Category Archives: Marshall

TSTC Expands Technology Certification Opportunities

(MARSHALL) – Students in three programs at Texas State Technical College are getting an opportunity to earn technology certifications as part of final exams starting this fall.

The Business Management Technology program in Abilene, Brownwood, Harlingen and Marshall is offering students opportunities to earn Microsoft Office certifications.

Students in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the in Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses, along with Cyber Security majors at the Fort Bend, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses, can earn Cisco and CompTIA information technology and networking certifications.

“If the industry values a certification or series of complementary certifications, and finds them necessary for our graduates in the workforce, we will implement the appropriate material in our courses,” said Bryan Bowling, director of instructional support at the Fort Bend County campus.

Expanding the concept evolved from an initiative TSTC in Marshall already had students doing.

“When I got here four years ago, the students took the class and then it was optional for them to take the certification exam,” said Randy Haley, associate vice president for student learning at the Marshall campus and statewide lead for the Computer Science division. “What I was seeing was a lot of students were not taking advantage of trying to test to see if they could get certified.”

Marshall faculty members began using certification tests as final examinations three years ago.

“There is nothing like seeing a student pass the Microsoft certification exam,” said Carolyn O’Neill, a Business Management Technology instructor at the Marshall campus. “Their excitement is hard to describe. The tears and little dances say it all. Many students study hard for their certification exam and when they see the pass score, it is so exciting. Their confidence goes through the roof.”

Expanding the use of certification tests to other TSTC campuses involved adding voucher codes to class section numbers, Haley said.

“When they registered for the first time, they paid for their test with their financial aid voucher,” he said. “Not only do they get the degree, but they get the industry certification as well.”

Students are not scheduled to have more than one class with a certification test during a semester, Haley said.

“The certifications are supposed to be hard,” Haley said. “We don’t like to double up on the students. We like them to be doing one certification per semester rather than be loading up at the end.”

Students who enter TSTC with certifications can get class credit, Haley said.

The Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses are certified Pearson VUE centers. Haley said Pearson VUE centers will be at the Fort Bend County, North Texas and Williamson County campuses in early 2018.

TSTC has statewide at least 340 students in the Business Management Technology program, more than 350 students in the Computer Systems and Network Administration program and more than 400 students in the Cyber Security program.

“TSTC is very market-driven and we are one, statewide,” said Bowling. “Our purpose is to ensure the success of our students in the workforce through the statewide lens. Therefore, we work very closely with industry leaders to determine what is most relevant for our students from an instructional standpoint.”

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TSTC Instructor Chosen for National Test Writing

(MARSHALL) – A Texas State Technical College instructor recently participated in a weeklong CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) examination development week in suburban Chicago.

Robert Brown, an instructor of Information Technology Studies, worked with nationwide professionals in the cloud management, technology infrastructure, programming, database administration and education fields to develop questions for the CompTIA IT Fundamentals examination. The test is expected to be offered nationwide in 2018 and is updated every three years. CompTIA is a nonprofit trade association providing worldwide vendor-neutral information technology certifications.

“CompTIA doesn’t have subject matter experts all the time, so what they do is reach out and try to get input,” Brown said.

Brown said the subject debate process to develop test questions was stimulating because of the group’s expertise in different areas.

“My biggest takeaway was how much CompTIA puts into test preparation and how much time they vet the quality,” he said. “They do their due diligence to make sure the industry is who is writing the test.”

Brown said he took advantage of telling group members about TSTC.

“I talked about how we are focused on getting jobs for Texans,” he said. “Most of them were jealous and said they wished their states would do what TSTC does. They really liked what they heard.”

Brown was chosen by CompTIA through an application process.

Randy Haley, associate vice president for student learning at TSTC, said Brown was a great choice for the nationwide committee.

“He knows what students need to do the jobs and what they need to know right now,” Haley said. “Being a part of that and helping with that is really an honor.”

Haley said TSTC students in Marshall test for CompTIA certifications in Network+, Security+ and A+ through the Computer Networking and Systems Administration and Cyber Security programs. He said the CompTIA IT Fundamentals test will be added this fall.

“We feel giving students the chance to take the certification tests and them passing increases their chances of getting a better job making more money,” Haley said.

Brown has been at TSTC since 2013. Before coming to the Marshall campus, he was co-owner of Inhouse Associates, an internet development firm in Longview.

Brown received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Commercial Art in 1994 from Kilgore College. He was also a member of the Commercial Art Club and Phi Theta Kappa – Gamma Omicron Chapter.

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TSTC Receives Donation from Longview Business

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College recently received a valuable in-kind donation from a Longview business.

In June the Airgas Store donated welding wire valued at more than $47,000. The store, one of more than 60 operated by Airgas in Texas, specializes in welding equipment and rentals, specialty gases and fire safety equipment.

The wiring will be used primarily by welding students and is expected to last two years, said Danny Nixon, an instructor in TSTC’s Computer Aided Manufacturing program in Marshall.

“A lot of times when you get deep into the fiscal year, money gets tight,” Nixon said. “This is a huge gift.”

This was the first time Airgas had made a gift to TSTC, said Jeffrey White, an Airgas account manager in Longview.

“This gives the students the opportunity to learn different welding processes they may come across once they graduate,” White said.

The gifting process started with White and an Airgas welding process specialist visiting TSTC in the winter to assess the Welding Technology program because of a request to buy new welding machines.

“I remember thinking how great it was that these students were getting a hands-on approach to welding and learning skills that would help them out immediately after graduation,” White said. “We ended by finding the right machines for them and started discussing other projects that we might be able to help them with.”

White said the business had excess welding wiring and he felt it could be put to good to use by TSTC’s welding students.

“Once approved, I got with Danny Nixon and gave him the list of different types of wire we had and asked if they could use it,” White said. “Turns out they could use everything on the list, so we loaded up our delivery truck and delivered it.”

Airgas is based in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

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TSTC in Marshall Recognizes Longtime Employee

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus has been educating East Texans since 1991, and one employee has been around to see much of its history.

Patricia A. Robbins, the admissions director and registrar, was recently honored at TSTC’s Employee Appreciation Day for 25 years of employment.

“Working with someone who is a walking encyclopedia of TSTC’s history here in Marshall is an absolute joy,” said Provost Barton Day. “I bet Miss Pat won’t say this, but she remembers several of our current faculty members when they first walked onto campus as students.”

Robbins said what has kept her working at TSTC has been her love for the students and seeing them succeed. She said in her job she keeps a positive outlook and encourages students to reach their academic and career goals.

“I feel true happiness when I see them on the road to success,” she said. “I counsel with them and pray with them along the way. Sometimes all they need is a little support and knowing that someone truly cares.”

Robbins’ work sweeps across several functions of the technical college, including dual enrollment.

“Pat has been very helpful and supportive,” said Michelle Ates, dual enrollment manager. “She provides great leadership to make sure the dual enrollment students’ admission and registration goals are met. If there are problems, she will look for the best means to ensure a positive experience for the high school students that leads to success.”

Before coming to TSTC in August 1992, Robbins worked for 17 years as an academic affairs administrative assistant at Wiley College in Marshall.

Robbins has a bachelor’s degree in office administration from Wiley College.

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TSTC Graduate Uses Computer Skills to Develop Business

(MARSHALL) – A Texas State Technical College alumnus is staying local with his new managed service provider business.

Joe Childress, 46, started Next View Technology Solutions last summer at his home in Marshall to provide technical work for businesses with less than 50 employees. His associate degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration from TSTC helped give him the foundation to work confidently.

“The problem-solving techniques I learned – I use in my skills today,” Childress said. “The people skills I learned from the other classes have been beneficial.”

He wanted to locate his business in Harrison County because of the need to make employees more efficient and technically savvy.

“You are going to have more up-to-date hardware, and your employees are going to get more done and get a full-time information technology person on call 24 hours, seven days a week,” he said.

Childress has attended as many Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce activities as he can to generate business interest.

“To accomplish our goals, we work in partnership with businesses, professional services, concerned citizens, and local city and county governments,” said Stormy Nickerson, the chamber’s executive director. “As a chamber, our mission is to provide quality service and leadership to our members and the community, build a healthier local economy and improve the quality of life.”

Childress graduated in 1989 from Marshall High School and worked at a machine shop and later at McDonald’s, where he went into management.

He came to a point where he needed to figure out his future. Childress determined what career field he wanted to pursue by making a list of three components of every business: accounting, technology and human resources.

Technology is what Childress ultimately chose when he graduated in 2001 from TSTC.  

“It’s always great to see a TSTC graduate work hard, continue to polish a skill set and find themselves in the position to become a small, and hopefully growing, business owner,” TSTC Provost Barton Day said. “What a great success story.”

TSTC in Marshall will have Registration Rally events on June 22, July 20 and Aug. 3 for prospective students interested in attending for the fall semester. For more information, go to

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TSTC in Marshall to Host Registration Events This Summer

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College will host three Registration Rally events this summer for prospective students interested in enrolling for the fall semester.

The events will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 22, July 20; and Aug. 3, in the Administration Building on East End Boulevard South in Marshall.

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

“Our Registration Rally will be a one-stop shop for students to register for classes at TSTC,” said Patty Lopez, a TSTC recruiter. “Students can get their admissions or financial aid questions answered, check out housing options and meet instructors from all of our programs.”

Visitors can take campus tours and talk to faculty members about the more than ten technical programs offered at TSTC, including Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Cyber Security, Process Operations and Software Development Technology.

“TSTC is an affordable college that caters to placing more Texans in great-paying jobs,” Lopez said. “The first step is to visit the campus.”

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 immunization, housing application 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

For more information, contact TSTC in Marshall at 888-382-8782.

TSTC in Marshall Receives Equipment Donations

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College has recently received several financial and equipment donations to benefit students.

Komatsu in Longview has donated $45,000 in hydraulic motors, a hydraulic cooling unit and pieces of steel plate for students to use. The company specializes in manufacturing mining equipment.

“The items we use for testing cannot be sold as new pieces,” said Sean Hopkins, manager of product training and technical development at Komatsu. “We have done multiple visits at TSTC looking at the setup and thought it was a good idea to get some of our products on the benches in front of the students.”

The technical college also received in late April a John Deere bulldozer and two pieces of Cub Cadet outdoor power equipment valued around $8,500 from David Henderson of Belcher, Louisiana. This equipment will be used by TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“My son works there at the technical college, and he said they had a need for it,” said Henderson, a retired construction company owner. “My hope is the students will gain some valuable experience and hands-on experience so they can transfer into the real world of the job market.”

Eastman Chemical Co. in Longview recently gave $15,000 for its sponsorship program for students. Area high school seniors can receive scholarships from the company to study welding, industrial maintenance or industrial controls technology at TSTC. Recipients who maintain a high grade-point average can pursue internships at the company.

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TSTC, Marshall ISD Announce Expanded Dual Credit Initiative

(MARSHALL) – Marshall High School students will have more opportunities to take technical education classes this fall at Texas State Technical College.

Leaders from TSTC and the Marshall Independent School District announced Wednesday plans to increase technical education classes that high school students can take at the Marshall campus starting in the 2017-18 academic year. The initiative has been named Mav Tech, a combination of the high school’s Mavericks mascot and TSTC’s education focus.

“Mav Tech is long overdue,” said Dr. Jerry Gibson, superintendent of the Marshall Independent School District. “It’s an exciting day that we have this partnership with the college that is closest to our campus. Marshall High School and Marshall ISD should have, with TSTC sitting where it is, one of the largest career technical education programs in the state of Texas. And, this is going to be the first step in us building a bigger program in career and technology.”

At least 25 high school juniors and seniors are expected to take classes in Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Cyber Security and Software Development Technology programs this fall, said Michelle Ates, TSTC’s dual enrollment manager in Marshall.

“The students are getting a head start in the technical programs,” Ates said. “The tuition helps because it is affordable to the students.”

Marshall High School students began taking Business Management Technology and Welding Technology classes for dual credit in the 2015-16 academic year at the high school. These program offerings will continue in Mav Tech.

“Exposing students to a broader number of career options available to them gives them a greater ability to make a well-informed decision when matching a career and a higher education pathway,” TSTC in Marshall Provost Barton Day said. “I like to think of today as reaching the starting line rather than the finish line.”

TSTC in Marshall also works with several high schools in Cass, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Upshur and Wood counties on dual enrollment. This fall, the technical college will work with the Timpson Independent School District on an early college high school initiative.

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TSTC and MISD Mav Tech April 19, 2017


TSTC Talent Search Awards Recording Contract

(STATEWIDE) – Punk rock band Punk-69 from Harlingen won Texas State Technical College’s Second Annual Talent Search, co-sponsored by Texas Music Café, with their original song Cough Syrup.

The three-man band made up of TSTC student Jose Cisneros, his brother Adrian Cisneros and family friend Ralph Lucio received a $2,500 recording contract.

“Music is in our blood,” said Adrian. “We owe this win to my grandfather and father and we hope our music is making them proud.”

Adrian’s brother mirrored the sentiment.

“Winning is just wow! There are no words,” said Jose. “This contract will skyrocket our career and we can’t wait to sePunk-69 TSTC 2017 Talent Search Winnerse where it takes us.”

The Texas Music Café finale, which airs on PBS, showcases the talents of Texas legends like Willie Nelson and rising stars like the four TSTC students from across the state who earned their spot in the finale thanks to YouTube likes from family, friends and the community.

In addition to the Cisneros brothers and Lucio, the other finalists included Jesse Guadarrama from Harlingen, Ruger Green from Marshall and Will Craig from Waco who competed for the grand prize.

All four musicians were judged by professionals in the music industry coming from places such as Hermes Music and iHeart Radio.

Executive Producer of Texas Music Café Chris Ermoian said the partnership between TSTC and the show started when TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser approached him about hosting music events at all TSTC campuses.

“Mike wanted something fun for students on campus. Something to bring people together and music is the perfect component to do that,” said Ermoian.

Ermoian said that TSTC’s Talent Search contestants bring the combined best of what TSTC has to offer and he looks forward to next year’s competition and continued partnership with the college.

To learn how to compete in next year’s TSTC Talent Search call Student Life at 956-364-4370.


TSTC Honor Society Chapter Recognized for Membership Efforts

(MARSHALL) – The Beta Beta Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Texas State Technical College was recently named a Recognizing Excellence in Acceptance and Completion with Honors, or REACH, Rewards chapter.

The REACH status is given by Phi Theta Kappa to those chapters that exhibit excellence in accepting new members. TSTC’s designation was for its 2016 membership efforts. The Marshall chapter has at least 30 members and five advisors, said Robbie Anderson, a mathematics instructor and chapter advisor.

Zachary Garner, 21, campus chapter president and a Cyber Security and Computer Networking and Systems Administration double major from Forney scheduled to graduate in May, said members learned that planning and advertising make a difference in generating interest among students. He said there was a noticeable increase in turnout for the group’s Fall Festival held late last year, compared with a barbecue fundraising event held earlier this year.

Garner added that the chapter had a total of more than $600 in revenue from the event.

The technical college’s chapter students stay visible by working with Carter BloodCare on campus blood drives and participating in citywide and campus cleanup events. Members also support the efforts of Habitat for Humanity in Marshall.

The TSTC chapter was one of more than 400 Phi Theta Kappa-affiliated chapters to attain REACH status this year, with more than 30 of them being in Texas. Some of the benefits of the designation include scholarship opportunities for members and chapters receiving free Phi Theta Kappa graduation stoles.

“Students who are involved in Phi Theta Kappa have many opportunities that can affect their lives in different ways,” said Garner. “Students have the chance to build their leadership skills through taking the lead in club committees and stepping into an officer position.”

Phi Theta Kappa members must have at least a 3.5 GPA and have taken at least 12 semester credit hours.