Category Archives: Waco

Women in TSTC Instrumentation Technology Program Hope to Inspire Others

(WACO, Texas) – The city of Glen Rose in Somervell County has proven to be an inspirational place for Texas State Technical College student Iris De La Fuente.

De La Fuente, an Instrumentation Technology major, once worked as a painting foreman at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose. Hearing the success stories of TSTC alumni working at the power plant motivated her to go to college for the first time.

“Everyone is helpful here at (TSTC),” De La Fuente said. “You have so many tools to be successful here. This is the best decision of my life.”

De La Fuente and classmates Brittany Cobb of Weatherford and Cara Conte of Kenai, Alaska, are all working toward the Associate of Applied Science degree in Instrumentation Technology at TSTC. Instrumentation is the science of measurement and control of flows, levels, temperatures, pressures or other variables used in industry in process control.

“Iris, Cara and Brittany are going to be our best ambassadors,” said Linda Martin, an instructor in TSTC’s Instrumentation Technology program in Waco. “They are going to be making a good living, and other women will see that.”

The students have already done internships at Comanche Peak, earning valuable in-the-field experience.

“They put you to work one-on-one with a technician,” said De La Fuente. “You learn what you will see in the next semester.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected more than 14,000 electromechanical technician jobs being available by 2026. Electromechanical technicians can work in the aviation,  energy, machine manufacturing, robotics and other fields, according to

“The only way to get more females in the program is to get more females,” Martin said. “Once they graduate, others can see that and realize they can do it also. Most of the women we have here are coming into the program from other jobs.”

De La Fuente is the first in her family to go to college, while Conte is the first to attend a technical college in her family.

Conte worked in the oil fields of Alaska as a cook and housekeeper before coming to TSTC. She said Martin is one of her biggest influences in pursuing a job in the instrumentation field.

“I can go to her and tell her what I am thinking,” Conte said.

Although Cobb has a bachelor’s degree in theater performance, she was encouraged to pursue instrumentation while working at Comanche Peak as a pumps setup and contamination control contract laborer.

“I liked the hands-on work,” Cobb said. “I would get in a tank and get covered in dirt.”

During this period, Cobb happened to meet a TSTC graduate from the Instrumentation Technology program who also had a theater degree.

“I needed formal training to get a skill set,” Cobb said. “I definitely feel like I made the right decision.”

Conte said it helps having an inquisitive nature and appreciation for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields when choosing to study instrumentation technology.

“I think you have to go in with the mentality of it being hands-on and something different daily,” she said.

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TSTC hosts a summer of registration rallies

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On Friday, Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County will host its first Registration Rally of the summer.

The event, hosted at the TSTC Brazos Center, will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will focus on registering prospective and current students for four of the 10 programs offered at the campus: Electrical Power and Controls, Environmental Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology and Robotics.

“Registration Rallies offer prospective students an in-depth look into our campus and our programs before they even register,” said TSTC assistant director of enrollment Christina Vargas.

This is the first year that TSTC has hosted registration rallies specific to programs. Vargas said the idea behind this change is to offer prospective students and their families shorter wait times, more one-on-one time with program faculty and an in-depth look into what they should expect as TSTC students.TSTC Registration Rally June 7

“Providing a great college experience and giving students the skills they need for a successful career is always our number one priority. And by dividing our rallies up by division allows us to provide a wider scope of program and faculty accessibility for those in attendance,” said Vargas.

Enrollment services representatives will be on hand to assist prospective students with TSTC application and registration processes, advisement and testing.

Student Life, Career Services and Transition Services will also be on hand to answer any questions.

“This is a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in attending TSTC to pursue one of these programs. They can be straight out of school, looking to improve skills or ready for a career change,” said Vargas. “Our goal is to get them registered and ready to begin classes Fall 2019 toward a successful career.”

Vargas also added that financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

In fact, there will be a drawing for a $250 TSTC scholarship and an Amazon Fire Stick for those who apply and register for classes at the event.

“We want to encourage everyone to come by check out our campus and our programs,” said Vargas. “There’s no time better than the present to come or return to school. We have something for everyone.”

The next registration rallies at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus will be hosted on June 14 and 21, July 12 and 26, and August 9 and will focus on different programs such as Diesel Equipment Technology, Cyber Security Technology, Welding Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC).

Registration Rallies are being held across TSTC’s 10 campuses statewide.

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TSTC Students Set to Compete in First National SkillsUSA Competition

(WACO, Texas) – Two Mechanical/Electrical Drafting Technology students at Texas State Technical College will be the first to represent the Waco campus in the Additive Manufacturing contest at the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in late June in Kentucky.

Brandon Lund of Millsap and Cody White of China Spring were put together as a team by their instructor, Bryan Clark. Clark said he liked Lund’s interest in 3D printing and White’s machining background.

The students will find out what their competition project is during the conference’s contest orientation.

“We have the best of both worlds,” Clark said.

Lund and White earned their way to the national conference by placing first in the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary State Leadership and Skills Conference in April in Waco. During the state Additive Manufacturing contest, the students had to design, print and demonstrate a coin-flipping apparatus. Their project had to be 3D printed in less than two hours.

The students went through nine prototypes before finding a winning combination.

“As they would discover a problem, they would log it,” Clark said.

Lund said he became interested at age 18 in 3D printing, a component of additive manufacturing, when he saw it being used for a video game prop.

“You need spatial awareness,” he said. “You have to visualize something in 2D and 3D at the same time.”

White has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology from TSTC and said after working in the field for less than a year that he wanted to get technical drafting experience. He said he had never used a 3D printer before coming to TSTC.

“You want to understand how products will be made,” he said. “You need to be concerned with machine time with 3D printing.”

Clark said the students have plenty to be excited about in the future of 3D printing.

“These guys will be incredibly valuable,” Clark said. “The need for people to model and design in the virtual world is becoming more necessary.”

The military and the automotive, construction and health care industries are some of the areas where 3D printing is being used.

“The whole industry is in a phase of dramatic growth,” Clark said. “There will come a day when you have a 3D printer like you do a microwave.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Students Set to Compete in First National SkillsUSA Competition

A survivor of domestic violence finds new lease on life at TSTC

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Yvette Vaughan is one of Texas State Technical College’s newest instructors with only three months on the job.  But she has big goals for her program and students.

Her bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Science, both from Tarleton State University, and her extensive experience in the field, made her a perfect match for TSTC’s Environmental Technology program.

“I’m excited to be at TSTC. This place was a gift to me from God,” she said. “This is a really big opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of my students and to work together with them in making our planet a better place.”

The 43-year-old said she never expected to be where she is today because science wasn’t her first passion, but as a domestic violence survivor she is blessed to have a new lease on life.Yvette Vaughan

“I played the flute. I was a music major,” she said. “It was the only thing I knew. It was a large part of my life until an accident left me with severe facial injuries and crushed my dreams.”

At this point, Vaughan had to start life over again.

She became a single mother and no longer able to play the flute due to her injuries, found new dreams.

“I look back now and wonder if this was all some weird blessing in disguise, because had none of it happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Vaughan. “Who knew that I loved science as much as I do and that I am so good at it.”

Vaughan said receiving a degree in biology was as much of a surprise to her as it was to her family.

“My advisor called me into the office and asked me if wanted to graduate that semester because I had taken enough classes to earn my credits. I hadn’t even thought about it, or even declared a major,” she remembers. “But I said yes, and when I told my family about my new career choice it was a relief to know everyone was happy for me despite the huge change.”

This was, what Vaughan called, an extremely proud moment for her and her family.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, surviving a troubled economy and completing her master’s degree, she went on to work at a state park, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and KJ Environmental Management, Inc., a dedicated, full service engineering and environmental consulting firm in Texas, holding positions in areas such as environmental, health and safety, gas and wastewater operations and consulting.

But after suffering two major car accidents on the same day, Vaughan worked hard to walk again and the pressure of constant travel because of her career and her existing injuries, became unbearable.

That is when Vaughan began looking for a new job and found TSTC’s job posting while sitting in an Idaho airport waiting for her flight.

“God answered my prayers that night. Had I not been stuck in Idaho, I would have never seen TSTC’s job posting,” she said. “I applied immediately and received a call back not long after.”

Teaching has been a big change for Vaughan, but she said it’s a good change and she’s looking forward to her future at TSTC.

“I’m more relaxed, less stressed and just overall happier now,” said Vaughan. “And working in a classroom is so rewarding to me and I can’t wait to see where we can take this program.”

Vaughan is currently working on getting Environmental Technology faculty and students involved in the community. She said she believes this is what will help spread awareness about the program, its benefits and career opportunities.

Most recently students volunteered with Fort Bend County’s Citizen’s Environmental Coalition on Earth Day and encouraged recycling, created a Fort Bend Citizen Corp. student chapter on campus, which Vaughan will lead as faculty advisor, and hosted an Environmental Day open house on campus to showcase the program for local middle and high school students.

“Building a strong relationship with our community is essential to how we grow Environmental Technology and TSTC,” said Vaughan.  “I want my students to not only be proud of their academic achievements, but also for what they’ve done for the community. We want to make a difference. And I hope my story can inspire others.”

Students who enroll in Environmental Technical in Fort Bend County, Breckenridge or Waco’s TSTC campuses, find careers as environmental science and protection technicians, environmental scientists and specialists or health and safety engineers or inspectors.

For more information on the program, visit


TSTC Instructors Named AWS Educate Cloud Ambassadors

(WACO, Texas) – Three instructors in Texas State Technical College’s Cloud Computing program were recently named Amazon Web Services (AWS) Educate Cloud Ambassadors.

Andy Kroll, Clint Pate and Rus Teston went through an application process and created a video explaining their philosophy in promoting cloud computing education.

“It’s an honor to be accepted,” Teston said. “As Amazon is growing, they are expanding their own avenues where the cream rises to the top. To be part of the inaugural class of these ambassadors, that is a special thing.”

Some of the benefits of being named AWS Educate Cloud Ambassadors include special AWS training events, conference discounts and scheduled talks with AWS service personnel and solutions architects.

“They invite instructors to sit with the AWS corporate course development team to get input in the education arena,” Teston said. “Being part of the ambassadors gives us a peek under the covers. We can understand what is coming down the pike before everyone else does.”

TSTC’s program enables students to graduate with AWS Cloud Practitioner and AWS Solutions Architect certifications.

Kroll said students can earn other Amazon certifications on their own. He said the program’s students have earned more than 40 AWS certifications in the last seven semesters.

The program will have a revamped curriculum starting this fall that will utilize competency-based education starting this fall, Kroll said. Some of the courses students will take include Introduction to DevOps Engineering, Introduction to Infrastructure Automation and Advanced Infrastructure Automation.

“The students get a world-class education,” Kroll said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Instructors Named AWS Educate Cloud Ambassadors


TSTC Student Restaurant to Open June 12

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program opens its student-operated restaurant for the summer semester on Wednesday, June 12.

The restaurant, which is located at the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center on Campus Drive, is open to the public by reservation. Diners can choose from dishes planned and prepared by students and based on regional cuisines.

Meals are served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays from June 12 to Aug. 9. The restaurant will be closed the week of the Fourth of July. The serving days and themes, which can be subject to change, are:

June 12 and June 14: Texas

June 19 and June 21: Brazil

June 26 and June 28: Greece

July 10 and July 12: Cajun

July 17 and July 19: Mexico

July 24 and July 26: Southern

July 31 and Aug. 2: Indian

Aug. 7 and Aug. 9: Live-action Buffet

Weekly menus will be posted on the Facebook page for the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center at TSTC.

To make reservations, call 254-867-4868 or email Visitors must arrive at least 15 minutes before their seating time. Reservations are not accepted on restaurant serving days.

For menus and other information, go to

TSTC Auto Collision Students, Alumnus Receive Recognitions

(WACO, Texas) – Two students and a recent graduate of the Auto Collision and Management Technology program at Texas State Technical College have been nationally honored for their academic work.

Edward Hernandez of Killeen and Jennifer Watson of Moody are U.S. military veterans who received 3M Hire Our Heroes tool grants valued at $4,500 each. Hernandez also received a $2,000 scholarship from the 3M Hire Our Heroes fund.

Hernandez is studying in TSTC’s refinishing specialization. He said receiving the tools is a relief.

“Now you just worry about getting the job and starting work right away,” he said.

Hernandez came to TSTC because he always wanted to learn how to paint vehicles.

“This is my second life right now,” he said.

Watson was a helicopter mechanic in the Army and worked at DynCorp (now DynCorp International) before coming to TSTC.

“Coming into a completely new career, I realized the tools I have are not useful,” she said. “I have to build a new tool inventory now. For me, it’s a passion.”

Samuel Patterson of Waxahachie graduated from TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program in April.

He recently received a Sears Votech tool grant, which includes an industry-size toolbox. He was surprised when he opened his new toolbox and saw an assortment of drill bits, wrenches, sockets and other items.

“I am stoked, really excited,” Patterson said.

He said in five years he wants to start his own collision, repair and refinishing shop.

“The main thing is I just want to work for myself,” Patterson said.

The recognitions are sponsored by the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division and the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

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TSTC Auto Collision Students, Alumnus Receive Recognitions


TSTC Celebrates Moon Walk With Lecture, Book Signing

(WACO, Texas) – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, Texas State Technical College will present a lecture and book signing by Douglas Brinkley, author of “American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2019, in the auditorium of TSTC’s John B. Connally Technology Center at the corner of Crest Drive and Campus Drive in Waco.

The Apollo 11 space mission occurred eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.

In 1969 the late Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. As he stepped out of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, his words reverberated around his home planet some 238,900 miles away: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and professor of history at Rice University, a CNN presidential historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. 

In the world of public history, he serves on boards, at museums, at colleges, and for historical societies. The Chicago Tribune dubbed him “America’s New Past Master.” The New-York Historical Society has chosen Brinkley as its official U.S. Presidential Historian.

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TSTC Celebrates Moon Walk With Lecture, Book Signing

TSTC in Waco ELT Program Revamping CDL Course

(WACO, Texas) – Students enrolling this fall in Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Waco will have the opportunity to take a restructured commercial driver’s license class.

The program’s students had previously learned how to drive commercial vehicles on campus.

But now, students in their third semester  at TSTC will take a driving course through McLennan Community College and the American Truck Driving School in Elm Mott. The first class will be taught in summer 2020.

The class is backed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates all registered commercial motor vehicles for interstate freight, passenger and hazardous materials transportation.

“It cuts down on costs for the employer and makes the student more sellable,” said Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide chair for the Electrical Lineworker Technology program.

Representatives of area electric providers said having a CDL is vital for job candidates.

“As an electric utility, it’s imperative for us to have employees with a CDL,” said Bryan Blanton, a distribution system manager at Southwestern Electric Power Co. in Longview and chair of TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology advisory board. “It will be a huge success when graduates come out of TSTC’s linemen program already having their CDL.”

Craig Ptomey, program manager of craft and field training at Austin Energy, said having a commercial driver’s license is a preferred qualification for applicants.

“It is very advantageous for our company to have a new hire that has already met that requirement before we even hire them,” Ptomey said. “In turn, it gives them a better chance of being hired, as we do not have to spend time and money and other resources in training them. I think that TSTC does a great service to both their students and the companies that hire them by ensuring that students have their CDL before graduating.”

TSTC students will first need to get a commercial driver’s license permit before the end of their second semester, said Carithers.

“The students are required to have their permit and also a copy of their driving record,” he said. “They need a driving record for every state they have lived in the last seven years. They also need to undergo a drug screening.”

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TSTC in Waco ELT Program Revamping CDL Course

TSTC Electrical Power and Controls Graduates Hired by National Field Services

(WACO, Texas) – Six recent Texas State Technical College graduates have been hired by National Field Services based in Lewisville, Texas.

Seth Culver, Ashley Denton, James Fisher, Daniel Garmon, Luke Sanchez and Stephen Wheir all received their Associate of Applied Science degrees in Electrical Power and Controls at TSTC’s Spring 2019 Commencement in early May in Waco.

National Field Services has hired TSTC alumni for positions before. Bryan Necessary, an instructor in TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program, knew Matt LaCoss, the company’s South Texas field manager, when they were students at TSTC.

“He knows exactly what we are teaching the kids and what their skills are and what their background is,” Necessary said. “A lot of times, he doesn’t even have to ask technical questions because he knows what we are going to teach them.”

Garmon, of Jacksonville, Texas, said his new job fits with his previous work experience.

“I built power lines for many years and want to get in the transmission side of it to gain knowledge and experience,” he said. “I feel National Field Services is a great opportunity.”

Culver, of Rockport, Texas, said he will be based in San Marcos and work in the San Angelo area, where he will test power and control relays to ensure that power does not fluctuate for customers. Culver said he will also make sure cables are correctly placed.

“I’m really happy to be able to check someone else’s work, and make sure it is correct and fix it if it isn’t,” Culver said. “I’m happy to be able to use my brain more than my hands.”

National Field Services specializes in the maintenance, troubleshooting, engineering and disaster recovery of electrical power systems for the construction, manufacturing, petrochemical and other industries.

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