Category Archives: Uncategorized

TSTC Nursing Student Prepares for Three-peat at SkillsUSA

(SWEETWATER) – Winning is so nice, she did it twice. Now Kacee Merrifield wants it again, and so does one of her classmates.

Merrifield is a nursing student enrolled in the associate degree program at Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater. She has competed at SkillsUSA two years in a row, winning state both times and placing nationally.

“It’s a very validating feeling when you get to test your skills against others in your industry, but it’s so much more than just winning a medal,” Merrifield said.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. In 2017 Merrifield placed first in state for Health Knowledge Bowl, continuing on to win fourth at nationals. In 2018 she won first in state for Nurse Assisting and sixth at nationals. She will compete in Practical Nursing this year.

“I love that SkillsUSA offers a platform to meet other professionals. You meet so many people and make friends and get to travel. I really enjoyed what Skills has done for me,” Merrifield said.

Hoping to win his second first-place title is fellow nursing student Corbin Calsoncin. Calsoncin and Merrifield both graduated from TSTC in Breckenridge with a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing in 2018. Calsoncin is also currently enrolled in the nursing program at TSTC in Sweetwater.

“I was nervous my first couple times I competed, but I feel better now and am more prepared,” Calsoncin said.

Calsoncin placed second at state in Medical Math in 2017, but placed first in Math in 2018 and went on to place ninth at nationals. Calsoncin will compete in Medical Math again this year.

Not only do Merrifield and Calsoncin compete in SkillsUSA at the collegiate level, but they also judge the high school level.

“Judging is a chance for them to give back and share their experiences with others,” Marchelle Taylor, TSTC nursing instructor and West Texas SkillsUSA coordinator, said. “Skills allows them to interact with other students and industry around the state and nation.”

Merrifield and Calsoncin will compete at the SkillsUSA 2019 Leadership and Skills Conference on April 12-14 at TSTC in Waco.

Both students encourage anyone interested in nursing to visit TSTC and take advantage of the opportunities available with SkillsUSA.

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

TSTC in Sweetwater nursing students Corbin Calsoncin, left, and Kacee Merrifield, right, prepare to compete at SkillsUSA in April. 

TSTC Student Exemplifies Dual Enrollment Success

(Brownwood) – Education means opportunity, and no one values that more than Alan Acosta, a Welding Technology student at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood.  

Acosta plans to be the first member of his immediate family, who immigrated from Mexico when he was 6, to earn a college degree. He started working on that goal while still a Brownwood High School student, earning college credit through TSTC’s dual enrollment program in welding.

After graduating high school in May 2018, Acosta became a full-time TSTC student working toward a structural welding certificate.

“I first tried welding in middle school and was fascinated by it, but I was pretty horrible,” Acosta said. “But after the classes in high school, I felt a lot more confident, and I’m learning faster now in college.”

The partnership between TSTC and Brownwood High School allows high school students to experience college courses before committing as a full-time traditional student.

“Dual enrollment students become much more experienced in college coursework than other students entering college having never attended a college class, not knowing what to expect,” Rene Ralston, TSTC director of dual enrollment, said. “Brownwood High School is in TSTC’s backyard, so it makes sense to partner with the school.”

TSTC welding instructor Stephen Hope believes that dual enrollment allows students the chance to figure out what they want to do in life and learn what opportunities are available.

“Alan is a determined young man, and he works so hard because he knows that there are so many job opportunities waiting for him,” Hope said. “He will go far because of his determination, and I’m proud of him.”

Acosta encourages anyone interested in getting a well-paying job to pursue their education. “If you have the ambition, you can do it. It may be hard, but you will learn it,” Acosta said. “And the people at TSTC are so helpful and willing to be there for you.”

Acosta’s younger brother, Domingo, is following in his footsteps and is currently enrolled in the welding dual enrollment program at Brownwood High.

Alan Acosta plans to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at TSTC in Abilene and hopes to graduate in April 2020.

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

TSTC in Brownwood student Alan Acosta is working on a structural welding certificate after completing the welding dual credit program with TSTC and Brownwood High School.

TSTC in North Texas Graduates 19

(RED OAK) – Nearly 400 students were eligible to walk the stage at Texas State Technical College’s Spring Commencement Ceremony Monday night in Waco. Of those graduates, 19 were North Texas students earning certificates and associate degrees in the college’s technical programs.

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch led the ceremony.

“I’ve probably been to 55 ceremonies over my 18 years, and I’ve never been center stage, so I’m excited for that opportunity,” Balch said. “We have 19 for North Texas, so we’ll get to see them cross the stage.”

Balch said he’s proud of those graduating and the milestone they’ve reached.

“I think we have some really great graduates, and if it’s any indication, most of them already have jobs,” he said. “We have some really good graduates who I think are ready to go to work.”

Guillermo Herrera earned a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology but plans to continue his education at TSTC.

“I’m going back to TSTC in North Texas to study welding,” Herrera said. “Diesel involves a lot of welding – they kind of go hand in hand, so that’s why I chose welding. I’m very excited to be graduating.”

Saul Zepeda, also a Diesel Equipment Technology graduate, hopes to move to Odessa to find work.

“There’s a company there that works on transmissions,” Zepeda said. “My dad is a mechanic, so I got some experience from him. I grew up as a mechanic’s helper, so I wanted to do the same thing. It feels pretty good to reach this step.”

Jacob Smoot earned his associate degree in Computer Networking & Systems Administration.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’m still working on lining up a job, but I think I learned 95 percent of what I’ll need to know for the job. I’m sure there’s some things only experience will teach you.”

TSTC in North Texas graduates earned degrees in all 10 programs offered at the campus — Computer-Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Networking & Systems Administration, Cyber Security, Electrical Power & Controls, HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Logistics, Precision Machining and Welding.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC to Host Open House at Breckenridge Campus

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will hold its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 2. This event is designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, but it is also open to their parents, families and friends.

Visitors can tour the campus and speak with instructors about the programs offered, including Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding.

Faculty from the Business Management Technology (Brownwood), Culinary Arts (Abilene), Wind Energy Technology (Sweetwater) and Health Information Technology (online) programs will be available to meet with students and answer questions about their programs.

Students will also be able to meet with Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, Veteran Services and success coaches, among others, to help guide them through the college enrollment process.

The college expects over 400 students from the local area to visit.

Interested persons should register online at tstc.edu/openhouse. For more information, call 940-447-7714.

Annual TSTC Abilene Open House a Success

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene held its annual open house Friday, opening all three of its Abilene campus locations for tours and presentations. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, saw about 100 students come through.

This is the first year that all three campuses have been available for Open House.

“We did things a little differently this year because we opened up all three buildings,” said TSTC Vice President of Recruitment Kim Porter. “So, they went to Culinary, they got to see Aviation, and Wind Energy came over from Sweetwater. We had pictures of the new Industrial Maintenance labs to market the new building, and Welding came over as well.”

Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology will begin in Abilene in the fall with the opening of TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center. Visiting prospective students learned about the three programs.

“We had a lot of interest in the new programs,” Porter said. “All in all it was a really good day.”

Many of the day’s visitors came in with programs already in mind.

“A lot of the students that came in kind of knew what they wanted, other than just coming in to visit TSTC,” Porter said. “Our recruiters have done a really good job in preparing them and showing them what to expect. I met a young lady from Abilene High School, a first-generation student, and she applied for our Industrial Maintenance program. She’s really excited about that.”

TSTC recruiter Hannah Elliott said she had seen a lot of the visitors before.

“A lot of students I’ve developed relationships with throughout the year came to the event,” said Elliott. “Every student thanked me and was glad that we held the event. The parents were excited that they were able to come and that everybody was here and ready to help them.”


TSTC will hold open houses at its campuses in Brownwood in February and Breckenridge and Sweetwater in March.

For more information on open houses, visit tstc.edu/openhouse. To learn more about the college and its programs, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Hosts RGV Space Summit

(HARLINGEN) – The RGV Space Summit was recently hosted at Texas State Technical College to introduce the Harlingen Aerotropolis project and inform students of the educational opportunities the project will bring to skilled graduates from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.

TSTC_RGVAerospaceSummit

“We have a gold mine with Harlingen Aerotropolis,” said Frank Espinoza, manager of community affairs for American Electric Power Texas, during his summit speech. “Events like this show that we, as a group, see full potential in this project and are ready to cater to the aerospace industry.”

RGV AerospaceSummit_FrankEspinozaAEP

Harlingen Aerotropolis is a 450-acre AEP quality site that was created to increase the number of project-ready industrial sites. The Aerotropolis will be home to four development districts: aeronautical, light industry, business complex and general retail, all centered around the Valley International Airport.

 

“This is going to transform our region,” said Espinoza. “But a young, trainable workforce is critical to the aerotropolis’ success.”

 

Marv Esterly, director of aviation for Valley International Airport, said the overall goal of the summit was to speak to students about the importance of pursuing STEM careers.

 

“Many of the programs at TSTC, from welding to mechatronics and engineering, have a place in the aerospace industry,” said Esterly. “Today we need to show TSTC students what possibilities there are and how they can take advantage of these high-tech, high-paying jobs coming to our area soon.”

 

United Launch Alliance, NASA and Agile Aero led informational sessions for high school and TSTC students enrolled in STEM programs. Each session was 40 minutes long and highlighted each company’s profile, introduced students to instruments and equipment they will be using in the field and explained the importance of STEM skills to the aerospace industry.

 

“Today’s event is opening a lot of opportunities for us,” said Genesis Martinez, TSTC Aviation Maintenance Technology student. “This is really helping me decide what I want to do after TSTC. It’s giving me more insight into companies and what to expect in the field.”

 

Beyond the classroom, TSTC students in the Architectural Design and Engineering Graphic program are working closely with the Harlingen Aerotropolis project drawing, rendering and completing 3D images of the testing facilities and buildings that will one day make up the aerotropolis.

 

“These students have not disappointed. Every task we give them, they complete successfully,” said Esterly. “We’ll be able to use their 3D models to market to the companies we want to attract to Harlingen Aerotropolis. We’re excited about our future and our close relationship with TSTC.”

 

The students working on the aerotropolis project will be traveling to NASA to tour actual testing facilities to help with their designs for the Harlingen Aerotropolis.

 

“Our faculty and staff are the heartbeat of TSTC,” said TSTC Provost Dr. Stella Garcia. “Our students are prepared for the workforce because of projects like this and when they graduate they get high-paying jobs.”

 

For more information on any of the technology programs listed, please visit tstc.edu. Registration for Summer 2016 and Fall 2016 is now in progress.

 

Student Finds Her Dream Career at TSTC

(FORT BEND) – Megan Morgan did not always believe that college was in her future, at least not in a field that she found interesting. It was not until she enrolled at Texas State Technical College in 2014, that she could imagine graduating into a career she loved.

The Katy native, currently enrolled at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, is the only woman in the program and is expected to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Precision Machining Technology in December 2016.

Morgan grew up around a male-dominated field. Numerous members of her family, including her sister are truck drivers. Her family even owns a wrecker service company in Wharton.

“I’ve always worked in the family business doing clerical and receptionist work,” said Morgan.
“But I knew I didn’t want a desk job as a career. I love working with my hands. Since I was little my dad would let me help him repair the trucks.”

After graduating from Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Morgan said she had no interest in college. She wanted to work and make money, but soon realized that without a college education her prospects were slim.

Her long-time boyfriend suggested they relocate to Austin where he wanted to pursue a degree in welding. With support from her family, Morgan made the move.

“We were originally going to enroll at a community college in Austin, but everyone kept giving us the run around with paper work,” said Morgan. “We were making no progress, until we were introduced to TSTC.”

Coming from a large, tight-knit family, Morgan began to get homesick only after a year in Austin. She and her boyfriend made the mutual agreement of moving closer to their families.

Fortunately, for Morgan, TSTC’s Fort Bend campus had just the program she was looking for: Precision Machining Technology.

“I spoke with the program’s instructor Michael Barnes and he helped me get everything set up,” said Morgan. “And of course our office manager Judy Cox was my lifeline. She helped me with the transition from one campus to another. It immediately felt like I was going to school with my family.”

Morgan now has only three semesters left before becoming a college graduate and being in the first class to graduate from the new campus in Fort Bend County opening in August 2016.

“I’m so excited. The new campus is going to be bigger and I’m glad I get to be part of the process of moving,” said Morgan. “I pass by the new building every day and if I’m with someone I have to be sure to show them my new school. By being the first class there, we’ll get to put our stamp on things.”

After graduating, Morgan says she will take a break from school to allow her boyfriend to enroll at TSTC while she takes over working full-time. TSTC will open a welding program at the new Fort Bend location in August and he is excited to attend.

“My family has always pushed me to do more with my life and I can’t wait to see where things will go after I graduate,” said Morgan. “Had I not found this program, I wouldn’t be as excited about my future. I have gained so much experience here at TSTC, I couldn’t have found that anywhere else.”

Precision Machining Technology is also offered at the North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses.

Welding Technology will be offered at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus starting August 2016, and is currently offered at most of the other nine campuses throughout Texas.

TSTC in Fort Bend County currently offers HVAC Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology and Precision Machining Technology. The new campus will also offer Industrial Maintenance Technology, Cyber Security, Telecommunications Convergence Technology and Welding Technology. Apply anytime at tstc.edu, registration for summer and fall semesters begins April 4.

For more information on these courses at Fort Bend County call 281-239-1548.