Category Archives: Abilene

TSTC to host annual counselor update

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College will host its annual Counselor Update and Luncheon from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Nearly 45 high school employees from Regions 9 and 14 and the surrounding areas are expected at the event.

Marina Wilcox, TSTC vice president of dual enrollment, will speak about the importance of two Texas house bills: one that impacts the way high school students choose courses with a career goal in mind and another that requires high schools to improve student performance.

“We are educating them on House Bills 5 and 22 and how TSTC can meet their needs in being successful,” said TSTC dual enrollment advisor Amy Freeman.

TSTC representatives will also cover new forms and changes in the admissions process and general business for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Dual enrollment has gone through some major changes,” Freeman said. “We’ll update them on these new processes and how we can help make the transition easier for them.”

Freeman said the event is beneficial for counselors to attend

“We are covering a lot of information that is relevant for them — not just on TSTC’s end, but also for the state of Texas and its goals. We’ll educate them on what they can do to help students graduate high school with a certificate so they can go out and get jobs.”

Last month, TSTC announced new, fully online pathways in Cyber Security, Digital Media Design and Medical Office Specialist. Health Information Technology was the first program to go completely online. Many of the high schools participating in dual enrollment opted for these degree plans.

“With the distances that West Texas dual enrollment covers, I will say the majority of our schools are participating in fully online programs,” Freeman said. “We’re anticipating additional schools to partner with us in online programs for the 2018-19 academic year.”

TSTC will open its newest Abilene campus in the fall, bringing the addition of three new programs: Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology.

“Each of those programs will have a dual enrollment pathway available for local students,” Freeman said. “We hope that students from AISD, Jim Ned, Clyde and Hawley will be interested in coming to the new campus.”

For more information on TSTC and its dual enrollment program, visit tstc.edu.

Local TSTC talent competition canceled

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College and “Texas Music Cafe” have canceled the regional Talent Search competition originally scheduled to take place on February 27 on TSTC’s Abilene campus.

The decision was made after only one student signed up to perform. Texas Music Café will transport that contestant to Waco to record her performance, and she will be invited to perform on behalf of West Texas at the finals in Waco on Tuesday, March 20.

The grand prize is a $2,500 recording contract and a chance to perform in a live taping of “Texas Music Cafe.” Runners-up can receive recording gear, a single recording package or a ukulele package.

“Texas Music Cafe” is an hourlong, magazine-style PBS program that is recorded all over the state of Texas in front of live audiences and broadcast nationally on radio, TV and the internet.

TSTC Helps Graduate Achieve Goals

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College alumnus Ted Harvey was working as an assistant manager at a dollar store when he decided he needed a life change.

Harvey had always loved working with computers but hadn’t thought about making it a career.

“I just loved computers and was really good at working with individual computers, home networking and stuff like that,” Harvey said.

After researching career options and colleges, Harvey finally chose TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration program.

“When I came to TSTC, I got to learn about the business side of things and got more in-depth,” he said. “That really inspired me to go out and learn more and push myself.”

Harvey was unsure of what to expect when he first arrived at the school.

“When I walked in here, I was terrified. I was 30 years old,” he said. “But when I had my very first meeting with Jennifer Herrera, she was so welcoming and so friendly. It made me feel very comfortable and relaxed. It got me even more excited about going to college. Every step of the way, my whole time here, I always felt like the staff was extremely friendly and interested in my future.”

Harvey now works as a computer technician for the city of Abilene, where he troubleshoots desktops and servers and sets up wireless access points, among other duties.

“It has changed my whole life, coming to TSTC,” Harvey said. “Before I went to school, I was absolutely miserable at my job. I felt stuck, like there was no escape. Since coming here, I’ve been able to move up in my life.”

Apart from his full-time job, he also runs his own business, Blue Helix Technology.

“It is absolutely exhausting to do that with a full-time job, but I enjoy it a lot,” Harvey said. “I manage small business networks. I do computer security and Wi-Fi for a few small businesses here in town.”

Harvey has some advice for those considering the Computer Networking & Systems Administration program: “You get what you put in.”

“When you come to the CNS program, you’re not going to graduate and immediately be a networking expert,” he said. “You’ll get a very solid foundation and hands-on learning experience that will allow you to build on that. TSTC gave me the foundation to build on for everything that I do now and everything that I love.”

For more information on TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration program, visit tstc.edu.

Annual TSTC Abilene Open House a Success

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene held its annual open house Friday, opening all three of its Abilene campus locations for tours and presentations. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, saw about 100 students come through.

This is the first year that all three campuses have been available for Open House.

“We did things a little differently this year because we opened up all three buildings,” said TSTC Vice President of Recruitment Kim Porter. “So, they went to Culinary, they got to see Aviation, and Wind Energy came over from Sweetwater. We had pictures of the new Industrial Maintenance labs to market the new building, and Welding came over as well.”

Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology will begin in Abilene in the fall with the opening of TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center. Visiting prospective students learned about the three programs.

“We had a lot of interest in the new programs,” Porter said. “All in all it was a really good day.”

Many of the day’s visitors came in with programs already in mind.

“A lot of the students that came in kind of knew what they wanted, other than just coming in to visit TSTC,” Porter said. “Our recruiters have done a really good job in preparing them and showing them what to expect. I met a young lady from Abilene High School, a first-generation student, and she applied for our Industrial Maintenance program. She’s really excited about that.”

TSTC recruiter Hannah Elliott said she had seen a lot of the visitors before.

“A lot of students I’ve developed relationships with throughout the year came to the event,” said Elliott. “Every student thanked me and was glad that we held the event. The parents were excited that they were able to come and that everybody was here and ready to help them.”


TSTC will hold open houses at its campuses in Brownwood in February and Breckenridge and Sweetwater in March.

For more information on open houses, visit tstc.edu/openhouse. To learn more about the college and its programs, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Receives Equipment From Lincoln Electric

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College has received 10 welding machines from Lincoln Electric to jump-start the welding program at its new Abilene campus.

“This support gives our students access to the newest technology out there,” said TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow. “Our students have the advantage of becoming familiar with industry-standard equipment before they begin working.”

Lead TSTC welding instructor Gregory Nicholas said the equipment is highly advanced and will be utilized to its highest potential.

“This support from Lincoln provides our students with the most up-to-date multiprocess welders on the market,” Nicholas said. “It gives them every tool needed and available to become the welder that industry needs. These machines will help TSTC ensure that our students are proficient in all welding processes and can pursue a career in the industry.”

The Lincoln Electric equipment is from their Power Wave, Power Feed and FlexTec lines.

“Lincoln Electric is pleased to support and advance Texas State Technical College’s welding program,” said Jason Scales, Lincoln Electric’s business manager, education. “By expanding access to state-of-the art welding solutions, training and skills, TSTC graduates are better positioned to build successful, long-term careers in advanced manufacturing.”

With the upcoming addition of the welding program at the Abilene campus, TSTC will offer welding at all 10 of its locations. Officials broke ground on Abilene’s new campus last April, and classes are set to begin there this fall. The new building, which is being constructed off Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport, will also house Electrical Power & Controls and Industrial Maintenance Technology programs.

Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 63 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 23 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Culinary Arts Watches Calendar for Winter Vegetables

(WACO) – The winter months mean an abundance of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and other vegetables for students to learn about in Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts programs.

Of Texas’ five growing zones, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, three include TSTC’s campuses. TSTC’s Culinary Arts program in Abilene is in a zone stretching from the Red River to the Rio Grande. The technical college’s Culinary Arts programs in Waco and Williamson County are in a zone extending from the Rio Grande to the Houston coast. And, TSTC’s Culinary Arts program in Harlingen is in a zone made up of the Rio Grande Valley.

TSTC students learn about the seasonality of vegetables in classes, said Aaron Guajardo, an instructor in the Culinary Arts program in Waco. He said paying attention to when vegetables are at their height of availability can mean more quantity and lower food and shipping costs.

“The flavors are going to be better because the conditions will be more favorable for them to grow,” Guajardo said.

Winter vegetables are those that are planted in the fall and early winter and are harvested before spring planting, said Colleen Foleen, a McLennan County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for family and community health.

“The roots and leafy greens are going to be the ones you are going to have,” Foleen said. “If you look when they are available at the stores it’s best from November to April. Things in season and grown fairly locally are going to have a higher nutrition value, will be cheaper and have no artificial means of sunlight to grow.”

Each of the state’s growing zones bring different soil, climates and planting schedules. For instance, beets can be planted about Aug. 15 in the Panhandle and as late as Dec. 15 in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the extension service. The Ruby Queen and Detroit Dark Red beets are available in Texas from October to April as growing seasons move southward, according to the extension service and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Foleen said kale is currently being harvested and spinach and lettuce are growing well in McLennan County.

“It gets too hot here for most of the greens, but they will grow well in the wintertime,” she said. “We have a lot of vegetables that are winter that are considered spring and summer in other climates.”

Kayleen Mills, a Culinary Arts instructor at TSTC’s Abilene campus, uses celery and onions in stocks. Locally grown celery is available from December to April and onions can be planted in November and December in Central and South Texas with crops being available from March to August, according to the state extension service.

“It’s a huge money saver and time saver and it’s neat for the students to see it too,” Mills said. “Things like that do very well in the winter.”

Herbs are also available year-round throughout the state. Mills said she and other faculty members grow herbs in raised gardening boxes in the parking lot next to the T&P Depot in downtown Abilene.  

“The students see how intense the herbs are in flavor when you grow them versus purchasing them,” Mills said. “It’s a huge thing when you are manipulating recipes.”

Seeing when vegetables are in season helps with menu planning at TSTC’s student restaurants in Abilene, Harlingen and Waco.

“It comes down to how you get the best product at the end of the day,” Guajardo said.

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

Mark Your Calendar: TSTC Registration Rally on Nov. 29

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene will host a Registration Rally on Wednesday, Nov. 29 – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students.

 

Recruiting and Admissions staff will be on standby to walk students through the registration process. They will also offer tours and help with applications.

 

The Registration Rally will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the main campus. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the Abilene campus and tour the facilities.

 

In addition to Recruiting and Admissions; personnel from Financial Aid, Testing, Student Success and Veteran Services will be available to answer questions and lend a helping hand. Prospective students will be able to learn all about resources available to them.

 

Students who need help finalizing their registration are encouraged to bring the following: copy of driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.

 

For more information on the Registration Rally, go to www.tstc.edu/rally.

TSTC Culinary Arts Student Awarded James Beard Foundation Scholarship

(ABILENE) – Matthew Kepner, a first-semester Culinary Arts student at Texas State Technical College in Abilene, was selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship from the James Beard Foundation.

The James Beard Foundation’s scholarship program, which was established in 1991, assists aspiring and established culinary professionals further their education at accredited culinary schools or hospitality institutions, colleges and universities. In 2016 the foundation awarded over $7 million in financial aid to more than 1,850 recipients.

Beard was a culinary pioneer and hosted the first TV food program in 1946. Also a chef, cookbook author and teacher, Beard was dubbed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times.

Kepner applied for the scholarship after finding the information online, and he was excited to find out he was selected.

“I was at work when my mom got the mail,” he said. “She called me crying. It was really exciting.”

So far, the scholarship has helped Kepner in school.

“It’s really helped me with books, paying for classes and registering for everything,” Kepner said. “It helped get me supplies like notebooks, pencils and things I need like that.”

Culinary Arts instructor and chef Kayleen Moon said she sees a bright future for Kepner.

“The prepared ones are the ones that do well,” she said. “He was one of those. He started emailing me long before any of the actual paperwork to get into the school.”

She said Kepner’s cooking experience outside of school will help him succeed.

“He’s worked hard for what he has,” Moon said. “He has experience, actual chef experience in a kitchen. He knows actual culinary terms, not just ‘home kitchen words.’ When I say things like ‘depouillage,’ he knows what it means. He’s already coming in gifted and experienced.”

Kepner will graduate in 2019 and hopes to find a job working on an offshore oil rig or in Alaska.

“Since those jobs are two weeks on, two weeks off, on my two weeks off I’d like to travel abroad to learn about other cultures’ cooking and hopefully study under some other chefs,” he said.

Authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine are Kepner’s favorite foods to cook.

“I love the culture and history around Mexican food and Tex-Mex,” he said. “I learned a lot from my neighbors who are from Mexico. They’ve taught me about cooking meat underground and stuff like that and cooking for hours and hours at a time. I just love the smells; they’re the best thing in the world to me.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College and the Culinary Arts program, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Culinary Arts Student Awarded $2,500 Grant

(ABILENE) – Gissell Lomas Tavarez, a Texas State Technical College Culinary Arts student, recently was awarded a $2,500 grant from the National Restaurant Association.

Tavarez said the application process involved completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), writing an essay and getting three letters of recommendation.

“It does take a lot of work, but I finished it, and the association was really nice,” Tavarez said. “The essay, if you like doing what you do, you’ll write brilliantly about it.”

Chef Kayleen Moon, a TSTC Culinary Arts instructor, said that Tavarez absolutely deserved the grant.

“She’s very diligent. She had to go through a few more hoops to get here than most,” Moon said. “She’s very independent and still manages to do well in school. I’m very impressed with her. She worked really hard to get this scholarship.”

Tavarez said the money helped her take a break from work and focus on her studies.

“I was so excited,” Tavarez said. “I knew I wasn’t going to struggle as much. It’s so hard because after a while you’re like, ‘How am I going to do it? I’ll have to work more.’ So I was happy to know that I can take time off work and focus on my school because I know I have that backup money.”

She also used some of the money to help buy supplies for class.

“You think you’re going to be able to use it on yourself, but you use it always for school. I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to buy myself something nice!’ No,” she laughed. “It really helped me get my books. Our pants and our shoes are done in like three months because we walk so much, and our knives are very expensive, so I used a lot of that money for that.”

After Tavarez graduates in May, she hopes to help her mother grow her business, Rossy’s Cafe, in the Texas Panhandle city of Hereford.

“My mom owns a little business already, and I think I want to expand it,” Tavarez said. “That’s why I came here, to get more of the information on how to actually manage it. I just wanted to take over a little bit because it is stressful owning your own business, very stressful. So I want to co-work with her, and hopefully we can do way more.”

Tavarez said the cafe shows potential.

“It’s a kind of diner place, very chill and relaxed, but there can be way more added to it,” she said. “It’s just hard when you’re trying to pay for what you already have and expand. So hopefully after this I can help Mom make it bigger. I know it can be way bigger than what it is.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College and the Culinary Arts program, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Veterans Receive Another $75,000 Gift from EMA Electromechanics

(SWEETWATER) – EMA Electromechanics donated $75,000 to Texas State Technical College in a check signing ceremony Friday, Oct. 20. The donation brings EMA contributions to TSTC to a total of $150,000.

The gift funds an account called Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education, which was established in 2015 when EMA gave the first gift of $75,000. Funds will go toward helping veterans complete their technical training at the college’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater.

EMA created the account as a way to honor area veterans.

“We want to give back to them for what they do for us,” said EMA Manager Gabriel Acosta. “The way we see it is that we enjoy freedom in the U.S. because of their efforts.”

Since 2015, 36 veterans have benefited from the Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education. TSTC currently serves 68 veterans across its four West Texas campuses.

EMA hopes the gift will ease the transition veterans face when returning from service.

“The purpose of this gift is to make sure that they have a chance to go back to civilian life with some help if they need some, to go back and get a career or improve their knowledge,” Acosta said.

Robert Schneider, an Air Force veteran who is an Automotive student at TSTC, was one of the recipients of the scholarship.

“I will forever be grateful for EMA being a helping hand in a time of need,” Schneider said. “I probably speak on behalf of many veterans when I say thank you. Being able to receive help from this company has lifted a lot of burden off of my shoulders at very crucial times.”

EMA was founded in 1952 in Argentina, but in 2010 it expanded to open its Sweetwater location, where it develops and manufactures specialized electromechanical equipment for wind generation.

TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow said the college is grateful for EMA and its contribution.

“TSTC is very thankful to EMA Electromechanics’ gift to our veteran students,” said Denbow. “Relationships like these not only strengthen TSTC, but bolster our students and community as well.”

For information on making a difference for TSTC students, visit tstc.edu/tstcfoundation.

 

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