Category Archives: All TSTC

TSTC Hosts Counselor Update

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus held its annual Counselor Update on Friday to kick off the new year.

“It just gives them a chance to see what is going on if they are new,” said Trey Pearson, TSTC’s North and Central Texas regional director for student recruitment. “For those returning, it’s keeping our relationship strong.”

More than 30 area school counselors learned about TSTC’s technical programs and new initiatives.

The counselors were told about TSTC’s Performance-Based Education initiative beginning this fall with the Cybersecurity and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technology programs. Students in these programs can take course lessons at their own pace to create flexibility in their learning.

The counselors watched members of the first cohort of Bombardier’s Aviation Apprenticeship Training program work in their specially designed lab on the first floor of the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center. The cohort is the first of 250 people taking 180 days of training at TSTC and at the company to produce the Advanced Metallic Wing for the Global 7500 aircraft at the company’s Red Oak plant.

Megan Bloedel, a college advisor at McKinney North High School, said Friday’s event was the first time she had been to TSTC.

“I liked the different programs there were and partnering with different industries,” she said.

Bloedel said the technical program that piqued her interest was Diesel Equipment Technology, which teaches students about engine repair, hydraulics, steering and suspension systems and other topics.

Allison Knott, a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) coordinator at Cedar Hill High School, said she was interested in the need for HVAC technicians and the skills taught in the Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology and Industrial Systems programs.

“I’m always super impressed when I come to TSTC,” Knott said.

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TSTC’s Workforce Training to Offer Solar Energy Class

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department will host a continuing education class on solar energy from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, in the South Building on the Marshall campus.

“We have a lot of people in East Texas that can make use of solar energy to power up remote areas on their property,” said Dirk Hughes, TSTC’s executive director of Workforce Training in Marshall.

Using solar energy means low water usage, long-term price certainty and energy security, according to the Texas Solar Power Association’s Texas Solar Industry Overview released in March 2019. More than $4.5 billion has been invested in solar projects in Texas, according to the trade association.

“We are seeing solar growth in all parts of the state,” said Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association in Austin. “Our data point is that in the SWEPCO Texas service territory covering part of East Texas, installed solar capacity increased more than 20 percent in 2020, growing from 984 mW to 1,192 kW. East Texas has a good solar resource, and it makes sense that residents would look to take advantage of it.”

Hughes, a registered professional engineer, will teach the course. The cost is $75 and includes a combination of lecture and hands-on training. To register, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3442.

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TSTC Culinary Arts Instructors Prepare for International Contests

(WACO, Texas) – Two instructors in Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program enter 2020 preparing for international competitions.

Chef Michele Brown is a member of the Agricultural Culinary Team Manitoba taking part in the IKA/Culinary Olympics in February in Stuttgart, Germany. Brown will handle the team’s pastry arts.

Brown said she is at the point in her preparation to test how to style four different kinds of petit fours on plates. She will also spend time working on the detailed aspects of her desserts, including cocoa painting.

“It is about what makes more sense,” Brown said.

Once in Germany, the team will do final preparations at a kitchen they have arranged to use. 

“It is stress from the 13th of February to the 17th of February, then relax,” Brown said.

Chef Mark Schneider will compete at the Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) Food and Beverage 2020 in early April in Singapore. Schneider was selected to take part because of his membership in the Epicurean World Master Chefs Society.

Schneider started a stringent training schedule last week, with a combination of preparing ingredients and kitchen equipment along with cooking. He plans to use his competition dish twice for upcoming special events and most likely make minor changes up to the contest.

Schneider has also been doing research on Singapore’s cuisine. He will create a seafood dish for the competition, using local fish and some ingredients that are seasonally available.

“It’s a jump from doing anything in the U.S. or Europe,” he said.

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TSTC’s Challenger Learning Center Offers New Programs in 2020

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Challenger Learning Center in Waco is preparing to take you to Mars starting this spring.

The center will offer the new “Expedition Mars” mission, said Jeremy Hagman, the Challenger Learning Center’s coordinator. Groups can make reservations now for the mission, which will enable participants to learn five phases of living on Mars.

“The concept is the same,” said Nereida Balli, director of Pre-College Programs, which include the Challenger Learning Center. “There is mathematics and science involved, and STEM information and activities the students are needing to get.”

Pre-K to fourth-grade students can take part in “Pre-Supply,” the revamped Atomnaut Academy that is accepting bookings now, Hagman said. An Atomnaut Academy can accommodate up to 28 students alternating between five stations.

“The kids help pack up and plan the mission,” he said. “They adopt an astronaut of their own and prepare the mission. This is more mission-focused.”

Balli said the Atomnaut Academy will prepare students to see what they can expect in doing missions once they reach fifth grade.

The Challenger Learning Center will continue to offer the “Rendezvous With a Comet” mission for students.

The Challenger Learning Center served more than 300 students in the fall in Waco, Hagman said. More than 1,000 students visited the center in 2019.

“We are getting a lot of new business from the local schools,” he said. “It is about community-building. We are here to support their students.”

The Challenger Learning Center is the third of its kind in Texas and is affiliated with the not-for-profit Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Washington, D.C. TSTC’s Harlingen campus is also home to a Challenger Learning Center.

The center’s purpose is to bring the planets to life for students. Visitors attend a short mission briefing and then divide into groups to work in Mission Control and a working laboratory. Activities are focused on communication, critical thinking, leadership and science.

The Challenger Learning Center honors the astronauts who died Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed on the Challenger space shuttle launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The initiative was founded that year by the families of the seven astronauts tragically killed.

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Spirit of giving: TSTC helps student avoid homelessness

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – From one day to the next, Texas State Technical College student Josephine Delgado faced homelessness. But TSTC was there to make sure that did not happen.

Delgado said that the Sunday she lost the security of having a roof over her head began as a fun day. She headed to church without a care in the world.

But when she got home, her life turned upside down.

“I lived with my sister in an apartment only down the road from the college,” she said. “It was a perfect setup. But without warning, my sister relocated to Corpus Christi with her children.”

Delgado had recently earned her associate degree in Business Management Technology at TSTC and was finishing up a few extra classes. She found herself worrying about where she would live, how she would pay for it, and how she would get to school and work if she had to move back to her former home in San Perlita more than 30 minutes away.

“I was panicking. I only had one day to find a new place. I had no car, so moving home was not an option,” said the 23-year-old.TSTC Housing student Josephine Delgado

Immediately Delgado put a phone call in to some friends and mentors at TSTC Student Life and Engagement, where she was a student worker.

She was advised to speak to TSTC housing and student support representatives to take a look at her options.

“Without the help I received from TSTC, and so quickly, I don’t know what would have happened,” said Delgado. “But as quickly as I lost my home, TSTC helped me find another.”

TSTC assisted Delgado with scholarships and grants to get her settled into her new home on campus.

The scholarships and grants awarded to Delgado came from donations contributed to TSTC’s employee giving campaign.

Employees can select to give to the Stephen & Susan Snyder Helping Hands Scholarship and to scholarship funds.

The type of housing assistance Delgado received, along with the student food pantry and emergency aid, fall under the auspices of Helping Hands.

The TSTC Foundation Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations Jennifer Colten said a recent study identified that 72% of students at TSTC’s Harlingen campus are in critical need of financial assistance, making employee contributions important.

“The Harlingen campus has the greatest percentage of economically disadvantaged students,” she said. “And if we can give students immediate assistance with things such as housing, which is such a gift.”

As for Delgado, her time as a student at TSTC will come to an end next spring. But she hopes to return to TSTC as a full-time employee so she can help others the way she has been helped.

“I am so thankful for TSTC. Because of the help I received, I was able to finish my education,” she said. “The culture at TSTC is one of service and support for their students and employees. And I want to be a part of that and help make a difference in someone’s life the way TSTC has made a difference in mine.”

TSTC alum finds second chance at TSTC

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – By the time they are 63 years old, most people are thinking about retirement. But not Adan Chavez. He is just getting started on what he calls his second chance at life.

The Pharr native graduated from Texas State Technical College in 2018 with certificates in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology.

But years earlier — long before the internet and cell phones were commonplace — Chavez had run afoul of the law and was incarcerated.

“It was a challenge coming back to school after being away for so long,” he said. “The technology was a lot newer too. Everyone is now connected. It was an eye-opener.”

Chavez feels blessed to have found TSTC.TSTC Aircraft Maintenance Adan Chavez

“Thanks be to God that I was given a second chance and that I made it through the (TSTC) program,” he said. “It was actually a lot of fun being around young energy; it was contagious.”

Chavez added that TSTC gave him an opportunity he may not have been given anywhere else.

“Mechanics has always been my thing, but airplanes have always fascinated me,” he said. “So my daughter helped me find a program that combines both, and it was definitely time well spent.”

While at TSTC, Chavez gained valuable, real-world experience on various types of aircraft that helped prepare him for the workforce.

“We got to practice what we learned in the classroom,” he said. “So when I graduated, not only was I familiar with the terms and theory, but I was familiar with how to complete processes on actual aircraft.”

Chavez credits the hands-on learning approach to his current success.

He is currently working as an airframe and powerplant mechanic at CV-580 in Brownsville.

“I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity of starting a new career,” said Chavez. “There have been so many people who have helped me get here. At TSTC there was always someone willing to help. This has set me up for a better future.”

Chavez said his goals are to learn as much as possible, branch out within the field, and climb the ladder to leadership roles.

“I’ve been given a second chance in all aspects, and I’m proof that’s it’s never too late to get an education and start again,” he said.

Aircraft Airframe Technology and Airframe Powerplant Technology are also available at TSTC’s Abilene and Waco campuses.

Registration is underway for Spring 2020. For more information, visit

TSTC Physics moves the world through knowledge

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Physics is a study of matter, motion and behavior through space and time related to energy and force. In Texas State Technical College’s Physics program, students receive the building blocks to support technical programs and educational goals.

TSTC Physics campus department chair Jose Alvarez said that the mastery of physics can lead a student into a multitude of career opportunities.TSTC Physics

He went on to explain the types of skills that students learn and how physics can be applied outside the classroom.

What is the length of the program?

The program is five semesters. Upon successful completion, a student will earn an Associate of Science degree.

What can students expect when they graduate?

Students in this program will gain a strong foundation in the fundamentals of physics and mathematics. Many of the students go on to, or have completed, a technical program such as engineering, education and training, or computer science.

What skills do students learn in Physics?

Students learn the math and chemistry behind areas such as acceleration, motion, electricity, magnetism, optics, mechanics and heat.

What types of technology are used to learn these skills?

In this program, students have access to labs and numerous tools for experiments such as speed-of-sound testers, electrostatic generators, force tables, compressors, condensers and mini-boilers.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

Physics is a stepping stone into more in-depth learning after graduation. Many students who graduate from this program and continue their education will go on to find careers in engineering, computer programming, computer science, or medical equipment design and repair.

TSTC spreads holiday cheer

TSTC Toys for Tots TSTC Toys for Tots TSTC Toys for Tots TSTC Toys for Tots

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Texas State Technical College Support Services department and Santa Claus recently delivered presents to the children of Early Head Start Child Development and NINOS Head Start centers located on the TSTC campus.

The children at both centers had the chance to enjoy a visit with Santa and take photos.

The gifts were collected with the help of TSTC staff, faculty and students to help make this holiday season brighter for the children.

TSTC Testing Center first in RGV to receive national recognition

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – It was nearly a year in the making, but the Testing Center at Texas State Technical College has become the first in the Rio Grande Valley to earn national recognition by the National College Testing Association.

The certification cements the Testing Center’s national status as a leader in excellent testing practices. It proves that the center is a secure testing environment with a trained testing staff, and it sets the bar high for other postsecondary testing centers.

“This is an exciting time for us,” said TSTC Testing Center assistant director Llesmin Gonzalez. “This validates all of the hard work our team does. It shows that we’re moving in the right direction.”

TSTC’s Testing Center is one among a growing number of centers in the United States and Canada to have completed the intensive certification process.TSTC Testing Center

Everything from testing center blueprints and layouts to photos and scenario write-ups and solutions were submitted for consideration.

“It really was a team effort,” said Gonzalez. “It was all hands on deck to make this happen for our center and our college.”

The certification will be in place for the next five years and can be renewed by demonstrating continued compliance to national standards.

TSTC’s Testing Center, which is also open to the public, offers numerous testing services. They include the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) assessment, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing, General Educational Development (GED) testing, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) certification exam, and one of the newest: personal trainer certification.

“We already offer many services to our students and the community, but this national recognition will allow us to expand on what we offer and invite new testing vendors to offer their exams at our site,” said Gonzalez.

She added that students and the community will benefit from this expansion because the center will offer in-demand testing while helping students and the community achieve their educational and workforce goals.

“We’re ready to lead the way with this recognition here in the RGV and among our TSTC campuses,” said Gonzalez. 

The National College Testing Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of professionalism and high-quality service in the administration of testing programs. It offers certification to college and university testing centers that demonstrate exemplary practices.

For more information on the testing services offered by the TSTC Testing Center, visit https://admissions/testing.


Spirit of Giving: TSTC’s food pantry benefits students

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The transition from high school to college can be challenging. 

For Texas State Technical College student Ruben Rodriguez, the transition also led to anxiety about not having enough to eat.

But TSTC was there to alleviate the stress until he could get back on his feet.

“My first semester at TSTC was a huge adjustment,” said the 20-year-old. “I came from a high school where I could get free meals, and that changed in college.”

The Harlingen native said he would find himself without money to purchase a proper meal.

“From class to studying in the library, the days are long sometimes in college,” he said. “And I would find myself trying to concentrate over a growling stomach.”

With no job and little money, often Rodriguez would go all day without a meal. Then a classmate informed him about the TSTC student food pantry.

“He came to the library where I was studying to offer me a granola bar,” Rodriguez remembers. “And he started telling me about the food pantry, where he got these granola bars. After that I decided to check it out.”TSTC Food Pantry Ruben Rodriguez

Rodriguez said that throughout his first semester most of his meals came from the pantry, which helped him get through his day.

“Without the food pantry, I don’t think I could have remained focused in class or on my studying,” Rodriguez admitted. “I’m so thankful that TSTC offers this type of service for its students. It makes all the difference.”

During one of his visits to the pantry, Rodriguez expressed his interest in working with TSTC Student Life and Engagement.

After getting hired as a student worker, things changed for him.

“TSTC helped me get through a difficult transition and helped me get on my feet,” said Rodriguez. “For that I am forever grateful.”

The food pantry is stocked and maintained by monetary and food donations made by TSTC faculty, staff, students and the community.

In an effort to keep it fully stocked, especially during times when food insecurity is at its highest among college students, TSTC created an employee giving campaign.

According to studies produced by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, an estimated 48% of college students are food insecure.

TSTC employees participating in the giving campaign can contribute to the Stephen & Susan Snyder Helping Hands Scholarship and to scholarship funds.

The TSTC food pantry and housing and emergency aid fall under the auspices of Helping Hands.

“Contributions made by TSTC employees that go to provide emergency aid give students immediate financial assistance when the need arises,” said TSTC Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations Jennifer Colten. “When hardships happen, we want to be there for our students, and we don’t want students like Ruben worrying about where their next meal will come from.”

Rodriguez said he is thankful for the help TSTC has given him.

“Thank you to those who have contributed and made a difference in our lives as students,” he said. “And because of it, it gave me a chance to help others as a student worker, and hopefully make their day and lives a bit better too.”