Category Archives: North Texas

TSTC to Host Program Highlight Day

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas will host Program Highlight Day for its Electrical Power & Controls program from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 22.

Prospective students will be able to participate in hands-on activities directed by Electrical Power & Controls faculty and learn more about the program, which covers engineering, design, installation, calibration, testing, troubleshooting, computer instrumentation, robotics interfacing, and electrical construction.

An associate degree in Electrical Power & Controls is also covered under TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If graduates of the program do not find a job in their field within six months of graduating, they will receive their tuition back.

Those interested in attending the event can register at

Who: Texas State Technical College
What: Electrical Power & Controls Program Highlight Day
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 22
Where: TSTC in North Texas, 119 N. Lowrance Road, Red Oak, Texas 75154

TSTC Program Receives Truck Donation

(RED OAK) – The Diesel Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College in North Texas recently received a 2009 Freightliner Cascadia truck valued at $10,000.

The donation was made by the south Dallas location of Premier Truck Group. Jeff Wicks, assistant service manager, said the donation was made because of a customer who gave the truck’s title to the business after he could not pay for repairs.

“We ended up making the repairs and getting it running and then donating,” Wicks said. “We knew TSTC would appreciate it and that it would be a training tool relevant to what we do with the technology that is applicable for what we do. The students could learn on something that could help them.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said the heavy vehicle would be used for lessons in electronics, brake systems and other diesel components. The truck will be functional but remain in the program’s lab.

“The donation is a good thing for TSTC in North Texas because as a new program, there are just some pieces of equipment that we do not have yet,” Balch said. “By this company stepping up to provide this, it is going to allow us to grow our program and grow our labs so that we have an opportunity to continue to provide equipment that is fresh out of the box.”

Premier Truck Group has more than 70 technicians, warranty personnel, foremen and delivery drivers who maintain and troubleshoot heavy commercial vehicles.

TSTC in North Texas students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck Specialization or a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck, among others.

Diesel Equipment Technology is one of the largest programs on campus with about 50 students.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Annual TSTC North Texas Open House a Success

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas held its annual open house Friday, opening its campus for tours and to meet with faculty. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, hosted more than 300 visitors.

Shannon Gaspard, TSTC director of Student Recruitment, said the event was successful.

“We’ve doubled our attendance from last year, which is great,” Gaspard said. “This year, we also partnered with Region 10 and Region 11 and we worked with them to get the word out about our event to students. It worked out a lot, and we now have recognition in a lot of those different counties with the schools.”

Gaspard said it’s also a win for the instructors.

“Now you have students who are learning about different programs,” she said. “We have a group who’d never heard of welding and had never been in a welding lab, but they’re racing to welding now because they’re interested in learning more about it, taking a look at the equipment and just seeing the different cool things that are made from like a simple cutting machine.”

Renvy Smith, a teacher from LEAP Academy in Midlothian, said the school only brought a small group, but they had a good time.

“They had an idea of what areas they were interested in, so we visited those,” Smith said. “The students did enjoy those areas.”

John Tanner, CTE teacher at Cleburne’s Team School, brought about 20 students to the event. He said they also enjoyed it.

“The students had a good time,” he said. “I think they learned a lot.”

All of TSTC’s programs participated in the event.

“The programs were doing a sort of show-and-tell,” Gaspard said. “So they’re showing the equipment and tools, but they’re also doing different types of competitions in their labs. Industrial Maintenance had cranes and were showing the students how the hydraulics and all these different parts equal out to what you do in the field. They’re doing that while moving building blocks, and whoever stacks them the tallest wins.”

Gaspard said one of the most popular sessions of the day was the “TSTC Experience.”

“That was the session where students could learn more about what we offer, the programs and how to apply,” she said. “We were at capacity every session.”

Another aspect the students loved was the game room.

“We had some fun games, like one where you have to move a cookie from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands,” Gaspard said. “Students loved it!”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC HVAC Program Receives Equipment Donation

(RED OAK) – A Plano business recently donated more than $13,000 in Trane equipment to Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

TSTC’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program received five high-efficiency condensing units, five fan coils, two gas furnaces and an evaporator coil from Total Air & Heat Co.

Terry Robinson, a TSTC HVAC instructor with more than 20 years of industry teaching experience, said this was one of the largest equipment donations he has seen.

“The donated Trane equipment diversifies the equipment that students will work on as they install, maintain, troubleshoot and service in the HVAC training laboratory,” he said. “This is high-quality equipment with new technology that will enhance our students’ learning experiences.”

The family-owned company was founded in 1957 and provides residential and commercial boiler, heating and air conditioning installation and maintenance services in Collin and Dallas counties. The company has 45 employees.

“We stay active and keep in front of people, so we stay relevant for people to want to do business with us,” said Justin Lauten, a general manager at the business.

Lauten did not graduate from TSTC, but became familiar with the Red Oak campus when he took a statewide HVAC licensing preparation course from there.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate in HVAC Technology.

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TSTC Holds Fall Commencement

(WACO) – More than 550 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2017 Commencement held Friday, Dec. 8, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 479 graduates, Williamson County had 46 graduates and North Texas had 27 graduates.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Anthony Warren, 22, of Gatesville graduated with a machining certificate. He has been working the last few months at Unique Machine Shop in Oglesby as a CNC operator/machinist.

During his time at TSTC, he had a son.

“I did what I set out to do and I will do what I need to do for me and my son,” Warren said. “If you pursue what you are good at, you will succeed.”

Some graduates are preparing to go to work.

Khadeeja Qurashi, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. living in Waco, received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Laser Electro Optics. She will start in January her new job as a wafer fabrication technician at Texas Instruments in Dallas.

“I’ve made it,” Qurashi said. “It’s amazing and I’ve learned so much. I’m confident in my abilities and I get to show everyone that when I am walking across the stage to get my degree. TSTC was a learning experience, and it was more than math and science.”

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TSTC in North Texas to Host Registration Rally for Spring Semester

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College will host a Registration Rally for the 2018 Spring Semester from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center on North Lowrance Road in Red Oak.

“We are looking forward to meeting our new students and helping them get one step closer to earning their associate degrees,” said TSTC Provost Marcus Balch. “Registration Rally days are set up to make the registration process as smooth as possible.”

Visitors can take campus tours and talk to faculty members about the 10 technical programs offered at the North Texas campus, including Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology, Cyber Security and Welding.

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, housing application and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this fall. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to

For more information, contact TSTC in North Texas at 972-617-4040.

TSTC Honors Former Texas Representative with Building Dedication

(RED OAK) – The work that James R. “Jim” Pitts did while a member of the Texas House of Representatives is solidified for future students that walk through the building now bearing his name at Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

The Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center was formally dedicated Thursday morning at a plaque unveiling ceremony attended by Waxahachie and Ellis County leaders along with TSTC administrators and staff members.

Pitts said he appreciated the honor and that TSTC in North Texas is in a great location in proximity to the Dallas – Fort Worth area.

“I’m thrilled to see something you dreamed about become a reality,” Pitts said.

Pitts was a Republican member of the state House of Representatives representing House District 10 from 1993 to 2015 and was chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations. He was named one of the state’s 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

“I miss the legislature and I miss doing good things for Ellis County,” Pitts said.

TSTC Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Mike Reeser said he first met Pitts during the 2013 Texas legislative session. Pitts told him he had a goal of bringing technical education to the county’s residents to become contributing members of the workforce.

During the session, Pitts introduced legislation that was sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell authorizing the creation of a TSTC extension center in Ellis County. The extension center evolved in less than a year into today’s stand-alone campus. After a land deal with the Red Oak Independent School District, the building on North Lowrance Road formally opened in October 2014 and now houses the technical college’s 10 programs.

“He is your neighbor,” Reeser told ceremony attendees. “You had a guy who went to Austin and fought for your best interests in Ellis County.”

Pitts is a former member of the Waxahachie Independent School District Board of Trustees. He is an attorney and owner of Ellis County Abstract and Title Company in Waxahachie.

After the ceremony, The TSTC Foundation hosted a luncheon and visitors took building tours.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County Hold Summer Commencement

(WACO) – More than 580 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2017 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 18, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 515 graduates, Williamson County had 40 graduates and North Texas had 34 graduates.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Rosie Zamora of Fort Worth graduated with a Certificate in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology. She is following her father and grandfather into the profession. Zamora will continue working as a plumbing apprentice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It was an experience,” Zamora said about her time at TSTC. “I learned things I didn’t know before.”

Cesar Castillo, 19, of Del Rio received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. He follows in the footsteps of several other Del Rio students who have graduated from TSTC’s Welding Technology program.

“This program tests if you really want to go down your career path,” Castillo said. “It’s a lot more welcoming since most of your instructors know where you came from.”

Castillo said he will continue job hunting.

“I’m excited to go out on my own,” he said.

TSTC had more than 1,200 graduates this summer across the state.

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New Online Bookstore Debuts at TSTC’s Campuses in North Texas and Fort Bend County

(RED OAK) – A new online bookstore for Texas State Technical College’s North Texas and Fort Bend County campuses opened earlier this month.

This marks the first time students will have direct access to buy textbooks and not have to order from other campuses.

“This is huge for us,” said Stephen Pape, director of student learning at TSTC in North Texas. “It enables the students to get their books early so they don’t have to wait. The online bookstore gives them a choice of shipping to their home or to the campus where they can be picked up.”

Current and newly registered students can access the bookstore through the technical college’s internal portal. The first visit will enable the student to input their identification number and create a password for later visits.

“The bookstore will recognize them as students and check their schedule for the classes they signed up for,” said Pape. “The bookstore will know what books they need when they log in. The students can order books or they can check the prices for books.”

The online bookstore will give students information on how much of their financial aid money is available to spend on textbooks and automatically deduct it.

Students at the Fort Bend County campus will follow the same steps to access and purchase from the online bookstore. Arturo Solano, bookstore manager at TSTC in Harlingen, worked on planning Fort Bend County’s online offering and said the technical college is adapting to the latest trends in providing sourced materials for students.

“TSTC partnered with Ambassador Education Solutions, which will be distributing all the required course materials straight from their warehouse while at the same time providing students with a custom website tailored to their campus,” Solano said.

Planning for the new initiative began a year ago with financial aid, bookstore, information technology and student learning staff on multiple campuses working together.

“The major reason for the online store was to provide better service to the students,” said Greg Guercio, vice president of retail operations at TSTC in Waco.

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Detention Training Officer Follows Technology Curiosity to Pursue TSTC Degree

(RED OAK) – April Smith of Wylie credits actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie for inspiring her to study cyber security.

Smith said as a teenager she watched “Hackers,” a 1995 movie starring Jolie in which the main characters create a technological virus and hack into computer systems.

“I chose cyber security because I have always been intrigued by the ability of technology,” said Smith, 36. “I was in awe of the movie. Computers, video games and art are all of my passions and technology rolls them all into one.”

Smith took her passion and used it to work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cyber Security at Texas State Technical College in North Texas in Red Oak. She is a candidate to receive the degree at TSTC’s Summer 2017 Commencement on Aug. 18 in Waco.

“In some of my classes I was the only female, but that didn’t prevent the camaraderie of us pulling together and learning,” Smith said.

Smith’s academic work also earned her the Provost’s Award.

“I was blown away and felt so much gratitude,” she said. “I was floored really and so happy that I could share the surprise with my family, who have supported me throughout it all. My hard work and dedication paid off and I am still in the clouds about it all.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said he selected Smith because she attended classes and works at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department as a detention training officer. She has been at the sheriff’s department for a decade.

“Her job doesn’t provide a lot of flexibility, yet she has overcome the odds,” Balch said. “She also has a positive outlook and is excited about the possibilities that the future holds for her. She is just a good solid example of a hard-working TSTC student.”

Besides her work schedule and balancing her study and family time, Smith said her other challenges involved her parents each dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

“It was difficult not knowing the outcome of their situations while attending classes,” she said. “Thankfully, they were stronger than the disease and are here with me now to celebrate.”

Smith recommended that females interested in technology pursue cyber security.

“Allow your dreams to become reality and make a mark on the world,” she said. “Explore all possibilities and interests. Everyone has something to offer, and that one thing may change everything about technology.”

Smith grew up in Wilmot, Arkansas, and graduated in 1999 from Hamburg High School in Hamburg, Arkansas.

She was in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Mississippi and Germany.

Smith plans to study information technology after graduating from TSTC.

“I hope my career in information technology allows me to find a great company to work for so that I can grow as an individual and a colleague,” she said.

TSTC’s Summer 2017 Commencement will include graduates from the North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses. The ceremony will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18 at the Waco Convention Center at 100 Washington Ave.

For more information about TSTC’s statewide commencement ceremonies, go to

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