Category Archives: Waco

TSTC Student Q&A with Luke Mawhirter of Woodway

(WACO) – Luke Mawhirter, 22, of Woodway is a Visual Communication Technology major at Texas State Technical College who is scheduled to graduate in spring 2018.

Mawhirter graduated in 2014 from Robinson High School, where he was active in theater and the National Honor Society.

Have you always been interested in the arts? “Ever since I was a kid, I have liked to draw. Art has always been part of my life. When we got Photoshop, I started playing with it in fifth grade. It’s always been pretty natural. Technology has come easy to me. I have always enjoyed working with computers. The technology helps when doing visual arts.”

How did you enjoy growing up in the Waco area? “I have always loved Waco. My mother will say it’s small but not too small and big but not too big. There is so much attention on Waco. It’s always been a friendly place. It’s been cool to see the re-emergence of Waco.”

How did you become interested in TSTC? “I had heard about TSTC in high school. It was a known thing that it was here. I had friends that were taking classes there. What drew me to it was its simplicity. It’s so straightforward.”

Do you work on campus? “I am a work-study student. Sometimes, I help with business cards and talk about designs with the Creative Services staff. I do a lot of folding and organizing. I like to see it as a study thing. I have learned how to work a lot of the machinery. I was able to use this as my internship class. It’s been incredibly valuable.”

What is your career goal after graduation? “My main goal is to be an in-house graphics director.”

What advice would you give to high school students? “Don’t limit yourself. Explore every option that is available to you. Know your value and worth and pursue those things about you.”

Graphic design jobs are expected to rise to 278,800 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas currently has more than 12,000 graphic design jobs, with more than 100 of those in the Waco area. The annual mean wage in Texas for graphic designers is $48,360, according to the federal labor statistics bureau.

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TSTC in Waco to Host Registration Rally on Nov. 17

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College will have a Registration Rally for the spring semester from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Student Services Center on Campus Drive.

The event is part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students.

“The Registration Rally is a great opportunity for students to get all of their paperwork complete in one place before classes begin in January,” TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison said. “We’re setting aside some of the routine business of the day to concentrate our efforts on helping new students enroll more quickly and easily.”

Visitors can take campus tours and talk to faculty members about the more than 40 technical programs offered at TSTC, including Aircraft Airframe Technician, Avionics, Cloud and Data Center Management, Radiation Protection Technology and Web Design and Development.

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 fall. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to


TSTC Hosts First American Female Space Shuttle Commander

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College’s Aerospace Division recently hosted America’s first female space shuttle commander for a talk to students and faculty members.

Col. Eileen Collins was commander in 1999 on the Columbia space shuttle mission that deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. She also commanded NASA’s 2005 Discovery mission.

“When NASA wanted someone who was cool under pressure, they chose her to command the return to flight mission after the Columbia space shuttle disaster (in 2003),” said Carson Pearce, TSTC’s statewide Transportation Division director. “This kind of insight and perspective gives TSTC students an anchor from which they can realize that someone has dreamed big, achieved that dream, and it motivates our students to do the same.”

Collins shared some facts with the students about space travel, including that space shuttles were about 200 miles above the Earth during missions and the International Space Station is solar powered.

Collins told attendees to focus on the missions they are doing, from completing class assignments to helping expand space travel.

“We need a revolutionary change in how we think about space travel,” she said. “You need to use your imagination, thinking of creative ways to do different things. You should be proud of your accomplishments.”

Collins grew up in New York and received degrees from Corning Community College, Syracuse University, Stanford University and Webster University. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Collins also helped present student awards.

“We have never ceased to be amazed at how our students react to having a real live American hero hand them their hard-earned awards,” said Pearce.

Receiving awards were:

Air Traffic Controller Top Mic Award: Kha Pham

Avionics Technology: Thomas Fletcher

Aircraft Pilot Training Technology Top Gun Award: Stephanie Hughes

Aircraft Dispatch Technology: Eric Neuendorf

Aviation Maintenance Technology Top Wrench Award: Cole Nolin

Student of the Year for Aerospace: Shane Howard

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Student Q&A with Tucker Neal of Jarrell

(WACO) –Tucker Neal, 18, of Jarrell is a first-semester Computer Networking and Systems Administration major at Texas State Technical College.

He is a 2017 graduate of Jarrell High School, where he played multiple sports and was vice president of the high school chapter of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

What factored into choosing your major? “My stepdad is a computer network administrator so I learned about computers from him. When I was 8, I built my own computer. I still use it today. Growing up, I did a lot of research on computers and how they worked. I took one computer class in seventh grade, and in eighth grade I was the teacher’s assistant for that class.”

How did you learn about TSTC? “I had to do a bunch of projects in high school. The teachers asked us what we would do after high school,l and I researched colleges around here and found TSTC.”

Do you work on campus? “I work at the library. I’ll come to work at 2 p.m. and leave at 6 p.m. on my work days and make sure the computers are reset. I’ll monitor computers, making sure nobody is doing what they are not supposed to. I also help students in the lab. I started working in the library in October.”

What advice would you give to high school students? “I would say to make sure you know what to do before you go to college.”

Network and computer systems administrator jobs are expected to grow to more than 415,000 nationwide by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were more than 32,000 network and computer administrators in Texas in 2016, according to the federal labor statistics bureau. Of these, more than 200 were in Waco and more than 4,000 were in the Austin – Round Rock area. The annual mean wage in Texas was $87,790.

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TSTC Raises Money for Scholarships at Annual Welding Event

(HUTTO) – Ten teams competed in Texas State Technical College’s 2nd Annual Welding Pro-Am competition and Show-n-Shine Saturday, Oct. 28.
Competing welders built miniature barbecue pits, which were sold after the competition to raise money for scholarships. All money raised at the event benefits the welding department at TSTC in Williamson County and will help provide scholarships for incoming students.
Teams consisted of professional welders, and a welding student from the college was assigned to compete with each team. Welding Instructor Sam Flener said the event helps students build experience.
“Being able to work with a professional and have that experience prior to going out into the profession and seeing how they work, the tools they use and the experience they bring adds another dimension to their experience,” she said.
It also helps the students build industry contacts.
“Several of our pros commented on how well the students work, and they appreciated their skill level,” Flener said. “Overall, they were really happy with the students and their performance.”
Flener hopes to keep the event going next year and spread the word about TSTC.
“It broadens our exposure in the community not just locally, but even beyond that,” she said. “It gets the word out on what we’re trying to do here and the quality of the students we’re producing.”
The team of student Jonathan Chesser and professional Troy Hendrix of BT Water Jets took first place. Student Nate Logiudice and Ky Benford of KBG Welding took second, and student Brantley Hearn along with the Samsung team placed third.
TSTC in Williamson County Provost Edgar Padilla said that overall the event was a success.
“The event has exceeded our expectations, and this year we raised thousands of dollars that will be matched via our Texan Success Scholarship campaign,” Padilla said. “Local and regional vendors supported our efforts and generously contributed to the event, and the students gained valuable insight and experience before they enter the field. We’re really excited about next year’s’ event.”
At the event, TSTC raised $13,000 from sponsorships, entry fees and raffle and food donations. The TSTC Foundation will match cash amounts raised.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit



TSTC is Leading with Service

(FORT BEND) – National Make a Difference Day was on Saturday, October 28, but for the students and staff at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County the project continues beyond one day.

TSTC has partnered with Fort Bend Community Revitalization Projects (CORPS), a nonprofit corporation that has completed repairs on more than 3,500 homes in Fort Bend County, and its Hearts and Hammers program, which focuses on the exterior restoration of homes.

“This is the first time we’ve partnered with them and it’s been a success,” said TSTC Director of Student Services Georgeann Calzada. “I like to form relationships with different organizations in the area since TSTC serves Fort Bend County not just Rosenberg.”

The students were set to paint a 55-year-old home belonging to an elderly woman during Make a Difference Day, but because the house required additional work and the yard needed care, painting was postponed for November 4.

“Our students want to do a good job and get the job done right,” said Calzada. “So the decision to postpone the painting to do the additional work was a group choice.”

Instead, the students mowed and manicured the lawn, cleaned debris that was left over from the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, power washed the home and removed old paint.TSTC National Make a Difference Day 2017

“I’m so proud of our students and their dedication to this project,” said Calzada. “It really shows their character and commitment to making a difference in their community.”

For Electrical Lineworker Technology student Madison Ellis this was his first National Make a Difference Day, but as a long-time volunteer for the Special Olympics he is no stranger to community service.

“I love helping people and creating blessings,” he said. “The house we’re working on is someone’s home and our goal is to create a safe, comfortable and beautiful environment for the owner.”

This is why it was important to Ellis and his peers to put in the extra elbow grease. Calzada said she is excited for their second Saturday on the project and expects additional TSTC students and staff to join them.

“These students have really encouraged their friends to come out and help,” she said. “Many have gained new perspectives on their lives, appreciation for what they have and are encouraged to do more in their community.”

This is the second year TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus participates in National Make a Difference Day.

TSTC Executive Director of Student Life Adele Clinton said statewide, among TSTC’s 10 campuses, the number of student volunteers for this day has increased exponentially with close to 400 students putting in at least 1,500 volunteer hours.

“Statewide we’ve seen the need for students to do service,” she said. “They love it and when students engage in community service they learn communication skills, teamwork, conflict resolution and that volunteerism is fun, while promoting TSTC in their own backyards.”

For more information on TSTC and the programs it offers, visit

TSTC Automotive Technology Receives Large Donation

(HARLINGEN) – Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology programs at Harlingen, Waco and Sweetwater recently received large donations from San Antonio’s CarFest and TSTC industry partner Jasper Engines and Transmissions.

The donation from CarFest totaled $30,000 and was divided equally among the three campuses and will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the TSTC Foundation for student scholarships.

Jasper donated another $2,500 to each campus for the purchase of automotive engines and transmissions to be used for industrial training.

Combined, Automotive Technology at TSTC’s Harlingen campus received $12,500.

TSTC Automotive Technology and Auto Collision Technology Lead Instructor Adan Gutierrez said these recent contributions are not only great for the program, but also for its students.

“We are so grateful to have received these donations,” said Gutierrez. “It helps us train more students and gives us the opportunity to give them access to the newest technologies.”TSTC Automotive Technology

TSTC’s Waco campus is a second-year sponsor of San Antonio’s CarFest, an event organized to help repair vehicles for local families in need and dedicated to building a culture of continuous skill building, quality and pride in the automotive industry.

Faculty and students from TSTC’s Technical Drag Racing Association and Automotive SkillsUSA Club arrive at the event ready and willing to get under the hood, diagnose the problem, complete repairs and return the car to the family ready to drive.

TSTC Automotive programs Statewide Department Chair Rudy Cervantez said this is the second year they have received a donation of this magnitude from CarFest.

“This is an organization that likes to give back to its community,” he said. “And they definitely give back to our students in more ways than one.”

He added that CarFest gives the students a hands-on, real-world experience and an opportunity to speak with industry professionals in addition to the donations that help pay for tuition, books and equipment.

“We’re really excited for next year’s CarFest in April,” said Cervantez. “Our Waco team will be there and we’re encouraging our other campuses to join us.”

Gutierrez said he is working diligently to get his students from TSTC’s Harlingen campus to San Antonio in April for the event.

“This is great experience for our students,” said Gutierrez. “And our goal is to get our students there and have them experience this event first hand and to give them the opportunity to give back to an organization that has given them so much.”

For more information on TSTC’s Automotive programs, visit

TSTC Earns Medals at Aviation Competition

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College’s flight team finished a challenging week at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Region 4 SAFECON held Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 at the TSTC Waco Airport.

“When a college has a flight team, it is made of their best students,” said Carson Pearce, TSTC’s statewide director of the Transportation Division.

Bobby Musacchio, 19, a TSTC Aircraft Pilot Technology major from Ponder scheduled to graduate with an associate degree in summer 2018, competed in his first SAFECON. He placed in the top 10 in Aircraft Recognition.

“It’s been a good experience,” Musacchio said. “I’ve been learning new things. I’ve been able to connect with students from other schools. It’s made me want to improve my skills and get me focused on what I need to do.”

He said his favorite event was Aircraft Recognition, which involved looking at photographs of parts of all kinds of airplanes. Musacchio said he and his teammates prepared for the contest by taking practice tests and in-depth studying of the shapes and features of aircrafts.

After graduating from TSTC, Musacchio said he wants to become a flight instructor and hopes to fly for commercial airlines.

TSTC students placing in the top five of individual events and receiving medals were:

Aircraft Preflight Inspection: Mallory Frister, fifth place.

Navigation: Caleb Gober and J.C. Horne, fifth place.

Short Field Landing: Stephanie Hughes, fifth place.

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation: Richard Rensing, fifth place.

TSTC finished third in the Ground Events Championship.

Other schools that competed were Central Texas College, Delta State University, LeTourneau University and Louisiana Tech University.

Delta State University won the Competition Safety Award and Red Baron Team Sportsmanship Award.

LeTourneau University won the competition, with Delta State University placing second and Central Texas College finishing third. These teams will go to the 2018 SAFECON in the spring in Indiana.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Student Q&A with Jessica Ogden of Hico

(WACO) – Jessica Ogden, 20, of Hico is an Aircraft Pilot Training major at Texas State Technical College in Waco.

She is captain of the technical college’s Tornadoes Flight Team, which recently competed in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Region 4 SAFECON contest hosted in Waco. She was a member of TSTC’s all-women Air Race Classic team that competed nationwide in 2016. Ogden is scheduled to graduate in December with an associate degree.

She graduated in 2015 from Hico High School.

How did you become interested in aviation? “My grandfather had a family friend who was a pilot in the Korean War. He had a Cessna and took me for a ride in it when I was 6. From then on I knew I wanted to be in aviation.”

How did you learn about TSTC? “I came here with a friend as he was visiting the Diesel Equipment Technology program. That is when I found out about the aviation programs and I saw the building (the Col. James T. Connally Aerospace Center). I am the first in my family to study aviation.”

What is something you have learned along the way that would be good for high school students to know? “You need to be confident. The moment you are not confident in your abilities, that’s the moment you fail.”

What are your plans after graduating from TSTC? “I have interviewed with TSTC and hope to be a flight instructor. I’ll also work on more flight ratings through the technical college and get my bachelor’s degree.”

There were more than 39,000 female pilots in the United States as of December 2016, according to Federal Aviation Administration data cited by Women in Aviation International.

Texas State Technical College offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Pilot Training and Aircraft Pilot Training – Helicopter Specialization. There is also an option to earn a Certificate in Aircraft Pilot Technology Commercial Pilot – Helicopter.

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TSTC Volunteers Create Dog Toys for Shelter Animals

(HUTTO) – Students at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center made chew toys for dogs last week as part of a volunteer event for Make a Difference Day.

Make a Difference Day is one of the largest annual days of service nationwide. The day aims to improve the lives of others, and Texas State Technical College hosted the event for students to give back to the community.

TSTC was able to donate 53 dog toys to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

“It’s a win-win, as students were treated to a service project and food and we provided a valuable service to a community partner,” said TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla. “We are proud to have that component as part of our mission at TSTC.”

Adele Clinton, TSTC’s Executive Director of Student Life, said students have shown an interest in service projects over the last few years.

“They love it,” Clinton said. “When the students engage in community service, they’re learning communication skills, teamwork skills, conflict resolution, and they’re getting TSTC’s name out to communities who may not know that we’re right in their backyards. It’s also teaching students that volunteerism has been so much fun.”

TSTC began participating in Make a Difference Day at the Harlingen campus in 2008 but has recently added the volunteer projects at its other campuses.

“Since I became a state lead and TSTC became one, we’ve taken it statewide and our numbers have increased exponentially ever since,” Clinton said.

Padilla said he hopes to continue these types of projects at the school.

“At TSTC, we understand that our success depends on the support and viability of our local communities,” said Padilla. “We believe in service and understand that we’re part of a business community that is vibrant and interconnected. It’s our goal to continue to grow by cultivating relationships and showing that we care, and I’m exceptionally proud to be part of a team that takes so much pride in doing so.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit