Category Archives: Fort Bend County

TSTC, Central Fort Bend Chamber host MFG Day community event

National Manufacturing (MFG) Day is around the corner and Texas State Technical College,

in partnership with the Central Fort Bend Chamber, will be celebrating with a community event.

MFG Day, traditionally held on the first Friday in October, will be hosted October 4, 2019, from 9 a.m. to noon at the TSTC Brazos Center.

“This event gives our local students, local manufacturers, and our community an opportunity to

experience TSTC in a unique way as employers will be introduced to a segment of our future workforce,” said TSTC field development officer John Kennedy. “Events such as Manufacturing Day are great for TSTC because they highlight what we do – educate, train and prepare men and women for a great-paying career.”

MFG Day is an annual event that allows manufacturing facilities and education institutions across the country to open their doors and open more minds to a growing industry that is vital to the economy and to show how 21st century manufacturers are solving tomorrow’s challenges today.

“With the growth that is anticipated in Fort Bend County within the next five to 10 years, we need to create awareness about the educational opportunities in our area for this industry,” said Kristin Weiss, president and chief executive officer for the Central Fort Bend County Chamber. “And TSTC plays an integral part in our community by helping us build our workforce and keep our workers local. So partnering with TSTC for this event was a no-brainer.”TSTC MFG Day 2019 Precision Machining Technology

According to a press release from the Manufacturing Institute and National Association of Manufacturers, last year there were nearly 3,000 MFG events held across North American with more than 80 percent of students saying they became more convinced that manufacturing provides interesting and rewarding careers after attending the events.

“Modern manufacturing environments are commonly thought of as dark, dangerous factories designed for low-skilled workers, but MFG Day addresses this misperception,” the MFG Day press release stated. “Over the next decade, manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs. These jobs offer long-term career opportunities, high pay and exposure to cutting-edge technology and innovations.”

Kennedy said the event will include TSTC campus tours, a panel of industry specialists and former career and technical education students, and exhibitor visits with 20 industry partners such as CenterPoint Energy, Englebrecht Manufacturing, Frito-Lay, FW Murphy Production Controls, I Build America and Gurecky Manufacturing Services.

“We are very thankful for our industry partners who have decided to participate in this opportunity and we hope that the students who attend this event will be intrigued by what we offer and decide to continue their education at TSTC after they graduate from high school,” said Kennedy. “Our mantra is ‘Placing more Texans in great-paying jobs,’ and we hope to offer that opportunity when these students are ready.”

More than 300 high school juniors and seniors from surrounding school districts, college students, their parents and educators are expected to attend.

They will not only gain knowledge in manufacturing careers, but also learn about the programs TSTC offers that can help them gain employment in the industry.

Attendees will take an in-depth look into programs such as TSTC’s Robotics, Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Systems Technology and Precision Machining.

To register for the event, contact the Center Fort Bend Chamber at 281-342-5464 or visit, cfbca.org.

 

Local students celebrate new-age manufacturing opportunities

Monica Raumaker, a senior at Cinco Ranch High School and Miller Career and Technology Center in Katy, was one of nearly 200 local high school juniors and seniors who attended Manufacturing (MFG) Day at Texas State Technical College on Friday.

The 17-year-old, said the event was an eye opener for her in regards to manufacturing in the 21st century.

“This event was a great opportunity for students like me,” she said. “I learned about so many different career paths that I can take within the industry and it was amazing to see that what I’m learning in class is all applicable to the real world.”

The Katy native added that she is excited to enter an industry with so much opportunity.

The community event hosted in partnership with the Central Fort Bend Chamber, is part of a national celebration that is launched annually on the first Friday of October.TSTC, Central Fort Bend Chamber MFG Day 2019

Among the relevant manufacturing programs offered on the Fort Bend County campus include Precision Machining Technology and Industrial Systems.

The halls at the TSTC Brazos Center were lined with nearly 20 industry partners who were ready to network with high school and college students, educators, and leaders and members of the community.

Central Fort Bend Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kristin Weiss said this is the first time the event has been put on by the Industrial Division of the Central Fort Bend Chamber.

“I am on cloud nine right now. The event was a great success,” said Weiss. “Seeing students excited, interacting with the companies and telling us that they’re learning so much makes me so happy. That is what this event was all about.”  

The event held from 9 a.m. to noon included campus tours, industry visits and a panel discussion with industry specialists and former career technology education students including TSTC Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) alumnus Brandon Felts.

Kellen Dorman from Gurecky Manufacturing in Rosenberg said there is a misperception about what manufacturing careers entail, and with an increase in demand for skilled technicians in the industry this has been a great event to educate and increase awareness about how the growing industry is vital to the economy and provides a number of career opportunities.

“Hosting this type of event was a great idea,” she said. “It’s so important to show our future generations that there are other options outside of a four-year university and how manufacturing is evolving.”

Dorman also added that she was excited to see so many young girls interested in pursuing careers in the manufacturing industry and she hopes that she was able to encourage them.

“We have two women at Gurecky, one of them is a machinist,” said Dorman. “That just goes to show that there is room for women in this industry, especially as the industry’s technology becomes more sophisticated.”

TSTC field development officer John Kennedy said the day was wildly successful for TSTC.

“To have so many students and potential employers in one place was fantastic,” said Kennedy. “The support we received from educators and the community regarding this event was overwhelming. I can already see this event grow annually.”

Kennedy and Weiss said they hope to continue working together to make MFG Day even bigger and better for years to come. 

TSTC Cybersecurity student breaks barriers to find success

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Rosit Youssef was only 13-years-old when her family moved from Egypt to the United States. She has struggled, but has persevered, and now at age 18, is one of the youngest students in Texas State Technical College’s Cybersecurity program.

“I struggled with being in a new country, but I knew we had to do this to escape our country’s revolution, for better opportunities and so my sister and I could have a chance at an education and a better life,” she said. “But it was all still so scary.”

Yet, she overcame her biggest obstacle yet – learning English.

“I was already learning English before we left Egypt, so I understood the words, but it was speaking it that gave me problems,” said Youssef.

She quickly caught up to her classmates and ended up excelling in high school, graduating at only 16.

However, that year was unconventional in every aspect for Youssef because of the devastation Hurricane Harvey had brought to the area, her family included.Rosit Youssef TSTC Cybersecurity student

“We graduated, but without any type of honor roll because all records had been lost in the flooding, but it’s okay, I was just happy that my family and I were safe,” she said.   

The Youssef’s new home was a total loss after the flooding. But what Youssef said she finds miraculous is that they were able to weather the storm safely in that same home, with no food or water.

“It’s been a bumpy road, but we’ve made it and now I’m here at TSTC working toward a career I love,” she said.

It was in 10th grade, during a TSTC recruitment presentation that Youssef realized Cybersecurity was the path she needed to take.

“I loved the idea of cyber safety and using cyber processes to help companies and individuals stay safe,” said Youssef. “So early on I knew that TSTC was the college for me.”

Youssef’s entire family is in the healthcare field but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her own passion.

“I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and my family has always been supportive,” she said. “And that’s why I’ve been able to succeed.”

Not letting her age be a barrier or excuse, Youssef currently boasts a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, was recently invited to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and expects to earn her associate degree in Spring 2020.

What Youssef said she loves about the college and what has made her experience positive is the focus on hands-on learning and the small class size for more one-on-one help. She said this has allowed her to find her niche in the field: Digital Forensics, where she said she’ll get to do good for this world.

“Even right now that I still have some time before graduating I already feel confident that I am ready to enter the workforce because of the practice and experience I’ve been able to get here at TSTC,” she said. “I could not have gotten this type of opportunity anywhere else.”

And as the only woman in her class, Youssef has also been able to take advantage of resources offered to non-traditional students in their field.

She has received some scholarships and has been able to use TSTC’s Lending Library, which has allowed her to borrow, instead of purchase, the books she needs.

“All of this has really saved me and my family money. I’ve only paid a minimal amount for my education,” she said. “I thank TSTC for helping their students in any way they can because now I am not in debt.”

Youssef said she hopes to finish her last semesters strong and help other women also enter the field of cybersecurity.

“This field needs more women and there’s plenty of room,” she said. “I want to encourage other women to pursue their passions without fear or intimidation because technology is advancing and we have to be a part of it.”

Cybersecurity is also offered at TSTC’s Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Waco and East Williamson County campuses.

For more information on TSTC Cybersecurity, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/CyberSecurity.

TSTC hosts its first interview practicum

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – With the knowledge that practice makes perfect, Texas State Technical College held an inaugural job interview session for students in Fort Bend County, an event that is a job-readiness tradition on most of the other TSTC campuses statewide.

TSTC’s Talent Management and Career Services hosted this first-ever Interview Practicum with assistance from industry partners and TSTC faculty and staff.

Soon-to-be TSTC graduates from Electrical Lineworker Technology and Electrical Power and Controls participated in the event that included mock job interviews, resume building and interview skills workshops.

TSTC Placement Coordinator Judy Cox said each student participated in a round of interviews, each 30 minutes long, and were provided constructive feedback on how to improve his/her resumes and interview skills.TSTC First Interview Practicum

“It’s important to ensure the success of our students,” said Cox. “We create students who are not only technically skilled, but also well-rounded with the people skills they need to competently and confidently present themselves to industry recruiters.”

Industry partners such as Kiewit Corporation; Atec, Inc.; Burns & McDonnell and IBEW Electrical Lineworkers Local Union 66 participated in the event helping with interview coaching and providing student feedback.

Ben Holmes, business representative for IBEW, said he was happy to help TSTC in providing this type of opportunity for its students.

“We have a close relationship with TSTC and their students are graduating job-ready and with the technical skills we’re looking for, but improving their soft skills is also part of the plan and that’s great,” said Holmes. “Some of these students have never had an interview, so giving them the chance to practice and improve is invaluable.”

This was the case for TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology student Angel Moran, who got his first taste of interviewing at the interview practicum.

“I was pretty nervous going into this,” said the 19-year-old. “I was shaky the first round, but really took advice to heart and felt improvement and more confidence going into the second and third rounds.” I’m glad TSTC gave us this opportunity. An interview is everything. That’s what gets you the job and career you want.”

The Fresno native, who graduates next month, said he has already been invited to interview with CenterPoint Energy in Houston and feels more prepared for the interview process because of TSTC’s recent event.

“Interview Practicum taught me a lot and has been very helpful, especially for a first-timer like me,” he said. “I’m thankful to the coaches who took the time to help us and to TSTC for its support in and out of the classroom, and for ensuring that we’re job-ready.”

After seeing the success and positive feedback she received from students and industry partners, Cox said TSTC plans to host this event annually.

“According to our students, our event was 100 percent successful, and I agree,” she said. “The confidence I saw our students leaving with puts a smile on my face. And our industry partners were very impressed with our students’ skills. Our interview practicum can only grow from here and we’re excited for what’s to come.”

In order to promote job placement, TSTC has held interview practicums at its other ten campuses for the past decade. TSTC in Fort Bend County is among the newest but fastest growing campuses for the college.

For more information on the services offered by Talent Management and Career Services to TSTC students and alumni, and on the programs offered, visit tstc.edu.

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.

For more information, visit tstc.edu/rally.

 

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.edu/programs/EnvironmentalTechnology.

 

Hurricane Harvey helped one TSTC student find a career

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Two years ago when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast, Texas State Technical College student Nolen Maraman and his family lost their home to flooding, forcing them to start over, yet through it all he also found a new career.

“We had to evacuate north, in the middle of the storm,” said the 22-year-old. “And as we were leaving, I saw a number of electric companies arriving. There were men and women ready to get power up and running the moment the storm moved out of our area. To me that was intriguing and brave.”

Maraman would spend the next several days researching about what an electrical lineworker is and does.Nolen Maraman

“It didn’t take long for me to realize that becoming an electrical lineworker is what I wanted to do,” said the Cat Spring native. “It’s a career with many opportunities to offer, including the chance to help others.”

There was only one thing delaying his start at TSTC, and that was his last semester at Sam Houston University, he was only a few months away from graduation.

Maraman went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in business management, but he said it was only a path for him to follow, not what he wanted to do. He had found his true passion, and that was at TSTC.

“At first my family was a bit skeptical about me not pursuing a job with my degree, and returning to a technical college,” he said. “But after I showed them the number of job opportunities that would be available to me, how in demand my skills would be and my projected salary, they trusted my choice and were supportive every step of the way.”

He expects to graduate in August with a certificate in Electrical Lineworker Technology and said that the training he has received in his program will allow him to hit the ground running when he enters the workforce.

“I came in completely new. I knew nothing about the field,” said Maraman, “But because of the program’s experienced instructors and the hands-on, real-world training they provide to their students with an on-campus pole yard, I now know the foundation and the basics that I need to be a successful lineman.”

Maraman added that not only has he found his passion and new career, but he has also found happiness.

“I can honestly say I’m happy now,” he said. “I’m working toward a career that helps others, that I’m passionate about and that gives me room for growth.”

Nolen MaramanIn fact, both of Maraman’s parents received a technical education. His mom began her career as an emergency medical technician and his dad is an underwater welder.

“Technical education fuels our workforce,” said Maraman. “In my experience, my certificate is giving me more job opportunities than my bachelor’s degree, it’s unbelievable.”

Maraman also said that he highly recommends TSTC and the many programs being offered.

“These are life-long careers, not just jobs,” he said. “And I’m excited to begin mine. And I have (Hurricane) Harvey to thank for this.”

Graduates from TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program, also offered at the college’s Marshall and Waco campuses, can expect to be in demand for the nation’s highest paying career. Texas employs more lineworkers than any other state.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of lineworkers is expected to grow eight percent, and job opportunities will be best for persons with good technical and mechanical skills. In 2018 the median annual wage was more than $70,000.

For more information on TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program or to apply, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC diesel student earns spot at SkillsUSA national competition

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Rene Escobar was the only student at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County to earn a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition held recently at TSTC in Waco.

“When I heard my name, I could not believe it,” said the 24-year-old. “I know I worked hard preparing for the competition, but it was still a surprise. It was a proud moment.”

The gold medalists will advance to the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

The Houston native earned his gold medal in the SkillsUSA Diesel Technology category, successfully completing an 80-question exam, 10 hands-on skills stations and an interview.

At the competition Escobar had two hours for the written exam and 15 minutes to complete each skills station, which included hands-on projects in areas such as engines, transmissions, electrical, air conditioning and hydraulics.Rene Escobar

“I prepared night and day for SkillsUSA,” said Escobar. “I spent my time at the diesel labs after class and worked closely with my instructors to make sure I was competition ready.”

Escobar said he even downloaded the electronic versions of his textbooks onto his phone so he could study wherever he wanted.

Escobar expects to earn an associate degree in Diesel Equipment Technology in August and said although he was nervous and put in a lot of time preparing, the training he has received while enrolled in the program helped him face SkillsUSA with confidence.

“There were some areas I had to give extra attention to while studying, but for the most part I felt fully prepared because of the training our instructors provide,” said Escobar.

This also was not the Diesel Equipment Technology student’s first rodeo. In fact, he competed in last year’s SkillsUSA competition in the same category and earned a bronze medal.

Escobar said SkillsUSA has allowed him to network with like-minded people and showcase his skills to industry professionals, which has opened up doors of opportunity he never expected to receive.

“SkillsUSA is not only about honing in on technical skills, but also growth as a leader and communicator,” he said. “It’s about preparing us for the workforce and ensuring that we’re well-rounded students and professionals.”

Escobar is already receiving job offers and has a lot to consider.

Escobar added that as someone who had his mind set on automobile mechanics, TSTC’s diesel program and SkillsUSA has opened up a whole new world for him.

“Before TSTC, I was working at auto shops and my parents were pushing me to go back to school, while my uncle was pushing me to pursue diesel mechanics,” he said. “And it was TSTC commercials streaming nonstop on Pandora internet radio that made me research TSTC.”

It was during this research that Escobar discovered he could earn a two-year degree in Diesel Equipment Technology and enter an industry where diesel mechanics are always in demand.

“Diesel mechanics is so broad — there are many areas I could specialize in,” said Escobar. “And all aspects excite me and motivate me. I’m really happy to be where I am today and that Pandora annoyed me with TSTC commercials. It changed my life.”

Statewide, 63 TSTC students earned gold medals during the recent state competition.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

Students in SkillsUSA participate in hands-on competitions in various fields such as science; technology; engineering; mathematics; building construction; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

For more information on the programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

From university to technical college, TSTC grad finds lifelong career

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Brian Bradley was once a Texas State University Bobcat, yet he never graduated. But now, at 29 years old, he can call himself a graduate of Texas State Technical College.

The Fulshear native graduated Thursday night as a Board of Regents honors graduate, with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and an associate degree in Cyber Security Technology.

He joined 38 other graduates of TSTC in Fort Bend County who earned either a certificate or an associate degree during the college’s commencement ceremony at the Stafford Centre.

“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Bradley. “The fact that I’m graduating hasn’t sunk in yet, but knowing that I now have a trade, a skill, is an achievement to me.”

Bradley started his college career at Texas State University as a kinesiology major because he enjoyed playing sports and exercising, but he soon realized it wasn’t the best career choice for him.Brian Bradley

Noticing the limited career opportunities that kinesiology would have given him and with a newborn baby, he turned to working.

“At this point, I no longer had a career passion or something that I could say I would be happy doing for the rest of my life,” he said. “So with a new family member came added responsibility, and it was time for me to support my family.”

Bradley worked in the restaurant and bar industries and as a sales representative up until he enrolled at TSTC in 2017.

“I spent too much time working jobs that I never really enjoyed, but I needed to make a decent living,” said Bradley. “Enough was enough. There were too many holidays missed with my family, long shifts and crazy hours. It was time to find a career.”

It was through a friend who built and repaired computers that Bradley first realized his passion for technology and computers.

“We’d get together, and he would show me his work.  even helped in his computer build,” he said. “This is when I realized I could make computers and technology a career.”

He did not take the decision of going back to college lightly. It was going to be a large sacrifice and change for his family of five.

Upon enrolling at TSTC, the family sold their home and moved in with relatives, where they still reside.

“I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive family. They have been on this journey with me since day one,” said Bradley. “But the way we saw it is you must give ground to gain ground. And this was really to give my family a better life.”

Bradley and his family made it through the long nights and financial constraints knowing it would all be worth it in the end.

And worth it it was. Halfway through Bradley’s program of study, he was offered an internship with Frontline Computer Services, whose owner was seeking a TSTC Cyber Security student.

“It all happened rather fast, but I owe this opportunity to my instructor, Alan Sulak,” he said. “Along with the real-world training I received at TSTC and the experience I have gained at Frontline, I feel like I’m prepared and ready to conquer the cyber security industry.”

At Frontline, Bradley has been able to work with small and medium businesses, providing network infrastructure monitoring, network security, hardware repair, and maintenance and technical support.

Frontline is also the place where Bradley will begin his career upon graduating. Ultimately Bradley hopes to work in penetration testing, which is hacking into networks to help companies repair vulnerabilities and protect identities.

“It feels great knowing the opportunities that lie ahead,” he said. “I now have a career, a passion, and I’m on the right path because of TSTC. And I want to tell anyone thinking of pursuing a two-year degree to just do it. Having a skill and trade improves employability and opens doors of opportunity.”

Bradley celebrated his achievement with his wife, children, his father, who is Rosenberg Police Department Sergeant Michael Bradley, and other family members.

More than 1,000 TSTC students will earn a certificate or degree statewide during Spring 2019, joining an alumni network of 100,000 strong.

TSTC student meets challenges head-on in quest for college degree

(FORT BEND COUNTY) – Getting to college and becoming a college graduate was no easy feat for Adam Alvarado, especially without a high school diploma.

But that is all in the past, because the 48-year-old will earn his associate degree in Cyber Security Technology at 6 p.m. on Thursday during TSTC’s Commencement Ceremony at the Stafford Centre.

“I always knew I wanted to become a college graduate. I never thought it would be possible,” said the Rosenberg native. “And it’s still hard for me to believe this is actually happening.”

Alvarado said he grew up in the ‘80s in a predominately white school, where he dealt with a lot of racial issues.

He said this, and the necessity to work, put a damper on his motivation to learn and led him to make poor decisions about his education.

“I’ve had to own my choices. They’ve weighed heavy,” said Alvarado. “I’ve always felt like I’m ‘less than,’ but TSTC has changed that for me. It has built a confidence in me that is hard to explain, but now I feel like I can achieve anything.”Adam Alvarado

Alvarado worked for Frito-Lay for 15 years as a lead and night supervisor, also handling technical issues at the company’s help desk.

“I enjoyed what I did and learned a lot, sparking my interest in technology,” he said. “But not having a college degree hindered any opportunity I had of growing with the company.”

Alvarado said he prayed a lot about making a career change because before he could enroll at TSTC, he needed his General Education Development (GED) diploma.

Determined to succeed, Alvarado soon earned his GED diploma and was able to enroll at TSTC as a Cyber Security Technology student.

“It all happened so fast,” said Alvarado. “I credit a lot of my success to Melanie Pruett, my TSTC enrollment coach, because she helped me kick-start everything.”

He added how intimidated he was by TSTC because he had no high school diploma, but his time at the college has shown him how the seemingly impossible can be possible.

“TSTC was able to turn a man who felt beat down into a career man,” he said. “I can now pursue my passion of computers and technology, thanks to the education and training I received at TSTC.”

Of course, the journey didn’t come without challenges.

“I was no expert on computers coming in,” he said. “My instructors, though, helped me understand everything and always pushed me to keep going and cross that finish line. And because of them, I even became a lab assistant helping other students. It’s funny how things work themselves out.”

The father of four said balancing a family life as a full-time student was demanding, but his religious faith kept him going, and being able to study while his children did their homework kept him motivated.

“My family are my biggest supporters. They supported me throughout my journey,” he said. “I want to be a good example for my kids. They do what they see, so I wanted them seeing me working hard and overcoming obstacles. If I can do it, so can they.”

Alvarado’s experience, however, not only inspired his children, but also his 18 brothers and sisters.

“There are several who always wanted to get their GEDs and even maybe go to college, so I feel like my experience at TSTC has helped me pave the way,” said Alvarado. “TSTC is changing the dynamics of my family and opening doors of opportunity.”

Alvarado is exploring his career options and hopes to work for a surrounding school district’s information technology or networking department. Ultimately he hopes to open a business.

“At the beginning of all of this, I was so nervous,” said Alvarado. “But my life has changed so much, for better, because of TSTC. And I encourage others who think it’s impossible to embrace the challenge and give TSTC a place in their lives.”