Category Archives: Brownwood

TSTC in West Texas Holds Fall 2018 Commencement

(ABILENE) – More than 140 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2018 Commencement held Monday, Dec. 10, at the Abilene Convention Center. Graduates from TSTC’s four West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater were recognized.

For Ronnie Pitts, an instructor and statewide department head in the Emergency Medical Services program at Abilene, watching his students achieve their educational goals does not get tiring. It was especially significant when one student bestowed upon him an honorary Phi Theta Kappa stole as a thank-you.

“This is the event that makes everything we do as instructors worthwhile,” Pitts said. “Being able to watch our students succeed is what we live for. But, to be given this honor on top of it all is a special recognition that I greatly appreciate.”

 

Students could be found thanking their instructors and excitedly talking about having accepted job offers.

Chris Russell, an Army veteran and member of Phi Theta Kappa, received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Technology Compliance. He started working full time last Monday at Clean Harbors.

“I worked in the oil field after the Army and saw that there was a way to make good money while staying clean and dry,” Russell said. “So now I get to do what I enjoy and be comfortable.”

During the commencement ceremony, Julian Alvarez III, the commissioner representing labor with the Texas Workforce Commission, encouraged students to be humble in their success and spend time with successful people.

“You will face careers, not jobs, the rest of your life,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez is a first-generation college graduate. He said that, just like TSTC did for him when he was a student, the graduates have received the tools needed to think for themselves.

“You are ready to meet those challenges you will face in the workplace,” Alvarez said.

Many of Monday’s graduates were inspired and led to success by family members.

Mary Mares of Brownwood, who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing from Sweetwater, said it was her son who inspired her to pursue her degree.

“My son was born with craniosynostosis, and it was his birth that motivated me to get this degree so I can help him and others to the best of my ability,” Mares said.

Phillip Cruz of Sweetwater received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology. He said his 6-year-old daughter was his inspiration for pursuing his studies.

“It’s a second career,” Cruz said. “I used to be a police officer. The country is changing to green energy. I figured I would help the country move forward.”

Cruz is considering job offers at energy companies in Michigan and Texas.

Earlier in the day, the Nursing programs held pinning ceremonies for graduates in Abilene and Sweetwater.

For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

 

TSTC Alumna Uses Degree, Experience to Help Heal Others

(BROWNWOOD) — Battling addiction takes determination, drive and a support system. Texas State Technical College alumna Stephanie Narramore used these tools in her own recovery and now uses them to help others.

Narramore graduated in 2015 from TSTC in Brownwood with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling and is now Associate Director of Clinical Services at Starlite Recovery Center in Center Point, Texas.

“TSTC was a really important part of me changing and my recovery. I suffered from a (drug) addiction for 14 years, and it was time for a change for my daughter and for me,” Narramore said.

When Narramore arrived at TSTC, she was nervous to be going back to school as a nontraditional student but was surprised by the support she found.

“I was scared,” Narramore said. “I was really scared to be going to school at my age, 38, but my instructors and the staff were amazing. They helped me to see something in myself that I didn’t at the time. They put in just as much work as I did.”

Elizabeth Jones, a Chemical Dependency Counseling instructor, recognized the willingness to change in Narramore.

“Stephanie came to school determined, prepared and totally ready to make a change in her life,” said Jones, who was also a mentor to Narramore. “She knew that hard work was in her future, and she never walked away from a challenge. She is a role model for other students in the Chemical Dependency Counseling program.”

Driven by her desire to create a better life as a single mother, Narramore earned not only her degree, but also a list of honors along the way.

“I was the guest speaker at my graduation, the Board of Regents Medal of Honor recipient and president of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. It was very validating,” Narramore said.

Narramore’s attitude and will to succeed left a lasting impression on the people she encountered at TSTC.

“Stephanie is hardworking and determined. She sets goals and doesn’t let hurdles get in her way.” Raquel Mata, associate provost of TSTC in Brownwood, said.

In her current position at Starlite Recovery Center, Narramore says she has found a way to help heal others.

“I’ve been where these patients have been, so I know exactly what they’re going through,” Narramore said. “I found my purpose, and it’s being able to make a difference in someone else’s life.”

The TSTC Chemical Dependency Counseling program is available at the Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood campuses.

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

TSTC Unveils New Emergency Medical Services Simulator

(BROWNWOOD) – Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services program celebrated its new ambulance simulator with an open house on Wednesday.

The Brownwood Municipal Development District and the city of Brownwood provided about $50,000 in funding for the simulator, said Andy Weaver, TSTC’s statewide director for Allied Health and Emergency Medical Services.

“This will help grow the program for students to have better learning opportunities,” Weaver said.

He said students will get as close to a real-life experience as possible while working in the simulator, which is roughly the size of an ambulance without the cab and engine.

Ray Tipton, executive director of the Brownwood Municipal Development District, said the organization is committed to helping educational entities develop skills to drive economic development.

“TSTC has been a valuable partner with Brownwood in developing technical skills,” he said. “We have a lot of highly technical-skilled jobs here. TSTC is a tool we use a lot to talk to companies when recruiting.”

Some students said they have enjoyed being in the simulator, which features operational blue and red lights.

Kaitlyn Gipson, 21, of Brownwood is a certificate student in the technical program she described as intense and fast-paced.

“It gives us a real look in the ambulance and how we do certain things,” she said. “You have to be committed to this field to work in it.”

Gipson said she was inspired to pursue the field because some of her relatives are in the medical field.

“I wanted to be on the front lines,” she said.

Ethan Rhodes, 18, of Brownwood is studying to earn an emergency medical technician certification to help him become a firefighter. He said he likes being in the simulator because he can learn with his hands.

The simulator is in the Emergency Medical Services program’s new lecture and lab space in TSTC’s Welcome Center. The program also has a new mock emergency room and video capability for lessons.

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

TSTC Holds Summer 2018 Commencement

(ABILENE) – More than 130 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2018 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 17, at the Abilene Convention Center.

Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, said the night was a time to celebrate.

“For the graduates, tonight is an achievement,” Denbow said. “The sacrifices you made to get homework and tests done and being experts at time management was all worth it.”

Guest speaker Samuel Garcia, owner and operator of Samuel Garcia State Farm Insurance and a board member at Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, said he was a fan of TSTC’s mission.

Garcia told graduates to think about others who have not experienced higher education. He told them to value the certificates and associate degrees they were receiving.

“Tonight is about you,” Garcia said. “Tomorrow is about you talking about what education can do for a person.”

Some graduates will continue on with their education.

Devan Moore, 30, of Abilene is a U.S. Army veteran who received a certificate in Wind Energy Technology from TSTC in Sweetwater.

“I want to say that it is a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “The best times were when I was up-tower in a wind turbine and applying what I learned.”

Moore will be one of the first students in the new Industrial Maintenance Technology program starting this fall at TSTC in Abilene.

Some graduates already have jobs.

Pamela Hermosillo, 21, of Breckenridge earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling from TSTC in Breckenridge.

She has been hired to work at the Walker Sayle Unit, part of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Hermosillo also did her practicum at the prison.

“You learn a lot from the inmates,” she said. “You understand what they are doing in their addictions to drugs and alcohol.”

Some graduates are continuing their job hunt.

Robert Wiley, 24, of Abilene received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration from TSTC in Abilene.

“I enjoyed being around other students pursuing their career goals,” he said.

Wiley had several people in attendance at the graduation ceremony, including his parents and members of his church congregation.

Luis Rueda, 20, of Colorado City received a certificate in Welding Technology from TSTC in Sweetwater. He earned dual credit through TSTC when he was a student at Colorado High School in Colorado City.

“My brother started welding a lot,” Rueda said. “When he talked to me about it and said it was cool, that caught my attention and I just got into it.”

Rueda said he wants to get a welding job in the Midland-Odessa area.

Caydon Vara, 19, of Brownwood received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Technology from TSTC in Brownwood.

“I want to go to the fire side of it,” Vara said. “It runs in the family. It’s a calling.”

Earlier in the day, the Associate Degree in Nursing Pinning Ceremony for TSTC in Sweetwater nursing graduates took place at an Abilene church.

For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

TSTC EMS Student Sets a High Bar

(BROWNWOOD) – Christopher Michael of Comanche worked jobs as a bartender and band tour manager after high school, but he knew he wanted to do more with his life.

The job he had as a volunteer firefighter lit the spark, which led to him to enroll at Texas State Technical College.

“I was looking for something more long-term and stable,” he said.

Michael is a candidate for graduation for the Certificate 2 – Emergency Medical Services Paramedic at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2018 Commencement on Friday, Aug. 17, at the Abilene Convention Center.

Michael is already a graduate of TSTC, having finished his Certificate 1 – Emergency Medical Services EMT in 2017.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “The instructors we have here have been helpful inside and outside the classroom. You spend so much time working together that it’s like a family.”

Stephanie Young, a TSTC Emergency Medical Services instructor, said Michael set a standard of professionalism among his classmates.

“He is just a wonderful advocate for our program,” she said. “He’s never late, has a 4.0 grade point average, which is not easy in the medical field. He is outstanding in his clinicals. He really sets the standard.”

Michael, 36, currently works for Lifeguard Emergency Medical Services in Brownwood.

“We answer 911 calls in Brown County and take transfers across the state,” he said. “I can work on classwork between calls. I have to push through it. It’s a grueling schedule with school and clinicals.”

Michael’s clinical work was in Abilene and split between ambulance services and hospitals. He said he enjoyed being in the operating rooms the most, learning about anatomy and medical procedures.

“The students learn quality patient care and professionalism that really sets them apart from others,” Young said. “We teach in a flip classroom, which means it is all scenario-based education. It is real world, real-life scenarios from mock phone calls to action in the field. There is an extreme demand for paramedics, so much so that they are being offered hiring bonuses.”

Michael will be among the first Emergency Medical Services students attending classes in late August in the new Industrial Technology Center at TSTC in Abilene. The EMS program is relocating to the new building from the East Highway 80 campus in Abilene.

“Right now I am at another stepping stone to be a flight medic,” said Michael. “I could not have picked a better college.”

Michael is a 2000 graduate of Comanche High School.

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

 

TSTC Visionary Murray Watson Jr. Remembered for Service

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College mourned Wednesday the loss of former Texas legislator Murray Watson Jr., who filed legislation in 1969 to separate what was an arm of the Texas A&M University system into a stand-alone institution for technical education that would become TSTC.

“If there was ever a Mr. TSTC, it would be Murray Watson,” said Elton Stuckly Jr., TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief strategic relations officer.

Watson died Tuesday at age 86.

Watson was a state senator when he filed legislation to make the James Connally Technical Institute independent and rename it Texas State Technical Institute (now TSTC). Gov. Preston Smith signed the bill’s final version in May 1969 in Austin.

At TSTC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in April 2015 in Austin, Watson was honored with a Founder’s Award.

Watson’s name is on TSTC’s student recreation center on Campus Drive. That factored into his wife, Greta, having been honored with the nearby Culinary Arts building being named for her.

“Murray and I walked out of the old (TSTC) system’s building, and we were about a million dollars short to build the new Culinary Arts Center,” Stuckly said. “I said, ‘Mr. Watson, I want you to think about something. Your name is on that (the recreation center) building. Wouldn’t it be nice for it (the new building) to be called the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center? If you give us a million dollars, you could look at each other forever.’ It wasn’t a couple of weeks later that he called and said he was going to do it.”

Stuckly said Watson was a mentor who would give him advice.

“He always stayed in contact with me by email,” Stuckly said. “He was always looking for ways and ideas of how to make TSTC a better college.”

Stuckly said he and Watson always found much to talk about.

“He grew up in Mart, and I was raised in Penelope,” Stuckly said. “He always wanted to ask about TSTC first, then talk about farm cattle and his feed store and what I used to do on the farm. He said, ‘Elton, there aren’t many people that I can talk to who relate to those times.’”

Verna Lastrapes, a TSTC college outreach specialist, grew up knowing the Watson family in Mart. She said Watson’s family owned the local feed store, which she would visit as a four-year-old with her father at least twice a week to catch up with residents.

“Murray Jr. was a senior at Mart High School then,” she said. “I knew him well because he and my sister, Barbara, were friends.”

Pete Rowe, TSTC’s vice president for institutional development, hauled hay for Watson when he was a teenager in Mart. Rowe also graduated from Mart High School.

“It’s a personal loss for me because I loved him so much,” Rowe said. “He was a great mentor to me. He and Mrs. Watson have always been very kind to me and have done a lot for me in my life and career.”

Lastrapes said residents in Mart thought Watson would be president one day.

“He did not become president, but he did become our state representative and our state senator,” she said. “As a teenager, I remember helping campaign for him. Just about everyone in Mart campaigned for him.”

The feed store factored into Watson’s law career.

“When he lost the campaign for U.S. representative and went into private law practice, he had his office in Waco and one in Mart above the feed store,” Lastrapes said. “For years that is where he conducted all legal transactions with my daddy and other rural area farmers and businessmen.”

Rowe said Watson raised cattle andis sure he must have encountered on his ranch some of what TSTC teaches today.

“Murray was a highly intelligent person,” he said. “He was way ahead of the curve in the education field. He really studied education. He knew what to do.”

Lastrapes worked several years at the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. Inc., which financed student loans. Watson was one of the organization’s founders.

“He had his own time schedule,” she said. “We began to say, ‘The starting time is when Murray Watson gets there.’ That was for everything!”

John K. Hatchel, chair of the TSTC Board of Regents, worked with Watson as a member of the Brazos Higher Education Service’s board of directors.

“He was very quiet, but he was consistent,” Hatchel said. “If there was a person who needed something or help, he was the first in line to do his part. He did it not expecting any accolades or thank-you’s. He just did it as a person.”

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

 

TSTC in Brownwood to Host Registration Events This Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSTC Chemical Dependency Counseling Student Teaches Inmates Life Skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSTC Graduate Staying Local to Work

(BROWNWOOD) – Danielle Carnes had an idea early on about what she wanted to do in her life.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted my career to be in business,” she said.

Carnes, 27, of Brownwood graduated from Texas State Technical College in Brownwood with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Software and Business Accounting at the recent TSTC Spring 2018 Commencement held in Abilene. Carnes stayed in her academic plan as the program and degree name changed to Business Management Technology.

Carnes was hired during her last semester to work at Landmark Life Insurance Co. on South County Road 225 in Brownwood. She is a claims processor.

“Living in Brownwood made my degree decision easier, so I can stay in my hometown and my kids can stay living in the same town as all of their friends,” she said.

Carnes is a 2009 graduate of Zephyr High School in Zephyr.

At TSTC, she was a student ambassador, a work-study student and member of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. She said working on campus helped bring income into her household while she was attending classes.

“She is a certified TSTC leader, having graduated from our Student Leadership Academy,” said Duston Brooks, an instructor and advisor in TSTC’s Business Management Technology program. “She set a high example as a tutor to other students and helped explain and reinforce concepts that they may not have completely understood in class. If there could be a photo illustrating the words ‘outstanding graduate,’ Danielle’s photo should be the one.”

Carnes said she would miss TSTC’s staff and attending student-oriented events.

“Always try to make a working routine where you’re not stressed and can enjoy your college experience,” she said. “Yes, the work can be hard, but the environment at TSTC makes it worthwhile and enjoyable.”

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

TSTC West Texas Campuses Seeking Welding Instructors

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College is looking for motivational people who can put a spark in the lives of Welding Technology students.

TSTC’s campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood are seeking three qualified welding instructors with a combination of professional and teaching experience.

“We are always looking for awesome people to join our TSTC team,” said Rhiannon Hastings, lead statewide recruiter in TSTC Human Resources. “We truly value hands-on experience in industry to provide the best learning experiences possible for our students at TSTC.”

Starting this fall, TSTC in Abilene will offer the Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology and two certificates.

TSTC in Breckenridge offers a three-semester certificate in structural welding and accepts up to 20 students each semester.

“If you like small-town living, a great place to raise a family and a place where everybody knows everybody, it can work for you,” said Debbie Karl, executive director of the Breckenridge campus.

TSTC in Brownwood can accommodate 28 structural welding certificate students.

“We need someone with experience,” said Raquel Mata, executive director of the Brownwood campus. “We would like to have someone well known to the businesses and can meet and greet and have moments with them to get to know them. We want someone to be a good fit for our students and be a good leader.”

Applicants need to have current American Welding Society certifications and  experience in shielded metal arc, flux-cored arc, gas metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding processes, along with fabrication, layout and pipe welding. Applicants having an associate degree in welding are preferred.

TSTC is a state institution offering Health Select of Texas administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, paid vacation days, sick leave and state holidays, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement. The technical college also offers employee development and employee appreciation events as part of its overarching goal to make TSTC a great place to work.

For more information on employment at Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu/about/employment.