Category Archives: West Texas

TSTC Hosts Stop the Bleed Training

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently partnered with local first responders to host Stop the Bleed training for students, faculty and staff at its campuses in Abilene and Sweetwater.

Stop the Bleed is a national campaign initiated by the National Security Council to better prepare the public to save lives and raise awareness of basic actions to stop life-threatening bleeding following emergencies or disasters.

TSTC police patrolman Jeff Miller learned about the campaign during a training exercise and thought it was vital to share with TSTC students and employees.

“This course’s key message is training everyday people to save lives because there is nothing more sad than a preventable death,” Miller said.

The course takes about 90 minutes, including a formal presentation and hands-on practice of direct-pressure application, wound packing and tourniquet use.

“We are bringing this to TSTC to educate on bleeding control. This program is specifically designed for everyday people to be able to save lives in case of a catastrophic accident, traffic accident or disaster of that nature,” Grant Madden, fire chief for Sweetwater Fire Department, said.

The Stop the Bleed training is free, and more than 500,000 people have been trained in almost 90 countries and all 50 states.

“This training is important, and we are coordinating it with the police department and the local first responders because the safety of our employees and students is paramount to us,” said Holle England, training supervisor with TSTC Employee Development.

After the training was completed, 18 Stop the Bleed personal bleeding control kits were left for TSTC to distribute throughout its campus buildings.

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

Grant Madden, fire chief for Sweetwater Fire Department, shows TSTC employees how to use a tourniquet at Stop the Bleed training.

-#-

TSTC Student to Compete for Third Time at SkillsUSA Nationals

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – The saying goes that all good things come in threes, and Texas State Technical College nursing student Kacee Merrifield hopes that saying will ring true for her.

Merrifield will represent Texas and TSTC for the third time at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in late June.

A Mineral Wells native, Merrifield is enrolled in the LVN to RN Transition program and working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree. Previously she had earned a Vocational Nursing certificate from TSTC.

During her time at TSTC, Merrifield has competed at SkillsUSA three years in a row, winning state all three times and placing nationally twice.

“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 national partnership between students, teachers and industries working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce.

In 2017 Merrifield placed first in state for Health Knowledge Bowl, continuing on to win fourth place at nationals. In 2018 she won first place in state for Nurse Assisting and sixth at nationals. She competed in Practical Nursing this year and won first place.

“I really love SkillsUSA and what it does for me and for others. A big part of being a nurse is people skills, and at SkillsUSA you meet so many people and work with so many different personalities (that) you really get to practice that skill on top of all your other skills,” Merrifield said.

During the Practical Nursing competition, Merrifield will take both a written test and a hands-on test. She will work with a volunteer and perform various tasks.

“We practice everything from medications to vital signs to wound care and even what we would delegate to someone else; it’s a real-world environment,” she said.

With such an impressive record, it is no surprise that her instructors are proud of her.

Marchelle Taylor is TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program director in West Texas and the West Texas SkillsUSA coordinator.

“Kacee has been a huge success story in the TSTC nursing program,” Taylor said. “She has worked full time, attended classes and helped other contestants prepare for Skills competitions.  It is students with her dedication and work ethic that make teaching at TSTC such an honor.”

Merrifield says the best part of going to SkillsUSA nationals again is the chance to meet more people.

“My favorite thing has to be talking with other nursing students, learning what is different in each state and getting to learn more about this career field. SkillsUSA is really amazing. I really encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go,” Merrifield said.

She is expected to graduate in summer 2019.

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

TSTC Student to Compete for Third Time at SkillsUSA Nationals

Kacee Merrifield, pictured above, is a three-time state champion in various nursing competitions for SkillsUSA. This year she will compete in Practical Nursing at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in late June. 
#

TSTC Student Veteran to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – From serving his country overseas to serving his local community, Texas State Technical College student James Phillips III has dedicated his life to helping others.

Phillips, a Big Spring native, is an Army veteran and a Vocational Nursing student at TSTC. He recently competed at the state-level SkillsUSA Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference, where he placed first in CPR Skills.

“I’m still kind of surprised I got first place. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was very excited,” Phillips said.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. More than 18,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate in the national event.

Phillips will represent Texas and TSTC at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

Phillips was first introduced to CPR training during his time with the military. He enlisted in the Army in 1999 as a helicopter mechanic before serving in the Army’s Special Forces until 2008.

“We needed to know the basics of medical care and act as a first responder, so we learned CPR skills and other first-responder skills,” he said.

When Phillips is not at school or practicing for SkillsUSA, he is working as a certified nursing assistant at the George H. O’Brien Jr. VA Medical Center in Big Spring.

“It’s a way for me to give back to other veterans but also to be around other nurses and keep learning,” Phillips said.

Phillips stands out to his instructors and classmates not only as an excellent student, but also as the only male in the program.

“Bless his heart. He is the only guy in the class right now, so he’s very protective of the other students and a perfect gentleman. He has been a model student who goes above and beyond. I just can’t say enough good about him,” TSTC vocational nursing instructor Sharon Zetzman-Sparks said.

Being a male nurse is something Phillips knows may be uncommon, but he encourages anyone with a desire to help people to consider the career field.

“It’s something different every day. You keep learning new things, and there is a huge job demand. Being a nurse is very rewarding,” Phillips said.

Phillips is expected to graduate in fall 2019.

For more information about TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Veteran to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

James Phillips III is an Army veteran and vocational nursing student at Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater. He will compete in CPR Skills at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Occupational Safety Compliance Technology Coming to TSTC in Breckenridge

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will offer a new program of study starting this fall: Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.
Students who successfully complete the five-semester program will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. Registration for the fall semester is underway.
“We brought the OSC course to Breckenridge because many of our Environmental Technology students were getting jobs in the occupational health and safety fields as health safety officers,” TSTC associate provost Debbie Karl said.
“Safety officers are needed in all types of industries, from oil field to wind to manufacturing. Just about any large company will need a safety officer if they need to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations,” she said.
The program will educate students about OSHA 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.
“I’m excited we have this program here. It is a great opportunity for anyone to learn how to become a successful leader in the workplace, to put safety first,” Purcell said. “Not only will they know the regulations, but the graduate will be able to teach fellow workers how to safely do their job.”
During the first two semesters, students will be in class only two days a week for an average of six hours. For the last three semesters, students will be in class three to four days a week.
Purcell encourages anyone who wants to ensure safer work environments to apply.
For more information, go to www.tstc.edu.
Occupational Safety Compliance Technology Coming to TSTC in Breckenridge
Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will offer a new program of study starting this fall: Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.
##

TSTC Student Reaches New Heights While Restoring the Past

(ABILENE, Texas) – As the aviation industry looks toward the future, one Texas State Technical College student is helping to preserve its history.

Trenton Calsoncin, an aviation maintenance student, is earning Associate of Applied Science degrees in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology while working with an area company to restore old warplanes.

“It’s my passion. As a kid, I always liked airplanes. So when I got tired of working on cars as a mechanic in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I decided it was time for a change,” Calsoncin said.

Since starting at TSTC in fall 2017, Calsoncin has worked with Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge.

“I’m from Breckenridge, and I’ve known the (Ezell) family for years, so I would go out there in my free time and follow the owner, asking him questions. A couple days after I started school at TSTC, he called me up and offered me a job,” Calsoncin said.

Ezell Aviation restores vintage military airplanes and has completed 34 restorations in its 33 years while also performing inspections, maintenance, and major and minor repairs on many others.

“He’s a good kid, hard worker and has lots of ambition,” Heather Ezell, office manager at Ezell Aviation, said. “Nelson (the company’s founder) encouraged him and is very proud of him.”

Calsoncin said one of his favorite parts of the job is how unique the work is and that it usually coordinates with what he is learning in class.

“This program at TSTC is good, it really is. Somehow it’s been working out that I’ll learn something in class and it ends up being something I use at work almost right away,” he said.

TSTC aviation maintenance lead instructor Josh Parker says Calsoncin’s job helps highlight various career opportunities within the aviation industry for the other students.

“Trenton has been a great student and has always been willing to help his fellow students by sharing the skills that he has brought from working in the aircraft restoration business,” Parker said.

As he completes his degrees, Calsoncin will continue to work at Ezell Aviation.

“I plan on staying there after graduation for as long as they’ll have me. It’s kind of like a dream job for me,” Calsoncin said.

Calsoncin is expected to graduate in summer 2019.

For more information about TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Reaches New Heights While Restoring the Past

Trenton Calsoncin is earning Associate of Applied Science degrees in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology while working with Ezell Aviation to restore old warplanes.

 

 

 

TSTC Student Overcomes Health Issues to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Sometimes all a person needs is a second chance.

Katherin “Leif” Brown, a Texas State Technical College Computer Networking and Systems Administration student, will proudly represent Texas and TSTC in the Telecommunications Cabling competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

Undaunted by a health condition, Brown competed at the state-level SkillsUSA Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference two years in a row. She finally earned a spot at nationals on her second try.

“When I found out I was going to nationals, I was shocked and then surprised and then like, is this really happening?” Brown said.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. More than 18,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate in the national event.

Last year, just before Brown was set to compete for the first time, she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Addison’s disease is caused by insufficient production of certain hormones.

“I have to be careful and really listen to my body. I can’t get too stressed. But if this has taught me anything, it’s that I’m strong enough to do anything,” Brown said.

Despite the challenges she overcomes daily, Brown is working hard to represent TSTC well at SkillsUSA.

“It’s something I have really enjoyed doing, and I feel it’s really helped me,” Brown said. “This is a job skill that will come into play in the real world, so this is extra practice at it.”

One person helping Brown to prepare is Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor and SkillsUSA advisor Renee Blackshear.

“SkillsUSA helps open doors and serves to motivate students to put forth their best efforts and demonstrate their individual abilities to help close the skills gap,” Blackshear said. “Katherin has been an active member of our SkillsUSA team, and we look forward to supporting her in her preparations for nationals.”

Brown hopes to encourage others not only to be vigilant in their personal health, but also to pursue their passions.

“Don’t let anything stop you. Just pick yourself up and keep going,” Brown said.

For more information about TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Overcomes Health Issues to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

Katherin “Leif” Brown will represent the state of Texas and TSTC at the 2019 National Leadership and Skills Conference. She will compete in Telecommunications Cabling.

Breckenridge Native Named New TSTC Welding Instructor

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – A familiar face will be helping to educate the next generation of welders at Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge this fall.
Stephen Hope, a Breckenridge native, is ready to serve his community as a welding instructor for the TSTC Welding Technology program.
“This is my way of giving back. I am all about supporting small towns, and my career as a welder took me all over the U.S. I was given the opportunity to learn a skilled trade, and now I hope to pass those opportunities on to others,” Hope said.
Hope graduated from Breckenridge High School in 2006 before attending Tulsa Welding School.  After graduating with a certificate, he worked for various companies such as Pal-Con and Lauren Engineers & Constructors.
“I’ve been all over the place either contract welding or shop welding — or even running my own business. It just shows how diverse the career field is,” he said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas leads the nation in employment of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers. With such high demand, TSTC associate provost Debbie Karl is excited to have such an experienced welder for the program.
“He is a great guy with a great passion and talent for teaching others,” Karl said. “We had students who met him when they toured the facility and said they wanted to come to TSTC because he was going to be their teacher.”
TSTC’s certificate program in Structural Welding, which is offered in Breckenridge and elsewhere throughout the state, takes about 12 months to complete and teaches students shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and more.
Additionally, an associate of applied science degree in Welding Technology is available at other TSTC locations, including Abilene.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for the students and to teach here,” Hope said.
Enrollment and registration is now open for the fall semester.
For more information, go to www.tstc.edu.
Breckenridge Native Named New TSTC Welding Instructor
Stephen Hope, a Breckenridge native, is the new welding instructor for TSTC in Breckenridge.  

TSTC Students and Faculty Observe National EMS Week

(ABILENE, Texas) – This week marks the 45th annual National EMS Week, which honors the dedication of those who provide lifesaving services each day.
As the next generation of emergency medical service providers prepares to enter the workforce, Texas State Technical College students and faculty remember why they chose to serve.
“National EMS Week allows me to pause and have a moment of gratitude for my fellow EMS providers and to feel proud that I am part of a profession that has such an impact on so many people’s lives. I’m humbled by it,” said Ronnie Pitts, TSTC’s statewide department chair for EMS.
Pitts has worked in the EMS field for more than 29 years. Before earning his Associate of Applied Science degree in EMS with a Paramedic specialization at TSTC in 2005, he served as a firefighter/advance emergency medical technician with the city of Vernon Fire/EMS Department.
Pitts says his time in the field and as an instructor has allowed him to make a positive impact on not just his patients, but also the patients his students will care for.
For one student, the opportunity to help others in crisis is what he loves most.
“It’s become my passion,” Zacory Gardner, a student in the Paramedic program, said. “EMS
Week allows the public a better understanding that we are more than a transportation vehicle. We are a mobile ER, and we are here to help.”
Gardner currently works as an EMT basic with MetroCare and is expected to graduate from TSTC in 2020.
Classmate Ian Shannon recently started with MetroCare as an EMT basic and says it is exciting to continue the family tradition of being a first responder.
“My mom is a nurse, and we’ve got family that is in fire rescue and law enforcement. I also wanted to help people but figured I would do it in a different way,” Shannon said. “(Working as an EMT) is a great way to help people.”
Shannon is also expected to graduate in 2020.
As National EMS Week comes to a close, TSTC’s EMS lead instructor Kandell Scruggs hopes her students feel appreciated for their hard work. But she also recognizes the need to thank the families of EMS workers for their sacrifices.
“EMS providers give up a lot of family time and time with loved ones, so this week serves as a chance not only to thank the EMS personnel for their service to the community, but also to thank their family members,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs has worked in the EMS field for 28 years and is excited for her students to become part of the EMS family.
Pitts and Scruggs both encourage anyone who feels called to serve their community to consider a career in EMS by attending an information session about the program held every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Industrial Technology Center at 2082 Quantum Loop in Abilene.
For more information on TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.
TSTC Students and Faculty Observe National EMS Week
TSTC in Abilene Paramedic students practice emergency birth and infant resuscitation procedures during National EMS Week.  
###

A Sign of Growth for TSTC

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – What says state pride louder than a 15-foot-tall monument in the shape of Texas?
Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater completed the construction of its new sign at the campus entrance in early May. The monument is similar to ones being placed at each of TSTC’s other nine locations.
“The sign is part of the new look and branding of TSTC. These signs are being installed on all the campuses across the state,” Maria Aguirre, senior executive director of
TSTC Communication and Creative Services, said. “Our campuses in West Texas — Abilene,
Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater — are getting the updates on this cycle.”
The signs not only mark the entrance to each campus, but also serve as symbols of statewide unity.
Before its single accreditation in 2014, each TSTC campus operated somewhat independently. Now the unified college has solidified its reputation for providing the Texas workforce with some of the most highly skilled technicians available.
The statewide “way-finding” initiative is being implemented by the TSTC Facilities, Planning, Construction and Maintenance department.
“I was very excited about it. I’m always excited when we get to build something, and it was very much needed,” Raymond Fried, associate vice chancellor of TSTC Facilities, Planning,
Construction and Maintenance Services, said.
The first sign was installed at the Fort Bend County campus in the fall of 2016.
For more information about TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.
A Sign of Growth for TSTC
The new monument standing at the entrance of TSTC in Sweetwater is 15′ tall and is similar to ones at Texas State Technical College’s nine other campuses. 

TSTC Instructors Raise Awareness of Educational Opportunities for Children in Foster Care

(ABILENE, Texas) – Young adults who have been in foster care in the state of Texas can go to college for free.
Two Texas State Technical College instructors of Industrial Maintenance, Daniel Diaz and Demetri Jones, are making it their mission to let foster youth know about this opportunity.
The two instructors and their wives are foster parents themselves.
Diaz and Jones are raising awareness of the State College Tuition Waiver available to foster youth currently or formerly under the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and
Protective Services (DFPS) and for those adopted from DFPS.
The State College Tuition Waiver exempts or waives payment of tuition and fees at state-supported colleges and universities.
In Texas there are more than 30,000 children in foster care, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Many of these children are eligible for a tuition-free college education.
“It’s important to share this information because we see a lot of kids who age out of foster care that didn’t get the buildup that they should have to know they can go to college. (The waiver) is an option, a free option, for them,” Diaz said.
Diaz was adopted by his grandparents as a child. Now he and his wife, along with their four children, have opened their home to foster children.
“We felt called to serve through fostering, and when we learned of this opportunity for these kids, we had to share it,” Diaz said. “We want these kids to know that a technical college is a perfect avenue if the traditional college route isn’t what they want.”
As he and his wife entered the foster care process, Diaz began teaching at TSTC and met fellow instructor Jones, who has adopted two of his three children through foster care and is currently fostering.
“We found out about (the waiver) for our kids, and we want others to know,” Jones said. “My kids were raised around a technical college and have seen the success that I had because of it, and I want that for others.”
Diaz and Jones are both TSTC Industrial Maintenance alumni.
“These (foster) kids all come from different backgrounds, and some have been through some bad things, but they deserve the opportunity to succeed,” Jones said.
For potential students to take advantage of the tuition-free education, they must be enrolled in a state-supported college or university before their 25th birthday.
Foster youth and foster parents are urged to call512-438-5442 to learn more about the State College Tuition Waiver and eligibility requirements.  Or, for more information on TSTC programs, go to www.tstc.edu.
TSTC Instructors Raise Awareness of Educational Opportunities for Children in Foster
From left to right, Daniel Diaz and Demetri Jones are instructors at TSTC in Abilene Industrial Maintenance Technology program. The instructors are raising awareness of education opportunities for young adults formerly in foster care.