in Austin, Belton, Dallas, San Angelo and San Antonio. She said the Chemical Dependency Counseling program has been used by graduates to work on bachelor’s degrees in nursing, psychology and social work.

“We receive compliments on our students from the program director (at the Havins Unit), and I have received phone calls asking me when I would be graduating students because the Havins Unit was short-staffed on counselors,” said Jones. “Our program lays the foundation for understanding the disease of addiction, and this understanding can be beneficial to all career paths associated with allied health.”

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

TSTC in Breckenridge to Host Registration Events This Summer

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College will have two Registration Rally events this summer in Breckenridge.

The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 19 and July 24 in Room 103 in the Breckenridge Center at 307 N. Breckenridge Ave. The events are part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students planning to take classes in the fall semester.

“This is the best time for everyone to come and get everything done to get registered or check on what they are still needing,” said Cassandra Love, an enrollment specialist at TSTC in Breckenridge.

Visitors can take campus tours and learn about the four technical programs offered at TSTC in Breckenridge: Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding Technology.

People interested in enrolling should bring a copy of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this summer. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to tstc.edu/rally.

For more information, contact TSTC in Breckenridge at 254-559-7700 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC in Abilene to Host Registration Events This Summer

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College will have three Registration Rally events this summer in Abilene.

The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 28, July 25 and Aug. 8 at the main campus at 650 East Highway 80 in Abilene. The events are part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students planning to take classes in the fall semester.

“The registration rallies are important because it gives you an opportunity to meet instructors and clarify anything you need to know about programs and admissions,” said Rikki Spivey, a TSTC college outreach representative.

Visitors can take campus tours and learn about the 15 technical programs offered at TSTC in Abilene, including new programs in Industrial Maintenance, Electrical Power and Controls and Welding Technology.

Construction on the 56,000-square-foot Industrial Technology Center on Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport is scheduled to be completed in time for the first day of the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 27.

People interested in enrolling should bring a copy of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this summer. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to tstc.edu/rally.

For more information, contact TSTC in Abilene at 325-734-3608 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC and Baylor University Partnership Helps Student Reach New Heights

(WACO) – Less than 10 miles apart are two schools connected by their students’ passion for aviation.

Texas State Technical College’s Aircraft Pilot Training Technology program and Baylor University’s Aviation Sciences department work together to give students like Natalie Verhoog the chance to reach new heights.

“I’m really getting a unique college experience going to both schools, and it’s an amazing opportunity. The programs mesh together really well, and I get to fly planes for college credit,” said Verhoog, a Baylor Aviation Sciences sophomore with a Professional Pilot concentration from Redding, California.

TSTC and Baylor’s partnership allows Baylor students to complete ground training on their home campus while attending TSTC to complete flight training.

The Aviation Sciences program at Baylor could not exist without TSTC. Partnership between our two institutions has been the basis for this program since its beginning in 1991,” said Trey Cade, director of Baylor’s Institute for Air Science.

Students earn a 500-hour reduction in the required total flight time by completing the Baylor-TSTC partnership. The Federal Aviation Administration requires pilots to have 1,500 flight hours to enter the airline industry, but these graduates will earn a restricted Airline Transport Pilot license, allowing them to enter with 1,000 flight hours.

“This marriage between Baylor and TSTC offers these students the right environment to enter the industry with (certification for) ground and flight training. Once they meet certain requirements, these students can get into the airline industry well-trained and quickly,” TSTC lead flight instructor Rick Connor said.   

The aviation field was the last thing Verhoog expected to love, but when an impromptu flight lesson in her California hometown swept her off her feet, she knew she had found her calling.

“I fell in love with it. I had never shown any interest in airplanes or flying. I had traveled a lot, but I had never looked at it like that. And then I was instantly in love with it. I knew that’s what I had to do,” Verhoog said.

To feel like she was on the same page with her classmates, Verhoog put in extra hours studying and asked countless questions.

“I asked multiple times to go in the maintenance hangar and would ask for one hour to ask as many questions as I could about the planes that were being worked on,” Verhoog said. “I went from being someone who had never lifted the hood of a car before flight training to now — I can describe every aspect of a fuel-injected engine really well.”

Helping to guide her on her journey is fellow Baylor Aviation and TSTC grad Bond Henderson. Henderson works as both a fixed-wing and helicopter flight instructor for TSTC.

Natalie is a joy to work with. Her constant positive attitude and persistent drive for excellence are by far her most noticeable qualities. Beyond that, she is a fantastic student, always wanting to improve and learn,” Henderson said.

With the FAA requiring first officers to have 1,500 flight hours and more captains reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, there is an enormous demand for pilots.

“There was a huge bottleneck created, and we are seeing a great need for pilots. Age, hour requirements and huge expansion means these positions are paying more because there is a great lack of people” Connor said.  

As the aviation industry clamors for more pilots, Henderson and Verhoog see it as an opportunity.

As in many other industries, women provide a dynamic of diverse thinking that drastically benefits the aviation community,” Henderson said. “The women I have met in the aviation industry are assertive, problem-solving and safety-minded.”

For young women dreaming of entering the aviation field, Verhoog advises them to stick to it and do the work.

“I did have to thicken up my skin a little bit, that’s for sure. But my experience has been nothing but positive,” Verhood said. “My mom said, ‘show up on time or be there early, and never give them a reason to doubt your ability to be efficient and to do it well and do it right, and they won’t treat you any different.’ It’s 100 percent true.”

Verhoog will graduate in spring 2020. She is a member of the Tri Delta sorority and is in the Honors College at Baylor. After graduation she hopes to fly with international airlines or charter flights.

Registration for fall classes at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Students Attend Dallas Society of Visual Communications Conference

(WACO) — Thirteen proved to be a lucky number for students in Texas State Technical College’s Visual Arts Society who recently attended the Dallas Society of Visual Communications conference.

The Visual Arts Society are students pursuing Associate of Applied Science degrees in Visual Communication Technology. Thirteen students had their tickets paid by TSTC’s provost office to attend the conference for the first time in two years.

“This was my first time at DSVC, and it surprised me how much variety (there was) and (with) the talent of the speakers during the breakout sessions,” VAS president Raychel Mynarcik said. “Getting to meet the designer that came up with the current Vitaminwater, Smartwater and Powerade labels was awesome.”

The Dallas Society of Visual Communications was founded in 1957 and has grown to become one of the largest independent organizations of its kind. The conference provided networking and job opportunities for attendees.

“Getting to hear the speakers and their process and their journey getting their jobs was so inspiring. I found it to be super motivating,” club treasurer Samantha Westbrook said.

Students were able to meet with industry leaders, participate in group challenges and submit individual works for critique.

“My highlight was winning a box of macaroons during a 360 branding challenge by Neiman Marcus design representatives. It was really cool having my ideas being recognized and chosen,” Mynarcik said.

As the industry evolves, students were exposed to new ways their degree and creativity could be applied in the workforce.

“The biggest thing I learned was that there is a whole market for app design. That’s something I find to be really cool and maybe want to pursue a career in,” VAS public relations officer Christina Pace said.

Although the TSTC provost’s office paid for the students’ admission cost, members of the Visual Arts Society hosted fundraisers for the remaining trip fees and split the cost of gas.

“The provost’s office sponsors student events as often as possible. I know it will be one of the highlights of their time at TSTC, and I can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison said. “I personally know TSTC graduates from the program who attended the conference, and I saw how they were inspired, encouraged and better prepared to find great jobs through their participation with DSVC.”

“These kids are so good,” Stacie Buterbaugh, instructor and the club’s sponsor, said. “They worked so hard and had multiple fundraisers like bakes sales and selling pizza and candy and sodas at events hosted on campus.”

VAS plans to attend the conference next spring and is using the previous trip in April as recruitment for new members.

“I like seeing these students be exposed to what’s outside the classroom and get a glimpse at the long-term opportunities. It’s so easy to get stuck and focus on one project and one assignment, but this allows them to see everything as part of a bigger picture and learn from their experiences,” Buterbaugh said.

TSTC in Waco offers the associate degree in Visual Communication Technology.

Registration for fall classes at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC in Sweetwater to Host Registration Events This Summer

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College will have two Registration Rally events this summer in Sweetwater.

The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 12 and July 26 in the Sears Building on Homer K. Taylor Drive. The events are part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students planning to take classes in the fall semester.

“We make it fun,” said Devin Crenshaw, a TSTC college outreach representative. “They can come and do every single thing in one day. It’s easier for people that don’t want to deal with the lengthy process and do a lot of back and forth. They can just come and get it done and not wait until the first class day.”

Visitors can take campus and housing tours and talk to faculty members about the seven technical programs offered at TSTC in Sweetwater, including Automotive Technology, Electromechanical Technology and Wind Energy Technology.

People interested in enrolling should bring a copy of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination, housing application and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this summer. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to tstc.edu/rally.

For more information, contact TSTC in Sweetwater at 325-235-7300 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Alumnae at Eastland Memorial Hospital Work to Improve Local Health Care

(BRECKENRIDGE) — Northeast of the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Abilene is a hospital with a big heart. Eastland Memorial Hospital, the only hospital to serve the residents of Eastland County, is home to local heroes who answered the call to become health care providers.

Some of these professionals are graduates of Texas State Technical College’s nursing program.

“This is a rural community, and TSTC assists in providing a quality education and necessary service that is so important for this community,” said TSTC alumna Brandi Riley, a registered nurse who is manager of Outpatient/Surgery Services and Education at EMH.

Currently there are five TSTC graduates employed with EMH. Some students started their nursing careers at TSTC, while others studied online to further their education.

I graduated from TSTC with my LVN in 2010 from the Breckenridge campus, and I went back in 2016 to the associate degree in nursing LVN to RN bridge program at the Sweetwater campus,” said Megan Drake, EMH’s supervisor of Infection Control, Risk Management and Employee Health. “I chose TSTC because it is so much more affordable compared to larger universities where you get the same degree.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a rising demand for LVNs and RNs, and the employment growth rate in Texas is higher than the national average.

“We hire new RNs and LVNs and encourage students to do their clinicals with us to get their foot through the door,” Riley said. “We are working on a partnership with the Breckenridge campus to get LVNs and RNs doing clinicals here and recruit some new faces.”

For those at Eastland, the hospital is a community and an opportunity to hone new skills.  

“Eastland is smaller, but I feel that I get a broader range of skills rather than working in a larger hospital, where I’d have to focus on one specific department,” Drake said.

Many of the staff employed by Eastland have earned their RN degrees through TSTC’s online program while working full time as an LVN.  

“I was working for Eastland already as an LVN, and they helped to pay for me to go to TSTC to become an RN. And that’s when I earned the position I’m in now,” Riley said.

For others, like registered nurse Belinda Williams, TSTC is a family affair. Williams earned her associate degree in nursing, her daughter graduated from the Chemical Dependency Counseling program in Breckenridge, and her husband earned his commercial driver’s license after completing TSTC’s professional driver training in Sweetwater.

“I love that you go and learn what it is that you are pursuing career-wise, and it’s cheaper than regular college. It’s a great place to get an education, and it’s a fun school that cares about its students,” said Williams, RN case manager/utilization review and quality manager at EMH.

As the need for qualified nurses rises, Riley reminds potential students to think of why they chose to pursue a career in nursing.

“You have to have a love for nursing. It’s not about the income, but caring for patients and giving the best patient care possible,” Riley said.

Registration for fall classes at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC in Waco Auto Collision Students Receive Recognitions

(WACO) – Four students in the Auto Collision and Management Technology program at Texas State Technical College have been nationally honored for their academic work.

Three students — Hector Corujo of Killeen, Anderson Merchant of College Station and Justin Romero of Waco — are military veterans who received 3M Hire Our Heroes tool grants valued at $4,500 each. Romero also received a $2,000 scholarship from the 3M Hire Our Heroes program. A fourth student, Jannifer Stimmel of Marlin, received a PPG Foundation automotive refinishing scholarship.

All of the students will receive the Sears Votech tool grant, which includes an industry-size tool box.

The recognitions are sponsored by the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division and the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

Corujo, 34, is working toward an advanced technical certificate in Auto Collision Refinishing after having graduated in December with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology – Refinishing Specialization.

After having received a scholarship and tools last year, Corujo said he did not think he had a chance of being recognized this year.

“It takes the financial burden off me to buy tools,” Corujo said. “Last year I was able to buy a paint suit, safety glasses and other items.”

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.

Merchant, 26, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology – Refinishing Specialization. He said he has enjoyed working with the instructors and using his hands in the program’s labs.

He said the tool grant will help him progress in his interest to do classic car restoration after graduation.

“It is going to be a huge help,” Merchant said. “When I came here, I was essentially living off the GI Bill. I did not have many tools.”

Merchant said his goal is to use what he has learned to do a complete restoration of a 1952 Chevy dually.

“Right now it’s in the rust stage,” he said. “I’ve always had an affinity for 1960 and earlier cars.”

Merchant graduated in 2010 from Huntsville High School. Two years later, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was an optics technician.

Romero, 25, is working on an advanced technical certificate in Advanced Collision Refinishing and already has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology – Refinishing Specialization.

He said he was appreciative of the scholarship and the tools he will receive.

“It will help out in the future,” Romero said. “Tools are hard to build up, mainly because they are so expensive.”

Romero grew up in Erie, Colorado and was a petroleum supply specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve for two years.

Stimmel, 33, received a $5,000 scholarship she said will help continue her education. After graduation, she wants to go into restoration and paint her 1973 Volkswagen bus.

“My previous degrees ate up my funding to where I was not sure I would be here in the fall,” she said. “I love it here.”

Stimmel worked in health care  for 12 years before deciding to shift to the auto collision field.

“The human body is not far from a vehicle,” she said. “We are machines like we work on.”

Stimmel graduated in 2003 from Marlin High School and is an alumna of Texas Woman’s University.

“Growing up, I always spent time out in the shop with my father,” she said. “I decided I didn’t want to be cooped up in an office.”

The four students are scheduled to graduate in December.

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