Author Archives: Sarah Trocolli

TSTC Welding Program Meets Industry Need

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – The welding program at Texas State Technical College is training and educating highly skilled welders quickly to continue to meet industry demand. 

Texas has the highest employment level for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And demand is expected to keep growing.

“The students come in and earn a Certification Level 1 – Structural Welding in three semesters and are trained in various welds like MIG, TIG, flux-core, stick, oxy-fuel, brazing and more,” Taylor Elston, welding instructor at the Sweetwater campus, said.

As students near graduation, Elston spends time with each one figuring out their career plans and caters to their education with that in mind.

“About the third semester, we’ll start asking the students which type of welding they enjoy most and where they want to live and what kind of job they want. Because in welding there are so many specializations, they can have a choice of where they end up,” Elston said. “So, once we learn what they really want to do, we’ll help them start preparing for that weld test so they can get the job they want.”  

One of the biggest appeals to the welding program for student Kelton Grigsby was TSTC’s proximity to industry and dedication to job placement.

“I want to work in Lubbock, and TSTC is close to those industry leaders. There is a big need for welders. I have family in welding, so I know how lucrative welding can be,” Grigsby said. 

Grigsby began welding in high school. After graduating from Godley High School in 2018, he decided to attend TSTC. 

Clint Faulkner also chose the welding program for career growth opportunities.

“My dad and I have been building metal buildings, carports and other structures for the past four years, and it was important that I get a refresher on my welding and get the technical skills here,” Faulkner said. 

After a nine-year career in truck driving, Faulkner, a Big Spring native, decided he needed a career that was more physically active. 

Grigsby and Faulkner are expected to earn their certificates and graduate in August.

TSTC students spend a majority of their time in the lab with hands-on practice to ensure the technical skills, but Elston says the college is also dedicated to ensuring that students are job-ready.

“With the TSTC Career Services team helping us, we really make sure the students have not only the quality education, but also the soft skills like resumes and job etiquette,”  Elston said. “We make them treat school like their job; they have to show up and show up on time. So when they graduate they won’t just be good welders, but also good employees.” 

Elston encourages anyone interested in the program to come to the campus and schedule a tour.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Texas State Technical College students at the Sweetwater campus practice their welding skills to prepare for high demand careers.

TSTC Alumna Finds Dream Career at Local News Station

(ABILENE, Texas) –  If you asked Prissa Delostrico three years ago if she thought she would be working at a television news station today, she never would have considered it an option. Now, she doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

Delostrico is a Texas State Technical College Computer Networking and Systems Administration alumna. She graduated in December 2017 and now works as an information technology engineer for KTXS-TV News. 

“I never imagined I would be working for a news station when I started my degree at TSTC, and I was nervous at first. But, I’ve been at KTXS just over a year, and I love it because it’s exciting and really fulfilling,” Delostrico said. 

Delostrico was always interested in computers and recognized the importance technology plays in everyday life. 

“Technology is the future, and I knew I could find a job in that field if I could get a degree in it,” she said. “Any business or organization that uses technology needs IT, and at KTXS I maintain the broadcast equipment, service our machines, care for our computers, laptops — anything I can do to help.” 

As important as it was for Delostrico to get a degree in a lucrative career field, it was also important to find a college that was flexible with her schedule and could accommodate her needs.

“I was a stay-at-home mom, so I needed help with child care. TSTC helped me figure that out, as well as offering counseling services for me when I went through some hard times,” Delostrico said. 

One person who truly stood out to Delostrico was her instructor Renee Blackshear. 

“It was awesome to have a female instructor because it is a male-dominated industry, but she was a great mentor and role model,” Delostrico said. 

For Blackshear, Delostrico was a model student.

“Prissa Delostrico is a wonderful woman and a student any instructor would be honored to work with. She is insightful, works hard, accepting of any challenge, and determined to overcome any obstacles that may come her way,” Blackshear said. “I look forward to many things to come for her.”

One of Delostrico’s greatest motivators to succeed was her goal to be a role model for her daughter. 

“I wanted to show my daughter that she can do anything she puts her mind to. It doesn’t matter if she chooses a career that is male-dominated or not — she can do it,” Delostrico said. 

As a nontraditional student, Delostrico knows how difficult it can be to take the step to go back to school, but she encourages everyone to give it a chance.

“Go on campus at TSTC and talk with the instructors, counselors and career people because you’ll be surprised by how much they want to help you and see you succeed,” she said.

Delostrico, an Abilene native, graduated from Cooper High School in 2005. 

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC and the many programs offered, go online at tstc.edu.

Prissa Delostrico is a Texas State Technical College Computer Programming and Systems Administration alumna working as an IT Engineer for KTXS Television News.

TSTC Students to Pursue New Program

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will offer Occupational Safety Compliance (OSC) Technology at its Breckenridge campus starting this fall, and two current TSTC students can hardly wait to take advantage of it. 

 Ivan Chavez and Brittoni Thornhill are both students in the Environmental Technology program and are expected to graduate in spring 2020 with their Associate of Applied Science degrees. When they found out that TSTC will offer the OSC program in Breckenridge, they chose to stay an extra semester to earn the second degree.

“It just fit really well with what we learned in the Environmental Technology program, but it goes even further and opens up even more job opportunities,” Chaves said. “I’m excited to learn CPR and go more into emergency-response safety.”

The Environmental Technology program has courses similar to what they will study in the new OSC program. This crossover allows the students to add on only one extra semester of college but graduate with two degrees. 

“I was always fascinated with science and knew I wanted to pursue something in that field. TSTC allowed me to explore the various job opportunities in the field and learn the skills that will make me competitive as I look for jobs or continue my education,” Thornhill said. 

The program will educate students about Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations within the workplace to keep employees from harm.

“The demand for workers with a safety degree is rising. Employers need safety personnel to manage the workplace so no one gets hurt,” TSTC Environmental Health and Safety instructor Teresa Purcell said. 

Purcell encourages anyone who wants to ensure safer work environments to apply.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

Pictured left to right, Ivan Chavez and Brittoni Thornhill are students enrolled in the Occupational Safety Compliance program.

Computer Programming Technology Coming to TSTC in Abilene

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene will offer a new program of study starting this fall: Computer Programming Technology.

Students who successfully complete the five-semester program will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“We brought the CPT course to Abilene because industries are moving forward to digital and electronic-based needs. This helps us fill a local and statewide need to develop business and industry along with it,” TSTC Associate Provost Justin Price said.

With a majority of modern technology using software programs, job opportunities are endless.

“Computer programming is like the brain of the human body. Just like the brain tells your hands to move, the software tells the hardware what to do. Today hardware is anything from cars, robots, industrial equipment to the laptop sitting on your desk; they all need someone who can program them to work how we need them to,” Tony Torres, lab assistant, said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there is an expected job growth of 24 percent  between 2016-2026 for computer software developers; almost four times the job growth national average.

“The demand for workers in this field will continue to rise as we keep using technology. You can find your niche and work in a team or go solo, or work in the field or in an office,” Torres said.

The program will educate students about six different programming languages such as C++, Visual Basics, C Sharp, Java and more. Students will learn how to apply those languages to be used in online settings or in physical applications.

The program is a hybrid course with a mix of online classes and face-to-face instruction.

Torres encourages anyone interested in learning how to keep the world functioning to apply.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC and the many programs offered, go online at tstc.edu.

Computer Programming Technology is coming to TSTC in Abilene. Students can start registering for the fall semester now. 

TSTC Program Fills Diverse Needs in Texas Industries

(ABILENE, Texas) – Why learn just one skill when you can learn multiple?

The Industrial Maintenance Technology program at Texas State Technical College in Abilene is commonly known as the jack-of-all trades program; something both students and instructors says is one of the best selling points of their chosen career field.

“My favorite thing about industrial maintenance is that you always get to work on something new,  whether its related to hydraulics or electrical or welding or pneumatics, you know how to do it all, and work on it all. You’re never bored, that’s for sure,” instructor Daniel Diaz said. 

With over 35 years of shared field experience between Diaz and fellow instructor Demetri Jones, students are getting a true insight to their job demands.

“Daniel and I both are TSTC alumni and we both worked in the field for years. So we get the chance to relate to these students on the level as ‘hey, we’ve been in your shoes’ but also as professionals who know what industry needs and wants now,” Jones said. 

Diaz graduated from TSTC in Brownwood in 2004 and Jones graduated from TSTC in Waco in 2009. Both gentlemen earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Technology. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas has the highest level of employment for Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Machinery Maintenance Workers with an expected job growth of seven percent between 2016 to 2026. 

“There are so many career fields these students can choose to enter, whether it’s wind energy, oil field, working in a hospital or an office building or a factory, the options are limitless honestly,” Diaz said. 

On top of having a diverse skill set, the class itself is full of students from all walks of life. One student, always gets a laugh that he is older than the instructors he learns from.

“I graduated high school in 1980, before a few of my classmates were even born,” David Cooley, student in Industrial Maintenance said. “This is my first time in college and after working in industrial maintenance for about 30 years and seeing how quickly the technology was changing, I knew I needed the degree from TSTC to stay current.”

Cooley is a Hawley High School alum and is currently pursuing his Associate of Applied Science degree. He is expected to graduate in April of 2020. 

Cooley’s classmate, Caleb Ames is a little younger, but just as excited for what the program has to offer him. 

“I spent a couple years working to figure out what I did and didn’t want to do and I learned I love to work with my hands. This program is great because there are so many job opportunities for us out there and we are working with our hands everyday on something different,” Ames said. 

Ames graduated from Abilene High School in 2014 and is expected to graduate from the Industrial Maintenance program with a Certification of Completion 1 in August 2019.

No matter the age or career goals, the Industrial Maintenance program has a place for you. 

“We welcome everyone. Whether you’ve never touched a wrench or you’ve spent your whole life turning wrenches, we can teach you and we want to see you succeed,” Jones said. 

Diaz and Jones encourage anyone interested in the program to come to the campus and schedule a tour.

Registration for the Fall Semester 2019 has started. 

For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Industrial Maintenance Technology student David Cooley is helping construct a water flow system to that will be used by him and other students.

TSTC Student Veteran First in Family to Graduate College

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – When Texas State Technical College student veteran, Juan Lopez decided to go back to school, he didn’t realize the new, literal heights he would reach with his degree. 

Lopez, from San Antonio, is a student in the Wind Energy Technology program and is expected to graduate in August 2019 with his Associate of Applied Science degree. Before graduating, Lopez has already started working in the field for Airway Services, Inc. as a wind technician scaling 300-feet-tall wind turbines.  

“I drove past wind turbines a lot and always wondered about them, but I had no clue that there was a job that let you climb 300 feet up to work on them. Once I did more research into the program, it seemed right up my ally with all the maintenance, problem solving and working with my hands,” Lopez said. 

Before starting at TSTC, Lopez served in the Marine Corps from 2002-2012. After the military, he worked in the oil field but decided he needed more job security. .

“Wind turbines are right in my backyard, the work is steady and the money is good. I can be close to home and provide for my wife and daughter,” Lopez said. 

Lopez says his 10-month-old daughter was a large part of the reason why he wanted to be the first in his family to graduate with a college degree. 

“There’s a sense of accomplishment for me, but also I want to do it for her to give her the best I can,” he said. 

Lopez’s dedication to his school work was obvious to instructors Ron Rendon and Mary Madden, both Navy veterans.

Juan was one of my best students;  always on time, assignments were always completed on time.  He was a mentor to several students, and has a great work ethic, always going above and beyond in every aspect,” Rendon, instructor for wind turbine technology said. 

As classes went on, Lopez found out he shared more than just veteran status with Madden –  they had served on the same aircraft carrier – the USS Nimitz (CVN-68). 

“Juan and I spent some time remembering life on board ship and compared notes on tours we both made overseas,” Madden, instructor for electromechanical technology said. “He is a hard worker, and he wants to take care of his family.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the American Wind Energy Association based in Washington DC, Wind Turbine Technology is “the fastest growing job in America.”  Lopez says he is trying to recruit his military and oil field friends to come check out the wind program.

“I mean there’s nothing quite like it when you’re getting to work that high up. And, you’ve got a real chance to move up in the company with the degree from TSTC,” Lopez said.

Lopez encourages prospective students to stay motivated and find what will drive them to succeed. 

Fall Semester registration is ongoing right now. For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

 

Juan Lopez is a TSTC Wind Energy Technology student veteran working for Airway Services, Inc. He is expected to graduate August 2019.

TSTC Associate Provost Recognized With Service Award

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Breckenridge native Debbie Karl was recently recognized for her exceptional service to Texas State Technical College with the Avery Staff Award of Excellence during TSTC’s Employee Appreciation Day. 

The Avery Award was established in 2000 by Johnnie Lou Avery Boyd to celebrate TSTC staff employees who go above and beyond to serve the mission of the college. Only one winner is selected from all four TSTC campuses in West Texas. 

“Debbie is a great asset to TSTC and a wonderful ambassador for the college and the Breckenridge campus. She is always willing to do the hard tasks that others may shy away from — with that ever-presentt smile on her face,” TSTC Provost Rick Denbow said. 

Karl said hearing her name called was shocking at first, but it was also very validating. 

“I was not expecting it. I was very humbled and honored because I worked with Mrs. Avery (Boyd) when she was at TSTC, and she was the epitome of good customer service, internally and externally, and hard work. So, to win an award in her honor was very humbling,” Karl said. 

With over 26 years of service, Karl has held various roles in the college. She started her career at the Abilene campus working in Continuing Education. Later she became an instructor of Business Management Technology and Computer Networking Systems Technology, then was named associate vice provost of Student Learning. 

Karl moved back to her hometown three years ago, assuming the role of associate provost of TSTC’s Breckenridge campus and executive director of Institutional Accreditation. 

“I believe in what we do for our students. We change lives. I believe it so much that I put my son through the diesel program,” Karl said.

Karl’s son, Zach, was in attendance when she was presented with her award.

“My son is in the military; so having him there to celebrate with me just made it even more special,” she said. 

To win the Avery Award, employees must be nominated by their co-workers with supporting letters of recommendation. The winner is selected by an independent third party. 

Cassie Love, an enrollment coach at TSTC, said her recommendation letter was just one of many supporting Karl. 

“We are so blessed to have Debbie here. She is so deserving of this award because she just puts her heart and soul into this place and is always so welcoming,” Love said. 

With over 26 years of memories at TSTC, Karl said it is hard to pin down a favorite. But if she had to choose, it would be the time spent getting to know her co-workers. 

“We all eat lunch together in one of the classrooms every day, and it’s just a great way for me to get to know my co-workers and their families,” she said. 

 For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

Debbie Karl received the Avery Staff Award of Excellence for her exceptional service to Texas State Technical College.

 

TSTC Employee Recognized for 35 Years of Service

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Sweetwater native Glen Bedgood was recently recognized for his exceptional 35 years of service to Texas State Technical College during TSTC’s Employee Appreciation Day. 

Since graduating from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, as a double major in computer science and commercial art, Bedgood has spent his professional career serving the students and employees of TSTC. 

“I just felt, and still feel, like this place was my calling. After I graduated college, I came back home to Sweetwater, and it all just fell into place that I should be at TSTC,” Bedgood said. 

Although Bedgood serves as the senior internal systems analyst for TSTC Human Resources, he has worn many hats during his time at TSTC. He says each job has allowed him a rare chance to understand all the roles at the college and helped him better relate to his TSTC teammates. 

His dedication to efficiency and putting the ‘human’ in human resources has made him stand out to his co-workers over the years. 

“35 years — what an exceptional milestone! Glen has held many positions at TSTC, and his success is due to his attention to detail, job knowledge, and ability to communicate with all he interacts with,” TSTC Provost Rick Denbow said. 

To one employee in particular, watching Bedgood receive his 35-year plaque was a very special moment. 

Jacob Bedgood, Glen Bedgood’s son and a TSTC graphic designer, said the moment put into perspective how much his father has dedicated to the college. 

“Having grown up only ever knowing my dad to be a TSTC employee, it doesn’t always hit me just how much of his life and his energy he’s devoted to this organization,” he said. “It’s certainly a lot to live up to, both as a son and as a fellow employee. But I’m fortunate to have him setting that example for me. I’m definitely proud of him.”

One of Glen Bedgood’s favorite things about working at TSTC is the opportunity to make a positive change in a person’s life. 

“There is something about sharing knowledge and teaching that is just really fun, and I love it. I truly believe in the mission here at TSTC and seeing students succeed,” he said.

While 35 years may sound like a long time, Bedgood has no intention of leaving anytime soon. 

“As long as I am doing good for the college and can make a difference, I don’t know why I would ever leave. This is a job I love,” Bedgood said. 

For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

Glen Bedgood was recently recognized for his 35 years of service to Texas State Technical College.

TSTC Faculty Member Recognized for Excellence

(ABILENE, Texas) – Carly Kahl, senior history instructor and assistant department chair for General Education at Texas State Technical College, was recently recognized for her exceptional service to TSTC with the W.R. Potter Award of Teaching Excellence during the college’s Employee Appreciation Day. 

The Potter Award was established in 1996 to recognize outstanding teaching at TSTC’s four West Texas campuses. Only one winner is selected each year. 

“Carly is a servant-leader who always works to support the core values of TSTC: excellence, accountability, service and integrity.  She challenges her students to not just get by, but to do the very best work possible,” TSTC Provost Rick Denbow said. 

Kahl, a native of Andrews, Texas, said she was trying to figure out who the winner was as the announcements began and was surprised when she realized it was her.  

“I was utterly shocked. I was not anticipating it at all. I started to cry when I walked up to receive it because it’s such an honor,” Kahl said.  

With over 11 years of service to TSTC, Kahl has held various roles in the college but always knew teaching was her calling. She started her career as a technical writer, moved to curriculum design, then became an adjunct instructor. 

Kahl became a full-time history instructor in 2014. She is now working toward her Ph.D. in history at Texas Tech University. 

“For 11 years I’ve watched excellent faculty be recognized for their hard work, and every time the winner has been so deserving. It always encouraged me to want to meet that standard as well as they did,” Kahl said.

Receiving the award was even more special for Kahl because her son, Kyle, was there to witness it.

“I convinced him last minute to go with me, and it was really great for him to get to see that all my hard work had paid off,” Kahl said. 

 To earn the Potter Award, employees must be nominated by their co-workers with supporting letters of recommendation. The winner is selected by an independent third party. 

Terra Alvarado, TSTC’s director of Division Support for Development Education, said her recommendation letter was just one of many supporting Kahl. 

“I was just so impressed with how much work she has put in, not just in her current role, but also with the extra work she volunteers for. She always goes one step further, and she is so reliable,” Alvarado said. 

Kahl said she is excited about her future with TSTC.

“I have such a great team, both local and statewide. They all really do a great job, and we collaborate to make sure the students are getting the best education. I’m excited to see what the next years bring and to keep growing,” she said. 

Kahl encourages her students and her peers to strive for continuous improvement and to keep learning. 

For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

Carly Kahl received the  W.R. Potter Award of Teaching Excellence for her exceptional service to Texas State Technical College.

 

TSTC EMS instructor overcomes ambulance tragedy

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently hired Stephen Sharp, a resilient and experienced paramedic, as the new emergency medical services instructor for the Brownwood campus.

Sharp has come a long way from last year. He was working for Life Guard Ambulance Service on February 20, 2018 when the unthinkable happened. 

After dropping off a patient at the Brownwood Regional Medical Center emergency room, a vehicle ran a stop sign, hitting the ambulance. As a result, Stephen’s humerus bone (arm from shoulder to elbow) was fractured into three pieces.

“There was a chance I could have lost my arm,” Sharp said. “It was a big transition from being the provider to being the patient.”

After three surgeries, two plates and multiple screws, Sharp was on the road to recovery. 

“I’ve seen the good and I’ve seen the bad, but responders who took care of me the day of the wreck were amazing,” he said. 

Sharp says after the wreck he realized there was still a way for him to continue his passion of helping people.

“It really opened my eyes to see that I could help more people and make a positive impact if I was an instructor for the next generation of emergency medical technicians. By training them, I get to help people through their actions,” Sharp said. 

Sharp is a TSTC alum who graduated in 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services. 

“We brought on Stephen because he has a strong foundation in the community and he’s worked in EMS for 18 years, so he knows what he’s doing. He is a great addition to the campus and the program,” Raquel Mata, associate provost for TSTC in Brownwood said. 

Mata and Sharp have high hopes for the future of the EMS program. 

“There is a huge need in the Brownwood community, and throughout the state for paramedics, so we see that need and are here to meet that need. I’m excited to grow this program and just see how far we can go,” Sharp said. 

Sharp encourages anyone with a passion for helping others and serving their community to explore the EMS program. 

Registration for the fall 2019 semester has started. 

For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Stephen Sharp overcame an ambulance wreck while working as a paramedic to become an instructor for the Emergency Medical Services program at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood.