Category Archives: Brownwood

TSTC Graduate Returns to Teach New Program

stephBROWNWOOD- Stephanie Young began working at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood at the start of August to teach the campus’ new Emergency Medical Technician program.

The Bangs, Texas, resident graduated from the Emergency Medical Services program at TSTC in Abilene in 2011. She served as a paramedic throughout the Big Country area for the last six years before teaching at TSTC.

Young was inspired to break into the industry by her brother, who is also a paramedic.

“My brother was a paramedic right out of high school,” Young said. “We’re only 14 months apart.”

But after getting married and having children at a young age, she decided to put her college plans on hold.

“I had my first child when I was 18,” Young said. “You’re kind of strapped to the kids at that point. I worked in real estate for a long time, but I always wanted to be an EMT. I just had a passion for it and for helping people.”

So once her children were able to care for themselves, she took the plunge into the emergency medical services field.

“I decided that it was time for me to do it,” Young said. “I went through the paramedic program at TSTC in Abilene and I loved it so much. I really think the education I got at TSTC is what brought me back here to teach.”

Beginning work at TSTC just a few weeks before classes began for the fall, Young was nervous.

“When I got into this, I was worried about the teaching portion of it, but I realized very quickly that it’s not just teaching,” Young said. “There’s a lot involved—recruitment, getting the kids in here and registered, following up with learning programs the EMS department uses. I’m kind of getting used to the software and everything, but I’ve found that—since I’m passionate about it and about EMS— teaching has come easy.”

So far, her favorite part has been working with the students.

“We had a class yesterday and we were going over anatomy and physiology, cells and our body’s responses to injuries,” Young said. “The students were reading it on their own and they didn’t quite understand, but then they came to class and we were able to shed light on the subject. It’s really awesome to see the students get excited. And I think that’s my favorite part—that they enjoy learning.”

The Emergency Medical Technician certificate is now offered at the Brownwood campus. For more information on the program, visit

TSTC in Brownwood to Offer Emergency Medical Services Certificate

Texas State Technical College in Brownwood will begin offering an Emergency Medical Services certificate beginning in fall 2016.

Andy Weaver, Allied Health division director for TSTC in West Texas, said the new program revives a previously offered program.

“We used to offer Emergency Medical Services a number of years ago in Brownwood,” Weaver said. “Now, there was some local motivation for more health care programs to be available, so we’re bringing it back.”

The 16-credit-hour certificate can be completed in two semesters and prepares graduates to enter the field as an emergency medical technician.

Chris Furry, Lifeguard-Brown County EMS chief said Lifeguard is excited that TSTC is again offering the program in Brownwood.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with the TSTC EMS program,” said Furry. “With the local program, students will be able to gain a direct understanding of Lifeguard’s services and patient care expectations, thus expanding our local candidate pool as they complete the program.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 29 percent growth in emergency medical technician and paramedic jobs through 2022, with Texas being the nation’s top employer in that field.

“We have an ever-growing geriatric population and a reduction in the workforce,” Weaver said. “These combined are making it more challenging for organizations to remain staffed.  We want to open and grow the Brownwood Emergency Medical Services program to help serve the EMS industry in and around Brownwood.”

Before enrolling in the program, students must attend an information session, where they will be given a packet with pre-requirement information. Sessions will be offered at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, and Wednesday, Aug. 10, in Brownwood. Students can also attend a session in Abilene, where they are offered every Tuesday.

For more information on the program or the information sessions, contact TSTC in Brownwood at 325-643-5987.

TSTC Students to Challenge for Gold

(WEST TEXAS) – Two students from Texas State Technical College in West Texas are preparing to travel to Louisville, Kentucky to contend for gold medals at SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference.


Rachael Thompson will compete in First Aid-CPR and Jon William Lewis will compete in Information Technology Systems at the conference, which is scheduled for June 20 to 24. More than 6,000 high school and college students are expected to compete in about 100 contests.


“We are very proud,” TSTC in West Texas Provost Eliska Smith said. “We are excited that we will be represented again at SkillsUSA. It’s wonderful for them to have this experience to compete against other college students around the nation.”


The TSTC Foundation honored the students with a special send-off on Friday, June 10, in Abilene.


Winning a gold medal at the national competition can add another credential to students’ resumes and make them more marketable when job hunting.


“SkillsUSA is an excellent opportunity to get the attention of important people, whether it be the contest chair who is selected from industry or a potential employer through one’s resume,” said Lewis, 21, of Abilene and a May graduate in Computer Networking and Systems Administration.


Students from TSTC in West Texas, Waco and Harlingen won more than 30 gold medals, and more than 70 medals total, during SkillsUSA’s statewide postsecondary competition in early April in Waco.


“The biggest success I think we have had this year for our campuses in West Texas has been the amount of medals we have taken home this year,” said Crystal Latham-Alford, a SkillsUSA campus director for the Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater campuses. “Also, this is the second year we have been up in participation numbers in the last five years. We continue to grow and the future looks bright.”


SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.


Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, log on to

TexasBank of Brownwood President to Present Five TSTC Scholarships

(BROWNWOOD) – Gregory Dodds, President and CEO of TexasBank of Brownwood, presented five TSTC students with $1,000 scholarships on Monday, Sept. 21.

The bank has donated $5,000 annually to TSTC for several years. This year the bank asked that the money be disbursed at the rate of $1,000 each to five worthy Brownwood students.

The five students selected, Joshua Barron, Irene Holmes, Dawn Pinkard, Mariolis Ragland and Laura Weaver, were selected based on merit and financial need.

Joshua Barron, a fifth semester Software & Business Accounting student, said he has plans for the scholarship.

“It will help with books, tuition, gas back and forth to campus, and program materials,” Barron said.

TSTC in West Texas Provost Eliska Smith said these kinds of gifts are something that really helps the students.

“Scholarships like these not only help the students with tuition, but also with unexpected expenses that they may need help covering to stay in school,” Smith said. “We’re thankful to Mr. Dodds and TexasBank of Brownwood for supporting TSTC and our students.”

Dodds serves as a Board Member for The TSTC Foundation.

TSTC Chancellor Announces New Leadership for West Texas

(SWEETWATER) – Chancellor Mike Reeser announces the appointment of Eliska Smith, MASCL to serve as provost for the Texas State Technical College campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, effective August 10.

 Smith began her career in marketing and communications more than 25 years ago, spanning the economic development and consulting, publishing and health care industries, as well as higher education. Smith’s tenure with TSTC began in 2002. Today, she serves as TSTC’s statewide public relations officer and leads strategic communications from the central administrative offices in Waco. Previously, she was TSTC’s associate vice chancellor specializing in communications, public relations, and leadership development. She also was the founding director and sponsoring executive-in-charge of the TSTC Leadership Institute.

“In essence, the job of the provost is to make TSTC a great place to work and to develop our relationships with the communities in which we operate,” said Chancellor Michael L. Reeser. “I have confidence that Eliska’s keen grasp of the organizational mission and her ability to foster relationships will be an asset to our West Texas family,” added Reeser.

“Eliska’s leadership experience and broad background will serve her well as the provost and leader of our West Texas campuses,” said Gail Lawrence, President Emerita, Vice Chancellor & Chief Culture Officer.

“It will be my joy to call the Big Country home,” said Smith. “I look forwarding to helping TSTC strengthen our partnerships with community and industry leaders to strengthen our economies and to help more Texans prosper,” added Smith.

Smith received a Master of Arts in Strategic Communications and Leadership from Seton Hall University, an advanced certificate in mid-management from SMU/Cox School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University.

Smith has served in leadership positions within community and professional associations including: President and past president of the board, Christian Women’s Job Corp of McLennan County; lay director of the Greater Waco Emmaus Community; member, Waco LeadershipPlenty; secretary, board member, and president of the Central Texas Chapter Public Relations Society of America; district IV executive committee member for the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, member of the Leadership Waco Class XX, board member of the Leadership Waco Alumni Association, member of the Rotary Club of Waco, and board member of the Waco Aviation Advisory Board.

Smith is a single mother, with a son, Houston, who is attending Texas Tech University, and a daughter, Caroline, who will be attending Sweetwater High School.

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TSTC Hires New Director of Instructional Support Services

(BROWNWOOD) — Texas State Technical College in Brownwood welcomed a new Director of Instructional Support Services June 1. Dr. Les Plagens took over the role after leaving Howard Payne University, where he worked for 23 years, serving the past 18 years as dean and professor for the School of Business.

Plagens provided leadership in attaining specialized accreditation with the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education and in developing the MBA programs in Brownwood, El Paso and New Braunfels.

Previously, he served as principal of Brownwood State School from 1991 to 1997 and taught distributive education in the Kerrville ISD and Shallowater ISD career and technology programs from 1977 to 1982.

Plagens earned a Bachelor of Science (1977) and Master of Arts in Teaching (1979) from Angelo State University, and a Doctorate of Education (1986) from Texas A&M University, with a major in post-secondary vocational education administration.

Dr. Plagens and his wife, Camille, have been married 38 years and have three children and two grandchildren.