Category Archives: All TSTC

Student Success Profile – Lorrayne Gonzalez

(HARLINGEN) – Lorrayne GonzalezLorrayne Gonzalez from Mercedes is studying at Texas State Technical College to become a dental assistant. The 22-year-old expects to earn her certificate in Summer 2019 and said her passion for helping people was the deciding factor in pursuing a job in the medical field.

The single mom also finds time, in addition to studying, to be active on campus. She is an active member of the TSTC Service Squad and Leadership Academy.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I will begin working as a dental assistant to save up money to return to school and pursue either dental hygiene or vocational nursing.

What’s your dream job?

My ultimate dream is to receive a bachelor’s degree in nursing and be able to put my passion for helping people to good use and helping nurse others back to good health.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment at TSTC has been getting involved on campus and working closely with Student Life and Student Government Association. When I first enrolled at TSTC I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 2-years-old, so I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do something like this.

What greatest lesson you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is to always push yourself and go that extra mile even when you feel like giving up. Everything will always be worth it in the end. There were times I had to bring my daughter to school with me just so I could make it to class; so if I can do it, anyone can.

Who at TSTC has had the greatest influence on your success?

My English instructor Yvonne Browning and TSTC student life coordinator Belinda Palomino have had the greatest influence on my success. Browning was there for me while I was pregnant, always making sure I was feeling okay and not falling behind in class. She was so understanding. And Palomino is easy to talk to and has taught me that it’s better to give than to receive.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice for future TSTC students is to not be afraid. TSTC is the place to learn, study hard and remain focused on your goal. The people at the college really do become a second family.

TSTC Police Department swears in new officers

(HARLINGEN) – To protect and serve is what the newest Texas State Technical College police officers will do to keep the college community safe.

Officers Juan Munoz and David Sarabia were recently sworn in by Judge Eloy Cano Jr. during a ceremony hosted on campus to celebrate their new positions with their families, TSTC administration, faculty and staff.

“Hosting these ceremonies are an important part of welcoming officers into our family,” said TSTC Police Commissioner Aurelio Torres. “This is a way to introduce them to our community and also honor their families who sacrifice when they have a loved one in law enforcement.”

Torres said Sarabia and Munoz exemplify the qualities that TSTC looks for when hiring officers for the force.TSTC Police Department Swearing In

He added that on top of skills and experience officers must also possess TSTC’s core values of excellence, integrity, accountability and service.

“As law enforcement, we not only support our policing principles, but also support TSTC’s mission and goals,” said Torres. “We’re excited to have these men join our team. They will provide excellent service and we’re proud to have them on board.”

Munoz graduated from the TSTC Police Academy in 2017. During his time as a cadet, he fell in love with the campus and the community.

“Everyone is like family here,” he said. “When I applied I thought it was a long shot, but I figured I had to take the opportunity. And with God’s will, here I am.”

Munoz said he hopes to continue growing with the department and his goal is to not only protect the college community, but also maintain the department’s positive image.”

David Sarabia is also a graduate of the police academy on campus and said working with the college’s police department has by far exceeded his expectations.

“After I completed the academy I was pointed in the right direction toward TSTC,” said Sarabia. “I’m glad to be here and to have been given this opportunity. My goal is to serve and protect and be all-around helpful.”

After both men took their oath, they were presented their badges, which were pinned by their wives. They agree having their families present made the occasion much more special.

TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez addressed the new officers and prayed for God’s protection over their lives.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to all law enforcement personnel and agencies,” she said. “Thank you for taking an oath to lay your life on the line to protect and to serve. And I want to especially thank you for choosing TSTC as the community where you exercise that oath on a daily basis.”

TSTC prides itself on being a great place to work and offers competitive pay and full benefits package. To search or apply visit

Christmas Wishes

Belinda Munoz

Belinda Munoz, Career Services Associate – “I wish for happiness for everyone.”

Hilda Holland

Hilda Holland, Instructional Accreditation Senior Staff Assistant – “I wish for togetherness and peace for the world.”

Odelia Garcia

Odelia Garcia, Vocational Nursing Instructor – “I wish for a fully-loaded 2019 Chevy, Ford or Dodge truck.

Sara Sanchez

Sara Sanchez, Instructional Operations Manager – “My wish is that everyone be blessed with love of family and good health.”


Student Success Profile – Clarissa Marquez

(HARLINGEN) – Clarissa MarquezMcAllen native Clarissa Marquez is a Dental Hygiene Student at Texas State Technical College. The 31-year-old expects to graduate with an associate degree in Spring 2020. She currently boasts a 3.7 grade-point average.

When the single mom is not studying, she serves as the historian for the Student Chapter of the American Dental Hygiene Association at TSTC and assists with organizing fundraisers to raise money for dental hygiene board exams.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate my family and I will probably move to North Texas and explore my career options there. I know there are a lot opportunities in the area in my field.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to be an on-call dental hygienist for a zoo and clean the teeth of exotic animals such as primates.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment has been being accepted in the Dental Hygiene program. I didn’t get in on my first try, it took two applications and a whole year of waiting. It’s a competitive program, but I never gave up.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is that every decision I have made and later regretted, has brought me to where I am today. They say everything happens for a reason, and I truly believe that. What was meant to happen has led me to a great life with amazing family and soon-to-be career as a dental hygienist.

Who at TSTC has had the most influence on your success?

The people who have influenced my success the most are my classmates. They have become my support system and second family; 30 brains are better than one after all.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice for future TSTC students is to be confident, create goals and be with the people who bring the best out in you.


World of nursing welcomes TSTC graduates

(HARLINGEN) – After four semesters of blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice, Texas State Technical College Vocational Nursing students celebrated the completion of their program with a pinning ceremony held Saturday, Dec. 8.

All thirteen nursing students earned certificates in Vocational Nursing during TSTC’s commencement ceremony at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium on Dec. 14.

The pinning ceremony was described by TSTC Vocational Nursing program director Heather Sauceda as the rite of passage into the nursing profession.

TSTC Vocational Nursing Pinning Ceremony

“I am so proud of each and every one of my students,” Sauceda said tearfully. “They have worked so hard and put in countless hours to achieve everything they have. And they deserve to be celebrated.”

The pinning ceremony stems from a tradition that dates back to the 19th century, when Florence Nightingale, a trailblazing figure in the nursing profession and the founder of modern-day nursing, trained nurses to care for wounded soldiers.

The Dec. 8 ceremony included a capping ceremony, presentation of pins, candle-lighting ceremony that signified the light of knowledge, reciting of the Nightingale Pledge, and blessing of hands and benediction led by Pastor Danny Anderson of the Bridge-Rio Hondo Baptist Church.

“These graduates are confident, passionate, and I know they will be the best nurses they can be,” said Sauceda. “Today marks the beginning for them.”

TSTC Vocational Nursing Pinning CeremonyThe program’s valedictorian, Ivette Cruz, and salutatorian, Julie Villarreal, were also honored at the ceremony for their academic achievements.

“I never imagined I would be valedictorian,” said Cruz. “In fact, in the beginning I felt like quitting. I didn’t start strong and failed some exams, but here we are.  I’ve come a long way, and I have my entire family to thank for this.”

“This is God’s purpose for us, and today we’re fulfilling his purpose,” said Villarreal through tears of joy. “But our success doesn’t only belong to us, it also belongs to everyone who has supported us and guided us along the way.”

Villarreal also left her fellow graduates with some words of wisdom: “Never doubt your ability to make a difference in someone’s life.”

The ceremony also included addresses from TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez, Associate Provost Jean Lashbrook, and guest speaker and Director of Nursing Operations at South Texas Rehabilitation Hospital Gabriela Garza.

“You are now part of someone’s life journey and walking alongside people during their greatest time of need,” said Garza. “The key to being a great nurse is knowing yourself. So, always remember the hard work it has taken to get to where you are, and hold it close to your heart and always remember why nursing chose you.”

The nursing graduates join an alumni network of more than 100,000 TSTC graduates.

The Vocational Nursing pinning ceremony is held twice a year during the Summer and Fall semesters.

For more information on Vocational Nursing at TSTC or to apply, visit

TSTC Provides Qualified Wedlers for Local Jobs

(BROWNWOOD) — The need for skilled welders is growing, and local businesses hope to remind welders of job opportunities close to home.

The Texas State Technical College welding program in Brownwood produces qualified welders ready for industry, and local companies hope to attract those interested in staying in the area.

“I worked in the oil field, and it’s good work, but it can be hard on families,” said Stephen Hope, a TSTC in Brownwood welding instructor. “So these local fabrication shops are great for those who want stability, and there’s a chance to make a career and move up.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers nationwide are expected to grow to more than 427,000 through 2026. A majority of those jobs are expected to be in manufacturing.

One local business, Barr Fabrication, says it is interested in hiring area workers and supporting local businesses.

“It benefits the Brownwood community as a whole when we hire locally, and we’re very proud to be part of this community,” said Francie Clark, the public and employee relations representative for Barr Fabrication.  

For another company, Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, creating a positive work-life balance for its employees is something it takes pride in.

“If we can hire welders of Brown County, it means they can make competitive pay without sacrificing time away from family,” said Amber Ray, a human resources representative with the company.

TSTC partners with industry leaders to ensure that graduates find the right company to match their professional and personal goals.

“We’ve got a great program here that lets us work with students one-on-one and provide specific instruction,” Hope said. “That, and our conversations with people in the industry locally and elsewhere, really helps us to make sure these students get where they want to be.”

TSTC in Brownwood offers a three-semester structural welding certificate that includes classes in blueprint reading, fabrication, layout and technical calculations.

For more information on TSTC, log on to

TSTC Graduate Honors Instructor

(ABILENE) — Friendships can be one of the greatest things about a student’s time at college.  

Recent Texas State Technical College Emergency Medical Services graduate Ricki Coleman found a great friend in his EMS instructor, Ronnie Pitts. So Coleman took time to honor him at TSTC’s Fall 2018 commencement ceremony.

“Ronnie is the reason I’m graduating,” Coleman said. “He really listened to me and became a friend and a mentor, and I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Coleman is a member of the academic honor society Phi Theta Kappa, and as a thank-you he gifted Pitts with an honorary Phi Theta Kappa stole.

“I had no clue he was going to give me this, and I am so honored,” Pitts said. “We’re both about the same age and have gone through a lot of the same things, so I’m just glad I could offer some advice.”

Coleman served in the U.S Army from 1990 to 2004. After he left, he worked in several fire service and emergency medical service jobs.

“I’ve always had a calling to this field and just want to help people,” Coleman said.  

Despite years of experience in the industry, Coleman wanted to be an example for his children and get a degree.

“It’s showing that you can be committed and consistent in the business world, and I can’t tell my kids to do something if I can’t be the example,” Coleman said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, emergency medical technician and paramedic jobs are expected to grow by 15 percent over the next 10 years.

With the expected growth in jobs, TSTC in Abilene moved the EMS program to the new Industrial Technology Center that opened at the beginning of the fall semester.  

“The new building is beautiful, and I think it helps to teach these skills in a real-life setting,” Coleman said.

Wanting to follow in his mentor’s footsteps, Coleman hopes to become an instructor in TSTC’s EMS program.

“Ricki has always been an ideal student: respectful, professional and open to feedback,” Pitts said. “And I think anywhere would be very lucky to have him in their employment.”

Before the commencement ceremony, Coleman and Pitts shared a laugh and a hug as they celebrated his achievement.

“This was a bucket-list accomplishment, and there have been so many people — my kids, my wife and of course him (Pitts) — that helped to get me here,” Coleman said.

For more information about TSTC, log on to

TSTC and Goodwill-West Texas Partnership Helps Students Dress for Success

(SWEETWATER) — ’Tis the season for giving, and Goodwill-West Texas has partnered with Texas State Technical College in Abilene and Sweetwater to embrace the tradition.

In collaboration with TSTC Talent Management and Career Services, Goodwill has agreed to give graduating TSTC students vouchers for a free business professional outfit.

“Goodwill’s mission has always been to provide opportunities for people to overcome barriers,” Danielle Robertson, director of Communications and Development at Goodwill-West Texas, said. “We understand that going to an interview is stressful enough, and we want this to be one less stress.”

The initiative started when TSTC Talent Management and Career Services recognized that students may struggle financially to find business professional clothing that makes them feel confident while applying for jobs.

“TSTC provides the skills to make sure our students are qualified for the job, but we wanted to make sure they have the attire and the confidence to get the job when they interview,” Julia Humphrey, director of Talent Management and Career Services at TSTC in Abilene, said.

For students who need help preparing for interviews, creating resumes or finding a job, the Talent Management and Career Services department welcomes them to visit.

“This is just another feature we get to offer students to help them succeed,” Brittany Wilson, Career Services associate at TSTC in Sweetwater, said. “We want the best for these students.”

Goodwill encourages the community to donate gently worn professional clothes.

“We are happy to partner with TSTC because they align with our mission to help others overcome barriers,” Robertson said.

Goodwill has given over 80 vouchers for TSTC students at its campuses in Abilene and Sweetwater and plans to give more as needed.  

For more information about TSTC, log on to

National Auto Collision Repair Company Looks to TSTC for Employees

(WACO) – Blake Cole grew up reading automotive magazines and at 10 could eagerly recite facts about cars to anyone who would listen.

As he grew up and began working, Cole also developed interests in accounting, fashion merchandising and restaurants.

The 2003 Midway High School alumnus said his life became focused when he enrolled at Texas State Technical College and began taking classes in the Auto Collision and Management Technology program. He received an associate degree in 2008.

“Once I went to TSTC, everything stuck,” he said.

After graduation, he worked at L3 ISR Systems in Waco painting airplanes and later moved to Missouri to work in the auto collision field.

“Just knowing I had learned something and could use it was helpful and a good feeling,” said Cole, now 34.

Cole’s being hired at Service King brought him back to Texas. He is currently the general manager at the Leander location.

“Coffee keeps me motivated,” Cole said. “But it’s always different. I’m never going to come into the same thing every day.”

Cole said he has seen an employment gap develop between workers in their 20s and those in their 40s and older who have been in the auto collision industry for several years. As these workers age and retire, new employees are needed to fill positions.

Clint Campbell, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Auto Collision and Management Technology, said there are goals for increasing the number of students studying in the program.

“We need to be getting our faces in front of these high school students, probably sophomores and up,” Campbell said.

The number of automotive body and glass repairers is expected to grow to about 195,000 jobs nationally by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cole said the auto collision industry also needs people with electrical, welding and computer programming and networking experience.

New hires at Service King are placed with experienced technicians in the company’s yearlong apprenticeship program at select locations. Cole said company recruiters can build relationships with technical colleges to find potential employees.

James McGee, 35, of Austin was hired by Service King in February and placed in its apprenticeship program. He received an associate degree from TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program in 2010.

“Get in as early as possible if that’s what you want to do,” McGee said about making a career choice. “Shadow as many people as you want.”

McGee already had some industry knowledge, having worked at small body shops,but said he was glad to learn about pulling techniques and heavy collision work through Service King’s new hire initiative.

“Our job is mainly to problem-solve,” McGee said. “I like the people, and I like to fix things. I like the sense of accomplishment when it’s done. The field will drive you crazy at times and make you head-over-heels excited at other times.”

Cole said employees complete work certifications through the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, or I-CAR, which provides training in all branches of the auto collision and management industry.

Vincent James, 25, of Leander is a Service King technician who works primarily on tearing vehicles down early in the repair process. He is a 2015 graduate of TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program.

“I like cars, and I like art. So I thought about auto collision as the melding of the two,” James said. “I was extremely hooked on it. There is something about body work that drew me into it.”

James said he likes the hands-on work and making customers’ vehicles look good.

Robert Castaneda, 29, of Jarrell graduated with an associate degree in 2012 from TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program.

He said wrecks caused by bad weather tend to mean that he and his co-workers stay busy. He said the rise in aluminum exteriors will mean more training and adaptation for workers in the future.

“I’m doing it until my body won’t let me do it anymore,” Castaneda said about his work. “Always listen and pay attention. There is more than one way to do things.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Student Success Profile – Jovany Hensley

Jovany Hensley(HARLINGEN) – Jovany Hensley graduated Friday night with a certificate in Computer Maintenance Technology from Texas State Technical College. The 20-year-old said computers and technology in general have intrigued him since high school, which shows in his 3.4 grade-point average.

When the La Feria native was not busy studying or completing projects, he served as historian for the Computer Maintenance Technology Club, where he would also participate in community service events and repair computers for TSTC faculty, staff and students for free.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I plan on enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and using my computer maintenance skills to be a technician for the military. I also hope to continue my education to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to someday work for a large company like Microsoft or Dell, or even a network provider like AT&T.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment has been maintaining my grades and being able to put my training and knowledge to use on fixing computers not only in labs, but also to help out our TSTC family.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned about myself is that I would rather work in teams than alone. I’m a team player and really extroverted, so it’s hard for me to work alone. I think this stems from playing sports when I was younger.

Who at TSTC has had a great influence on your success?

My computer maintenance instructor, Elizabeth Martinez, has had a huge influence on my success. She pushed me to be active on campus and always inspired me to keep going when times get tough. In fact, TSTC in general has made a difference in my life and has influenced me to explore and be successful in different areas of my field and leadership.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

Advice for future TSTC students is to keep trying even when you fail; don’t make excuses. Learn to adapt to your situations and overcome challenges. Don’t give up.