Author Archives: Daniel Perry

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.”

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TSTC Expands Technology Certification Opportunities

(MARSHALL) – Students in three programs at Texas State Technical College are getting an opportunity to earn technology certifications as part of final exams starting this fall.

The Business Management Technology program in Abilene, Brownwood, Harlingen and Marshall is offering students opportunities to earn Microsoft Office certifications.

Students in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the in Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses, along with Cyber Security majors at the Fort Bend, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses, can earn Cisco and CompTIA information technology and networking certifications.

“If the industry values a certification or series of complementary certifications, and finds them necessary for our graduates in the workforce, we will implement the appropriate material in our courses,” said Bryan Bowling, director of instructional support at the Fort Bend County campus.

Expanding the concept evolved from an initiative TSTC in Marshall already had students doing.

“When I got here four years ago, the students took the class and then it was optional for them to take the certification exam,” said Randy Haley, associate vice president for student learning at the Marshall campus and statewide lead for the Computer Science division. “What I was seeing was a lot of students were not taking advantage of trying to test to see if they could get certified.”

Marshall faculty members began using certification tests as final examinations three years ago.

“There is nothing like seeing a student pass the Microsoft certification exam,” said Carolyn O’Neill, a Business Management Technology instructor at the Marshall campus. “Their excitement is hard to describe. The tears and little dances say it all. Many students study hard for their certification exam and when they see the pass score, it is so exciting. Their confidence goes through the roof.”

Expanding the use of certification tests to other TSTC campuses involved adding voucher codes to class section numbers, Haley said.

“When they registered for the first time, they paid for their test with their financial aid voucher,” he said. “Not only do they get the degree, but they get the industry certification as well.”

Students are not scheduled to have more than one class with a certification test during a semester, Haley said.

“The certifications are supposed to be hard,” Haley said. “We don’t like to double up on the students. We like them to be doing one certification per semester rather than be loading up at the end.”

Students who enter TSTC with certifications can get class credit, Haley said.

The Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses are certified Pearson VUE centers. Haley said Pearson VUE centers will be at the Fort Bend County, North Texas and Williamson County campuses in early 2018.

TSTC has statewide at least 340 students in the Business Management Technology program, more than 350 students in the Computer Systems and Network Administration program and more than 400 students in the Cyber Security program.

“TSTC is very market-driven and we are one, statewide,” said Bowling. “Our purpose is to ensure the success of our students in the workforce through the statewide lens. Therefore, we work very closely with industry leaders to determine what is most relevant for our students from an instructional standpoint.”

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TSTC Student Q&A with Jordan Harris of Tyler

(WACO) – Jordan Harris, 26, of Tyler is working toward associate degrees in cyber security and digital forensic specialist at Texas State Technical College in Waco.

Beginning this fall the digital forensic specialist degree was changed to a two-semester advanced technical certificate, but Harris is still able to finish the associate degree program. He is scheduled to graduate in December from TSTC.

Harris is a 2010 graduate of Whitehouse High School in Whitehouse in Smith County.

What got you interested in studying technology? “I have always had an interest in computers. Digital forensics is the main degree I want to get a career in. The act of searching for something that may or may not be there is interesting to me.”

How did you learn about TSTC? “I learned about it through family members that know people who graduated from here and have had success.”

What do you like to do when you are not in classes or studying? “I’m normally playing fantasy-based, role-playing video games or riding my mountain bike at Cameron Park.”

What advice would you give to high school students? “I would tell them to start college early, as soon as graduating from high school. You should have a basic idea of your major and go with something that makes you happy.”

What are your plans after graduating from TSTC? “I would like to go into the U.S. Air Force and get certifications and do things in the Department of Defense.”

Some of the cyber security fields that are expected to grow through 2024 include networks and systems administration and information security analysis. People studying digital forensics can pursue jobs in the forensic science technology field, which is expected to grow by at least 3,500 jobs through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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TSTC Aviation Programs Receive Jet Engine

(WACO) – Rick Fazollo of Waco is 5 feet 8 inches in height but is looking forward to the tall challenges looming over him in the aviation maintenance hangar at Texas State Technical College.

Fazollo, 28, an Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology major, said he is eager to start troubleshooting and repairing a recently gifted multimillion dollar CFM56 high-bypass turbofan jet engine used in Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737 fleet.

“When I was in the Marines, I worked with turbine engines,” said Fazollo, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Seeing it being brought here was breathtaking.”

The 5,500 lb. and at least 6-foot-tall engine will be used by students in TSTC’s Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology programs. Southwest Airlines will give the aviation maintenance programs the engine’s instruction manuals later this fall so it can be incorporated into classes.

“It’s going to give our aviation mechanics a boost in their learning,” said Carson Pearce, TSTC’s statewide transportation division director in Waco.

Pearce and Kelly Filgo, lead instructor for the airframe and powerplant technology programs at TSTC, both said it would be impossible to purchase an engine like this for class usage. They said in the past students have only been able to see photographs of this kind of engine in theory classes.

“We are getting students in front of it with their eyes,” Filgo said. “The students are very aware of what a great gift this is.”

Christopher Scheel, 26, of Houston is majoring in the airframe and powerplant technology programs and said he has been impressed so far with the engine.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how the cooling systems work,” he said. “It’s a really good opportunity to get your hands on something like this.”

Pearce said TSTC has worked to build relationships with Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, which are both based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Pearce said Southwest Airlines has hired some of TSTC’s Aircraft Dispatch Technology students and American Airlines has employed past Aircraft Pilot Training Technology graduates.

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Dual Credit Classes Put a Spark Into TSTC Student’s Education

(WACO) – Noli Park of Bosqueville first became interested in welding when she was a sophomore at Bosqueville High School.

While she balanced high school academics and extracurricular activities, she took the same welding classes that Texas State Technical College students experienced. The difference was that Park took them at the high school with her TSTC-accredited instructor for dual credit.

“Dual credit gets you a foot in,” said Park, 19. “By the time I graduated, I took 12 semester credit hours, and not just in welding. It made coming to college easier.”

Bosqueville High School has about 200 students, with at least 35 sophomores, juniors and seniors taking part in dual credit academic classes. Kim Granger, a BHS counselor, said some of the classes students take are English, history and government.

Park said TSTC was the best decision she could have made about where to go to college.

“I do a lot more hands-on work,” she said. “It gets you ready for the job life. Here, they want us ready for jobs and to be on time and work hard.”

Park grew up around equipment as her father worked on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. She said tungsten inert gas, or TIG, welding is her favorite.

“I just really like welding,” she said. “I did it to have steadier hands. I originally wanted to be a surgeon.”

Park credits her welding work with being able to get scholarships from the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Park graduated in 2016 from Bosqueville High School and is scheduled to graduate in December from TSTC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology.

After graduation, Park wants to work in the field and then teach welding to high school students. She wants to stay in Central Texas to be close to her family.

TSTC’s Waco, Williamson County and North Texas campuses offer more than 20 technical pathways, including Auto Collision Refinishing, Avionics and Electrical Lineworker, that students can take to earn dual credit hours. The classes can be taken either at TSTC or at the students’ home campuses.

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TSTC in Waco Starts Fall Semester

(WACO) – Weston Potter, a Building Construction Technology major at Texas State Technical College, is a first-day-of-class veteran.

Potter, 21, from Mansfield, began the fall semester on Monday with the finish line in sight – he is scheduled to graduate in May and is ready to go to work.

“The first day is so good because it’s building a solid foundation for my future,” Potter said.

His advice for first-semester students at TSTC was to pay attention and know they will understand how to balance their new responsibilities.

Faculty members in Building Construction Technology and Welding Technology said their classes went smoothly Monday. Students visited the Student Services Center Monday morning to make final payment arrangements or visit the campus bookstore.

TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison was on the greenway early Monday morning greeting students.

“The first day of the fall semester is always special,” he said. “I love the excitement and buzz on campus as students fill up the sidewalks and make their way to class. There are many new faces who are just starting their journey with TSTC, and there are lots of familiar, returning students who are excited about finishing their degrees or certificates this term.”

Branden Paradis, 18, of Del Rio has several Del Rio High School alumni to learn from as he begins studying in the Welding Technology program. He arrived during the weekend to move into Village Oaks Apartments at TSTC and has already found where the Del Rio students are living.

“I’m excited for college and it is cooler that I can be with my classmates,” Paradis said. “I learned about TSTC from my instructor. I applied first then visited the campus and was impressed with what I saw.”

The first day of the semester ended with a dodgeball tournament held at the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center as part of Welcome Week. Other activities this week include a game night, pool tournament and block party.

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TSTC Graduate Finds Solutions to Work Challenges at Houston Company

(WACO) – Parker Schellhaas of Spring grew up knowing his future career had to involve working with his hands.

But, he was not sure what path he would take after graduating in 2010 from Cypress Woods High School in Harris County.

“I was told about Texas State Technical College by my wife’s uncle, who was working at Luminant at the time,” said Schellhaas, 25. “His company was getting quality employees from TSTC. We visited TSTC one weekend to check out the different programs they offered at an open house.”

Schellhaas graduated in 2015 from TSTC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in what is now Facilities Maintenance and Management.

He is now a facilities technician at Data Foundry in Houston and works alongside co-workers troubleshooting and finding solutions. Schellhaas said he wants to professionally grow with the company and eventually work on a bachelor’s degree to move into management.

“I wouldn’t say there is a typical day,” Schellhaas said. “It can vary from doing paint touch- ups around the site to working on HVAC and power equipment.”

He said he has learned on the job about the value of teamwork.

“In facilities, you start at the bottom and prove your way to the top,” Schellhaas said. “No matter what the job asks, it is your responsibility to do it.”

TSTC offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Facilities Maintenance and Management in Waco. The degree includes classes in hydraulics, electrical theory, blueprints, piping standards and boiler maintenance. Students are exposed to building, electrical and safety codes and learn about paperwork and retention. Students also learn about Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

Michael Hubbard, lead instructor in the Industrial Maintenance and Engineering Department, based the curriculum around professional competencies developed by the International Facility Management Association.

Program graduates are encouraged to apply for IFMA credentials, which are recognized worldwide, Hubbard said. The organization’s credentials are for Facility Management Professional, Sustainability Facility Professional and Certified Facility Manager.

“We don’t need managers (in the field), we need leaders,” Hubbard said.

Texas had more than 110,000 general facilities and maintenance workers in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land metropolitan area had the most workers in Texas with more than 27,800 people, while the Waco area had more than 900 people in the field in May 2016.

General facilities and maintenance positions are expected to increase by 83,500 nationwide through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other professions that graduates can pursue include building and systems analysis, facility maintenance, building automation control, building inspections, facility management and plant maintenance engineering.

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Student Becomes First at TSTC in Waco to Get AWS Certification

(WACO) – Zackary Palomin can always say he was the first.

Palomin, 22, of League City and a student at Texas State Technical College in Waco, in mid-August became the first Cloud and Data Center Management program student to get the Amazon Web Services Certified Solution Architect – Associate certification. The certification is for two years and can be renewed with additional testing. AWS is a worldwide cloud platform that includes storage, networking, analytics, artificial intelligence and other features.

“My eyes were wide open,” Palomin said when he found out he passed the test.

Palomin’s instructor, Andy Kroll in TSTC’s Cloud and Data Center Management program, has used the Amazon Web Services Academy Cloud Computing Architecture curriculum in the Cloud Deployment and Infrastructure Management course since January. Cloud and Data Center Management majors take this course in the fifth semester and learn about data security, data storage, cloud computing, the AWS cloud and other topics.

“It’s the most in-demand certification in information technology,” Kroll said. “Everyone wants to go to the cloud, but there aren’t enough people to take them to the cloud.”

Palomin is a triple major at TSTC. He graduated in December 2016 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration and in August 2017 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cloud and Data Center Management. He is scheduled to graduate in December 2017 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cyber Security.

“I decided the second-to-last semester before I was going to graduate with my first degree to take my mother’s advice and keep going and explore more,” Palomin said.

Palomin was born in New Mexico and moved to Texas in 2001.

“I was a curious child,” he said. “I had an interest in taking things apart. I had an interest in my parents’ computer when they used the Windows 2000 program.”

Palomin learned about TSTC when a recruiter visited Clear Falls High School in League City, where he graduated in 2014.  He was also involved in technical theater.

Palomin is active in SkillsUSA and the Cyber Centurions organizations at TSTC. Away from clubs and studying, Palomin likes to watch YouTube videos and read about random subjects through Google searches.

After finishing at TSTC, Palomin wants to work in the Houston area.

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TSTC Welding Graduate Continues to Prove Talents

(WACO) – Kacy Crook is one for proving people wrong.

“I wanted to do welding in high school,” said Crook, 20, of Tyler and a recent graduate of Texas State Technical College. “My teacher said I could do it. I welded and cut one thing, and then he put me on the plasma table.”

Crook graduated Aug. 18 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at TSTC in Waco. She walked across the stage at the Waco Convention Center with more than 500 students from the Waco, North Texas and Williamson County campuses.

Crook’s parents and aunts attended the ceremony.

“I can’t believe it’s over,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet moment. I wanted to shoot for the extra. I didn’t want to do the bare minimum.”

She was one of four females graduating with welding degrees this summer. And, the program is expected to have at least two females graduating from the program in December.

“This program isn’t for everyone,” said Mark Watson, a TSTC Welding Technology instructor. “The young ladies that make it through this program are extraordinary with great work ethics.”

Crook said her first two weeks at TSTC in fall 2015 had class difficulties that made her cry and question her confidence. But she credited Watson for encouraging her to calm down and listen to music on headphones as she welded.

“The faculty have become family,” Crook said. “They are here for you, welding or not.”

Crook’s longtime dance instructor in Smith County, Savannah Holik, also gave her encouraging advice.

“She told me to not be afraid of the opportunities and to not give up no matter what,” Crook said.

Crook’s career goal is to do pipeline work.

Crook worked two jobs and took dance lessons while she was a student at Bullard High School, where she graduated in 2015.

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TSTC in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County Hold Summer Commencement

(WACO) – More than 580 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2017 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 18, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 515 graduates, Williamson County had 40 graduates and North Texas had 34 graduates.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Rosie Zamora of Fort Worth graduated with a Certificate in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology. She is following her father and grandfather into the profession. Zamora will continue working as a plumbing apprentice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It was an experience,” Zamora said about her time at TSTC. “I learned things I didn’t know before.”

Cesar Castillo, 19, of Del Rio received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. He follows in the footsteps of several other Del Rio students who have graduated from TSTC’s Welding Technology program.

“This program tests if you really want to go down your career path,” Castillo said. “It’s a lot more welcoming since most of your instructors know where you came from.”

Castillo said he will continue job hunting.

“I’m excited to go out on my own,” he said.

TSTC had more than 1,200 graduates this summer across the state.

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