Category Archives: All TSTC

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

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Student Success Profile

(HARLINGEN) – Joseph GarzaJoseph Garza is a double major at Texas State Technical College. The San Benito native is pursuing associate degrees in Digital Media Design and Computer Science.

The 20-year-old expects to graduate in December from Computer Science and in Fall 2018 from Digital Media Design.

In addition to his academics, Garza is a member of the Pool Sharks Club and the Veteran Students Alliance Club. He also volunteers at his church and holds a part-time job to pay for school.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I plan on continuing my education either at TSTC for an associate degree in Business Management Technology or for a bachelor’s degree in one of my selected fields. I also hope to intern or work for my cousin’s advertising company.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to work for Apple. I hope one day to manage their user interface sector.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment while at TSTC has been becoming more active on campus, meeting new people and building great relationships.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

There is one thing I have learned and always carry with me. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “Stay young and stay foolish.” Whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed or stressed, I remember that I have to make sure my life remains fun.

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

I have to give props to several people: first and foremost Victor and Blanca Garza, my parents; John White, my composition instructor; Dr. Richard Kirk, my world religion instructor; and Edith Romero, my best friend. All of these people remind me every day why I’m here and are always supportive. I also tend to put others before me, and they make sure I think about myself even if it is only every once in a while.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

The advice I have for future and present TSTC students is to plan out what you’re going to do. Don’t procrastinate. Also, don’t stress out too much. It’s important to have fun.

2017 TSTC Chancellor’s Excellence Award Recipients Honored

(HARLINGEN) – Four 2017 Texas State Technical College Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients based in Harlingen were honored this week with a luncheon hosted by TSTC Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Mike Reeser.

“Today we celebrate you,” Reeser told the honorees. “It is your proven leadership and character that have earned you this honor. You are the best of the best at TSTC.”

During the luncheon, several TSTC administrators and past Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients celebrated the awardees: Wind Energy Technology Instructor Juan Alferez, Building Maintenance Supervisor Roberto Chapa, Vice President of Enrollment Services Dr. Christine Stuart-Carruthers and Veteran Program Officer Jose Villegas.

The four were recognized earlier in the year for their achievements at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Awards Dinner and Celebration in Austin, joining the legacy of more than 200 TSTC recipients.

TSTC Chancellor's Excellence Award Luncheon

“I am in ‘aww’ to be in your presence,” said Harlingen Interim Provost Rick Herrera. “And I take this time not only to congratulate you, but also to commend you on your hard work and success.”

Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients are chosen based on nominations from colleagues, as well as their character, hard work, and dedication to the college and its students.

Reeser mentioned that this award represents leadership and the respect colleagues have for each other, regardless of position or title.

“This award has meaning because it’s given to a person of great character,” said Reeser. “And when a person of great character sets out to do something, you get greatness and a habit of excellence.”

Herrera and Reeser went on to thank all recipients, past and present, for their continued commitment to the college.

“Each and every one of our recipients embodies and exemplifies TSTC’s mission,” said Herrera. “We appreciate everything they do for our college and our students. They’ve applied excellence in all they do.”

Reeser has made it a priority to host honoree luncheons at every TSTC campus to share with attendees the significance of the award and its importance to the college.

This year there were 14 TSTC Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients statewide.

Reeser closed the luncheon on this note: “On behalf of the TSTC administration, faculty, staff and students, we thank you with all of our hearts. Keep up the great work, and I am honored to be on the same team as you.”

TSTC Honors Veterans With Ceremony

(HARLINGEN) – Texas State Technical College hosted its annual Veterans Day Celebration on Friday to honor those who serve in the United States Armed Forces.

TSTC’s Veterans Day Celebration is an annual tradition to give back and celebrate veterans and the service they have given.

TSTC Veteran Program Officer Jose Villegas said that as an Army veteran himself he knows firsthand how honored he feels when someone thanks him for his service or shows their appreciation.

“I feel a sense of pride when I know that veterans are getting support from their community,” Villegas said. “It’s a big deal and I want other veterans to feel this. A simple thank you and an acknowledgment goes a long way.”

Hector Yanez, TSTC vice president of Instructional Support, opened the ceremony with a few words of appreciation.TSTC Veterans Day Celebration

“It is my pleasure to be in the presence of those servicemen and servicewomen who serve or have served,” he said. “It takes courage and sacrifice from you and your families for what you do for our country.”

He described the ceremony as a tribute to remind veterans that they are always remembered.

Continuing with tradition, a local veteran was invited to be the guest speaker.

Pedro Saldana, Army veteran and South Texas Veteran Education Coordinator for the Texas Veterans Commission, addressed TSTC’s veteran faculty, staff and students and offered some advice.

“We need to help our veterans,” he said.

He went on to explain that the biggest support veterans can have will come from their families.

“Without the support of our families, we wouldn’t have been able to complete the battles that we faced,” he said. “Even when we return home, the war is still not over.”

Saldana also thanked TSTC for the various ways the college is helping veterans.

TSTC serves nearly 200 veterans in Harlingen and more than 700 statewide.

“Without the type of help our veterans receive at TSTC, they would not be able to continue their education,” said Saldana. “It is through everyone’s support, care and help that they can continue their mission of an education.”

The ceremony also included the presentation and retiring of colors; a flag-folding presentation by the Harlingen High School South Air Force Junior ROTC; a tribute to prisoners of war and missing in action by the American Legion 15th District drill team; and a lunch catered by TSTC alumnus Frank Macias, owner of Frankie Flav’z in Harlingen.

“It is an honor to be invited back to my alma mater for such a special occasion,” said Macias. “This is the least I can do for those who protect our freedoms. I want them to know they are not forgotten.”

The ceremony concluded with special recognition for those who contributed to the event and with last words from Yanez.

“Thank you again for your service and sacrifice,” said Yanez. “God bless you, God bless your families, God bless our troops and God bless America.”

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.
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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 Serves: Students Honor National Make a Difference Day

(HARLINGEN) – Driving down the south side of Harlingen on a chilly October Saturday morning, it was easy to spot Texas State Technical College student leaders working to beautify the city during National Make a Difference Day.

At least 180 students joined forces with Keep Harlingen Beautiful, City of Harlingen Parks and Recreation, Coakley Middle School and Marine Military Academy to plant flowers and shrubs along 12 canal banks.

TSTC Coordinator of Student Life Belinda Palomino said this project has been the largest in scale they have done to date and she is proud of the outcome.National Make a Difference Day 2017

“For the lack of better terms, my students killed it,” she said. “I’m so proud of their commitment and dedication to getting this project done.”

From start to finish, the project took four hours — with a minor glitch that was solved with some teamwork.

“The truck our pavers were on got a flat tire, but thanks to the collaboration by city employees and our volunteers we were able to continue our project and beautify the community for its residents,” said Palomino.

The project was valued at more than $47,000 with volunteer hours accounting for $8,800, saving the city some money.

“It is so great getting to work with students who are so committed to their community,” said Palomino. “I’m grateful to each and every one of them.”

TSTC Student Government President Isela Rodriguez was one of the team leaders for the project. She said what made the project even more worthwhile was the support they were receiving from the community.

“People were honking and yelling ‘good job’ and stopping by to compliment our work and show their support,” she said. “Even Harlingen City Commissioner Victor Leal stopped to talk to us. The positive feedback we got was encouraging.”

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell also addressed the group and showed his support and appreciation for the project and everyone’s hard work.

Rodriguez went on to say that the day was exciting and she is thankful to everyone who came out to work alongside them to make National Make a Difference Day a success and make a difference in the community.

In a survey taken by the student volunteers, it was evident they shared Rodriguez’s sentiment and agreed that this project gave the residents of Harlingen a cleaner environment, increased the value of the community and made people happier.

“The success of this project was a group effort,” said Rodriguez. “It was a mission impossible, but we made it possible.”

National Make a Difference Day was also honored with community service events at TSTC’s 10 other campuses statewide.

For more information on TSTC and its programs, 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.

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