Category Archives: Abilene

TSTC student challenges the traditional notion of welding

(ABILENE, Texas) – Andrea Green admitted she wanted to do something different in her life.

Researching college opportunities, Green, a native of Abilene, learned about Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program. Without any welding experience, Green enrolled in the program and is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“I wanted to do something different and something big,” she said. “I am good at hands-on work and have watched welders do what they do. I said to myself, ‘I can do this.’”

Green knew the welding field was dominated by men, but that did not deter her.

“I knew welding was mainly a field for men, but I have done things a lot of women normally do not do,” she said. “So I went for it, and I have enjoyed it.”

Green is entering her second semester in the program and has a goal in sight.

“Looking at the big picture, it would be cool to tell people I help build skyscrapers or build space rockets,” she said.

She admitted some of her classmates were impressed that she was working on the process of gas tungsten arc welding.

“After a few weeks of work, I liked what I was doing and the way it looks,” she said.

Green said her classmates were “shocked” but welcoming when they saw her the first time.

“Throughout the semester they saw my progress, and we learned to help each other,” she said.

The instructors are also key to helping Green and other students.

“Everyone has a different technique. It is good to see techniques from more than your point of view,” she said. “The instructors show us something, and I tell myself that I can try that. I try it, and it gives me the outcome I like.”

She also said instructors are approachable when it comes to helping students.

“You do not have to be intimidated to ask for help. The instructors are always willing to help,” she said.

Green said she hopes more women will look at a career in welding. She has seen a trend in which women are working in male-dominated fields and hopes welding is added to the list.

“Slowly but surely, women are working their way into male-dominated fields,” she said. “Just because men dominate a field doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You just have to try.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC alumnus designs equipment for West Texas oil field companies

(ABILENE, Texas) – Sheryl Givens turned a lifelong passion into a career.

Since graduating from Texas State Technical College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology in 2018, Givens has worked as a designer for SCS Technologies in Big Spring.

“I have always been interested in construction,” Given said. “Growing up, I liked drawing things on a day-by-day basis.”

At SCS Technologies, Givens designs equipment for West Texas oil field companies. The company specializes in programmable logic controller-based systems, control panel fabrication, and custody transfer liquid measurements.

Givens said being part of the TSTC program prepared her for this career.

“Throughout the years, I have admired all the strong work ethic and personal integrity of the field,” she said. “I appreciated all the help from TSTC, which led me to become a motivated and driven professional with a high level of leadership and initiative, as well as excellent analytical, organizational, and problem-solving skills.”

She said TSTC instructors prepared her for a career as a designer.

“They helped me find challenging career opportunities where knowledge, skills, and experience can be effectively utilized with organizations offering opportunities for professional growth and advancement,” Givens said.

The drafting and design program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, and Waco campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC Business Management Technology instructor brings experience into the classroom

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – You might say that Texas State Technical College Business Management Technology instructor Duston Brooks brings some practical experience of a bovine nature into the classroom.

Prior to becoming an instructor at TSTC, Brooks worked on the financial side of his family’s dairy farm. He now brings that knowledge to his students as they work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or certificate in Business Management Technology.

“I learned the financial side of things and how to use the software,” said Brooks, who has taught at TSTC since 2000.

When Brooks first started teaching, TSTC offered a degree in Computer Information Technology. It is now the five-semester Business Management Technology degree program.

Students learn three areas of business management. Brooks said the first part of the program focuses on accounting, followed by management and then software.

“Anybody who works at a computer desk at any business will benefit from this program,” he said.

Students learn a variety of skills, including word processing, presentation graphics, accounting, and business ethics, principles of accounting and management, small business operations, and payroll accounting.

“You will benefit from a well-rounded education,” Brooks said, adding that some graduates continue their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

In addition to on-campus classes, TSTC’s Business Management Technology program is available online, which helps some students, Brooks said.

“We know that people are working and have kids. This gives them the feasibility to complete the program online and at their own pace,” he said.

Brooks said one student completed the course while being employed as a full-time truck driver.

“He could not attend a class on campus, so he took his laptop with him,” he said. “Whenever he had time off the road, he would work on his online classes.”

During his tenure at TSTC, Brooks has seen students of all ages complete the program.

“We have had students just out of high school to adults in their 50s and 60s. Some people want to come back and relearn skills or even learn brand-new skills in order to update their resume,” he said.

Completing the program, according to Brooks, allows graduates to interview for office management positions. He said through hard work, some graduates have worked their way up to higher positions.

Brooks has also had students who wanted to start their own business.

“There are people from our program working in small towns and bigger cities,” he said. “Students who want to move up from a physically challenging job can take our program to get them in a better office or management position.”

Business Management Technology is available at the Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Harlingen, and Marshall campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC instructor says Chemical Dependency Counseling offers students more than a degree

(ABILENE, Texas) – Graduates of Texas State Technical College’s Chemical Dependency Counseling program learn more about themselves, according to Patty Bundick, the program’s department chair.

Bundick said the need for licensed counselors is always high and students range in age from high school graduates to older students.

“Some of our students are hungry to know more about themselves,” Bundick said. “The one thing I always think about, even if the student does not go to work in the field, is that the program has made a difference in their life.”

Bundick’s philosophy is only natural.

“I am a counselor at heart. I see students come in and know that what I teach them will help not only them, but it will help someone else,” she said.

The five-semester Associate of Applied Science degree program covers several topics, including working with families and family intervention.

“You will learn all aspects of treatment,” Bundick said.

Students also discuss current issues during class. Bundick said topics have ranged from Child Protective Services to HIV and other diseases.

The program also allows Bundick to teach students how the body processes a drug and the behaviors it might cause.

Today, she said more high school graduates are showing an interest in the program.

She said some students recovered from their addiction and want to help others do the same.

Graduates have found employment at different facilities in West Texas, including the Abilene Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Homeward Bound, Serenity House, the Taylor County Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

Bundick said she hopes the program continues to grow when it is available online only starting in the fall of 2021. TSTC offers the program in Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood. 

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC graduate has lifelong interest in computers

(ABILENE, Texas) – Harold Mason Jr. has always been interested in computers.

That interest led him to Texas State Technical College, where he received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration this spring.

“I have been into computers since I was 11 years old. That was the time when you Googled things a lot,” said Mason, a native of Abilene.

His father gave him his first computer, and Mason said it needed a CD-ROM.

“I saved my allowance, went to the store, and went home and installed it myself. I was able to do it all on my own, and I fell in love with computers,” he said. “Ever since then, I knew I was going to be able to do things with computers.”

After graduating from Abilene’s Cooper High School in 2001, Mason had planned to attend TSTC to focus on computers.

“I had a lot of issues and ended up not going. But I always told myself I would go back,” he said.

He enrolled several years later, and he said the curriculum was challenging.

“You had to know the basics of computers. I knew a lot about computers, and the instructors were always willing to help,” Mason said.

The help was appreciated, he said.

“They changed me as a person. I feel that now I can help people grow,” he said.

Mason said he worked hard at TSTC and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the largest honor society in American higher education.

“I would recommend people look at TSTC. It offers so much,” Mason said. “The instructors will work with you.”

Mason said instructor involvement was one of the reasons he appreciates TSTC.

“You can talk to the instructors at any time. They are going to make time for you,” he said. “If you have any issues, they will gladly work with you.”

Mason said he is looking for a job, knowing his degree will be the first step in the door.

“I have a lot of calls out there and have been weighing my options. I know I will find my career in computers,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

Computer networkers keep people connected

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – With more people working from home, the internet has been busy.

Renee Blackshear, a Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor at Texas State Technical College, said computer networkers have been the “unseen essential workers” during the past few months.

“Computer networkers have been able to keep people in communication with each other,” she said.

The TSTC program was spotlighted this month during a virtual visit on Facebook. Blackshear focused the visit on what students will learn over the program’s five semesters. She said her goal was to turn the people watching the virtual visit into students.

“A lot of people may be looking for a different career. I want them to know this is a cool program,” she said.

Blackshear said graduates have found employment with health care systems, school districts, banks, institutions of higher education and telecommunication companies.

“Anywhere there is a computer, there is a need for a computer networking technician,” she said.

Students will learn routing, switching, server development, security and virtualization.

“All of these are important for a successful career in information technology,” Blackshear said.

While the program is available online, students do have lab sessions to complete.

“The best way of learning is by doing,” Blackshear said.

Students who are patient and pay attention to detail will find success, Blackshear said. However, networkers will find the job challenging.

“Within IT, our daily task list changes like the Texas weather: rapidly. This means one minute you could be sitting at your computer answering technical support questions or building a web server, and the next you could be on a ladder running cable across the ceiling for a network drop or setting up a wireless bridge to communicate for remote learning,” she said.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration at the Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

Industrial Systems program offers a diversity of classes for TSTC students

(ABILENE, Texas) – The Industrial Systems program at Texas State Technical College’s Industrial Technology Center in Abilene offers a diverse curriculum for students.

Instructor Daniel Diaz said students learn different aspects of industrial systems, from hydraulics and electronics to welding and small engine repair.

“We have had students get jobs with the wind industry, prisons and hospitals,” Diaz said. “We teach a lot of different facets, and that helps students in the job market. No matter what the market is doing, we will train students with the skills they need to go where they want to.”

During the three-semester program for the Industrial Systems Mechanic certificate, students perform industry-standard safety procedures, learn mechanical and electrical skills, perfect diagnostic techniques, and read and interpret schematics. In addition, students work with motors, pumps, chillers, boilers and programmable logic controllers.

Current students returned to the Abilene facility this month to complete required lab sessions. Diaz said students are practicing social distancing and have adapted to new safety guidelines, including facial coverings.

“This has taught students to adapt to what has been given to them,” Diaz said. “At any job, you are going to have to adapt and change some things on the fly. This is a good way for students to learn that.”

Diaz said the new safety guidelines have helped him as an instructor.

“It is a good teachable moment. We have to show the students how to be able to adapt to something new,” he said.

Diaz said classes include online lectures, but the most important portion of the course takes place in lab sessions.

“All of the skills students learn come in the form of the labs,” he said. “That is where the bulk of the learning is done.”

TSTC also offers Industrial Systems programs at the East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC awarded Community Foundation of Abilene grant

(ABILENE, Texas) – For the third time since 2016, Texas State Technical College was awarded a Community Foundation of Abilene grant.

TSTC was awarded $7,500 which will be used for scholarships during the Fall 2020 semester. The college previously received grants in 2016 and 2018.

The scholarships are available for new students attending TSTC in Abilene, said Delton McGuire, TSTC’s West Texas Senior Field Development Officer.

“The TSTC Foundation is very thankful for the generosity of the Community Foundation of Abilene. Their gift will help new students at the school and relieve some of the financial burden,” McGuire said.

Financial aid advisors will award the scholarships in accordance with the policies and practices of TSTC, McGuire said. Full-time students may receive as much as $1,000 in scholarship funds.

“This money will provide opportunities for adults and students to attend school and help our local job market,” said Michelle Parrish, grant director at the Community Foundation of Abilene.

Grant funds to TSTC and other nonprofit groups is only part of the foundation’s mission. Parrish said donations are made throughout the year and used to fund projects.

Since 1985, the Community Foundation of Abilene has awarded more than $100 million in grants.

“We first opened through a gift and have definitely grown since that time,” Parrish said. “We have been able to double our grant donations over the past 10 years thanks to the community’s support.”

For more information on scholarships available at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/financialaid/scholarships.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC alumnus finds job stability in medical records field

(ABILENE, Texas) – Like most people, Sarah Johnson was looking for job stability.

After graduating from Texas State Technical College in November 2019 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology, she found that stability. Johnson credits TSTC for helping her find a job as a medical coder at Hendrick Health System.

“At one point, it was difficult for me to find work,” she said. “Once I started in the medical field, I loved it and would make it a career.”

After being employed in customer service for 20 years, Johnson worked in the outpatient unit at Brownwood Regional Medical Center. She decided to complete TSTC’s Health Information Technology program to further her career. It was a decision she has not regretted.

Since February, Johnson has worked as a coder at Hendrick Medical Center. Coders are health information professionals who analyze medical records and assign codes using a classification system. 

“If I would have known about the HIT program first, I would have done it,” she said. “I am glad I was able to graduate and get a job I love.”

Johnson said the instructors were instrumental in helping her during school and finding a job.

“I was overwhelmed with work and school. My instructors were always supportive,” she said. “They would always tell me and other students, ‘You can do this.’ They really took an interest in how we were doing and wanted us to succeed.”

Sarah Brooks, TSTC’s Health Information Technology program chair, said Johnson “defined what makes a student successful in the online learning environment.”

“She was self-motivated and self-disciplined,” Brooks said. “Sarah was open-minded in sharing her work, life and educational experiences with others through the learning process.”

Johnson, who codes emergency room records at Hendrick, said no two days are the same and credits TSTC’s instructors for preparing her for the daily challenge.

“I see a variety of charts,” she said. “My main focus is to make sure the information is coded correctly.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC alumnus puts skills to use as oil, gas field inspector

(ABILENE, Texas) – Devan Moore puts the skills he learned at Texas State Technical College to use on a daily basis.

After serving seven years in the U.S. Army, Moore attended TSTC and received Associate of Applied Science degrees in Wind Energy Technology in 2018 and Industrial Systems in 2019. Today, he is an oil and gas field inspector for the Railroad Commission of Texas.

“Not one day goes by that I do not implement some piece of knowledge that I learned at TSTC,” he said. “With the Railroad Commission, it is my responsibility to ensure that the oil and gas industry stays in compliance with rules and regulations.”

Moore, a native of The Colony, is in charge of inspections in Erath, Hood, Palo Pinto and Parker counties.

“I absolutely love what I do. I do not see this as a job; I see this as a new beginning,” Moore said.

Moore served as a field artillery cannoneer in the U.S. Army, and he said that experience gave him an advantage, both at TSTC and the Railroad Commission.

“I had zero oil-field experience,” he said. “Between my military training and my education at TSTC, I am excited about my career.”

He said his instructors and fellow students at TSTC did something for him in addition to academics.

“When I first started at TSTC, I was a little older than most of the students. But I was seasoned. At the same time, I wanted a clean slate,” Moore said. “In life, you can get into one of those slumps. I started to refine my skills, and my morale was higher. The biggest thing TSTC did for me was getting me out of my slump.”

He wants other veterans to know about the opportunities available at TSTC, especially since he was part of the first Industrial Systems graduating class in Abilene.

“I am an active member of the Abilene area’s veteran community. I want our veterans to know that TSTC can offer a career path,” Moore said. “I know that other veterans may feel the same way after leaving the service. They need to know that TSTC will help them get out of that slump and be there for them.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.