Category Archives: Breckenridge

TSTC Students to Pursue New Program

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will offer Occupational Safety Compliance (OSC) Technology at its Breckenridge campus starting this fall, and two current TSTC students can hardly wait to take advantage of it. 

 Ivan Chavez and Brittoni Thornhill are both students in the Environmental Technology program and are expected to graduate in spring 2020 with their Associate of Applied Science degrees. When they found out that TSTC will offer the OSC program in Breckenridge, they chose to stay an extra semester to earn the second degree.

“It just fit really well with what we learned in the Environmental Technology program, but it goes even further and opens up even more job opportunities,” Chaves said. “I’m excited to learn CPR and go more into emergency-response safety.”

The Environmental Technology program has courses similar to what they will study in the new OSC program. This crossover allows the students to add on only one extra semester of college but graduate with two degrees. 

“I was always fascinated with science and knew I wanted to pursue something in that field. TSTC allowed me to explore the various job opportunities in the field and learn the skills that will make me competitive as I look for jobs or continue my education,” Thornhill said. 

The program will educate students about Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations within the workplace to keep employees from harm.

“The demand for workers with a safety degree is rising. Employers need safety personnel to manage the workplace so no one gets hurt,” TSTC Environmental Health and Safety instructor Teresa Purcell said. 

Purcell encourages anyone who wants to ensure safer work environments to apply.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

Pictured left to right, Ivan Chavez and Brittoni Thornhill are students enrolled in the Occupational Safety Compliance program.

TSTC Associate Provost Recognized With Service Award

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Breckenridge native Debbie Karl was recently recognized for her exceptional service to Texas State Technical College with the Avery Staff Award of Excellence during TSTC’s Employee Appreciation Day. 

The Avery Award was established in 2000 by Johnnie Lou Avery Boyd to celebrate TSTC staff employees who go above and beyond to serve the mission of the college. Only one winner is selected from all four TSTC campuses in West Texas. 

“Debbie is a great asset to TSTC and a wonderful ambassador for the college and the Breckenridge campus. She is always willing to do the hard tasks that others may shy away from — with that ever-presentt smile on her face,” TSTC Provost Rick Denbow said. 

Karl said hearing her name called was shocking at first, but it was also very validating. 

“I was not expecting it. I was very humbled and honored because I worked with Mrs. Avery (Boyd) when she was at TSTC, and she was the epitome of good customer service, internally and externally, and hard work. So, to win an award in her honor was very humbling,” Karl said. 

With over 26 years of service, Karl has held various roles in the college. She started her career at the Abilene campus working in Continuing Education. Later she became an instructor of Business Management Technology and Computer Networking Systems Technology, then was named associate vice provost of Student Learning. 

Karl moved back to her hometown three years ago, assuming the role of associate provost of TSTC’s Breckenridge campus and executive director of Institutional Accreditation. 

“I believe in what we do for our students. We change lives. I believe it so much that I put my son through the diesel program,” Karl said.

Karl’s son, Zach, was in attendance when she was presented with her award.

“My son is in the military; so having him there to celebrate with me just made it even more special,” she said. 

To win the Avery Award, employees must be nominated by their co-workers with supporting letters of recommendation. The winner is selected by an independent third party. 

Cassie Love, an enrollment coach at TSTC, said her recommendation letter was just one of many supporting Karl. 

“We are so blessed to have Debbie here. She is so deserving of this award because she just puts her heart and soul into this place and is always so welcoming,” Love said. 

With over 26 years of memories at TSTC, Karl said it is hard to pin down a favorite. But if she had to choose, it would be the time spent getting to know her co-workers. 

“We all eat lunch together in one of the classrooms every day, and it’s just a great way for me to get to know my co-workers and their families,” she said. 

 For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

Debbie Karl received the Avery Staff Award of Excellence for her exceptional service to Texas State Technical College.

 

TSTC Student to Compete for Third Time at SkillsUSA Nationals

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – The saying goes that all good things come in threes, and Texas State Technical College nursing student Kacee Merrifield hopes that saying will ring true for her.

Merrifield will represent Texas and TSTC for the third time at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in late June.

A Mineral Wells native, Merrifield is enrolled in the LVN to RN Transition program and working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree. Previously she had earned a Vocational Nursing certificate from TSTC.

During her time at TSTC, Merrifield has competed at SkillsUSA three years in a row, winning state all three times and placing nationally twice.

“It’s a very validating feeling when you get to test your skills against others in your industry. But it’s so much more than just winning a medal,” Merrifield said.

SkillsUSA is a national partnership between students, teachers and industries working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce.

In 2017 Merrifield placed first in state for Health Knowledge Bowl, continuing on to win fourth place at nationals. In 2018 she won first place in state for Nurse Assisting and sixth at nationals. She competed in Practical Nursing this year and won first place.

“I really love SkillsUSA and what it does for me and for others. A big part of being a nurse is people skills, and at SkillsUSA you meet so many people and work with so many different personalities (that) you really get to practice that skill on top of all your other skills,” Merrifield said.

During the Practical Nursing competition, Merrifield will take both a written test and a hands-on test. She will work with a volunteer and perform various tasks.

“We practice everything from medications to vital signs to wound care and even what we would delegate to someone else; it’s a real-world environment,” she said.

With such an impressive record, it is no surprise that her instructors are proud of her.

Marchelle Taylor is TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program director in West Texas and the West Texas SkillsUSA coordinator.

“Kacee has been a huge success story in the TSTC nursing program,” Taylor said. “She has worked full time, attended classes and helped other contestants prepare for Skills competitions.  It is students with her dedication and work ethic that make teaching at TSTC such an honor.”

Merrifield says the best part of going to SkillsUSA nationals again is the chance to meet more people.

“My favorite thing has to be talking with other nursing students, learning what is different in each state and getting to learn more about this career field. SkillsUSA is really amazing. I really encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go,” Merrifield said.

She is expected to graduate in summer 2019.

For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.

TSTC Student to Compete for Third Time at SkillsUSA Nationals

Kacee Merrifield, pictured above, is a three-time state champion in various nursing competitions for SkillsUSA. This year she will compete in Practical Nursing at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in late June. 
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Occupational Safety Compliance Technology Coming to TSTC in Breckenridge

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will offer a new program of study starting this fall: Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.
Students who successfully complete the five-semester program will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. Registration for the fall semester is underway.
“We brought the OSC course to Breckenridge because many of our Environmental Technology students were getting jobs in the occupational health and safety fields as health safety officers,” TSTC associate provost Debbie Karl said.
“Safety officers are needed in all types of industries, from oil field to wind to manufacturing. Just about any large company will need a safety officer if they need to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations,” she said.
The program will educate students about OSHA regulations within the workplace to keep employees from harm.
“The demand for workers with a safety degree is rising. Employers need safety personnel to manage the workplace so no one gets hurt,” TSTC Environmental Health and Safety instructor Teresa Purcell said.
“I’m excited we have this program here. It is a great opportunity for anyone to learn how to become a successful leader in the workplace, to put safety first,” Purcell said. “Not only will they know the regulations, but the graduate will be able to teach fellow workers how to safely do their job.”
During the first two semesters, students will be in class only two days a week for an average of six hours. For the last three semesters, students will be in class three to four days a week.
Purcell encourages anyone who wants to ensure safer work environments to apply.
For more information, go to www.tstc.edu.
Occupational Safety Compliance Technology Coming to TSTC in Breckenridge
Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will offer a new program of study starting this fall: Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.
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TSTC Student Reaches New Heights While Restoring the Past

(ABILENE, Texas) – As the aviation industry looks toward the future, one Texas State Technical College student is helping to preserve its history.

Trenton Calsoncin, an aviation maintenance student, is earning Associate of Applied Science degrees in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology while working with an area company to restore old warplanes.

“It’s my passion. As a kid, I always liked airplanes. So when I got tired of working on cars as a mechanic in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I decided it was time for a change,” Calsoncin said.

Since starting at TSTC in fall 2017, Calsoncin has worked with Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge.

“I’m from Breckenridge, and I’ve known the (Ezell) family for years, so I would go out there in my free time and follow the owner, asking him questions. A couple days after I started school at TSTC, he called me up and offered me a job,” Calsoncin said.

Ezell Aviation restores vintage military airplanes and has completed 34 restorations in its 33 years while also performing inspections, maintenance, and major and minor repairs on many others.

“He’s a good kid, hard worker and has lots of ambition,” Heather Ezell, office manager at Ezell Aviation, said. “Nelson (the company’s founder) encouraged him and is very proud of him.”

Calsoncin said one of his favorite parts of the job is how unique the work is and that it usually coordinates with what he is learning in class.

“This program at TSTC is good, it really is. Somehow it’s been working out that I’ll learn something in class and it ends up being something I use at work almost right away,” he said.

TSTC aviation maintenance lead instructor Josh Parker says Calsoncin’s job helps highlight various career opportunities within the aviation industry for the other students.

“Trenton has been a great student and has always been willing to help his fellow students by sharing the skills that he has brought from working in the aircraft restoration business,” Parker said.

As he completes his degrees, Calsoncin will continue to work at Ezell Aviation.

“I plan on staying there after graduation for as long as they’ll have me. It’s kind of like a dream job for me,” Calsoncin said.

Calsoncin is expected to graduate in summer 2019.

For more information about TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Reaches New Heights While Restoring the Past

Trenton Calsoncin is earning Associate of Applied Science degrees in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology while working with Ezell Aviation to restore old warplanes.

 

 

 

Breckenridge Native Named New TSTC Welding Instructor

(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – A familiar face will be helping to educate the next generation of welders at Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge this fall.
Stephen Hope, a Breckenridge native, is ready to serve his community as a welding instructor for the TSTC Welding Technology program.
“This is my way of giving back. I am all about supporting small towns, and my career as a welder took me all over the U.S. I was given the opportunity to learn a skilled trade, and now I hope to pass those opportunities on to others,” Hope said.
Hope graduated from Breckenridge High School in 2006 before attending Tulsa Welding School.  After graduating with a certificate, he worked for various companies such as Pal-Con and Lauren Engineers & Constructors.
“I’ve been all over the place either contract welding or shop welding — or even running my own business. It just shows how diverse the career field is,” he said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas leads the nation in employment of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers. With such high demand, TSTC associate provost Debbie Karl is excited to have such an experienced welder for the program.
“He is a great guy with a great passion and talent for teaching others,” Karl said. “We had students who met him when they toured the facility and said they wanted to come to TSTC because he was going to be their teacher.”
TSTC’s certificate program in Structural Welding, which is offered in Breckenridge and elsewhere throughout the state, takes about 12 months to complete and teaches students shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and more.
Additionally, an associate of applied science degree in Welding Technology is available at other TSTC locations, including Abilene.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for the students and to teach here,” Hope said.
Enrollment and registration is now open for the fall semester.
For more information, go to www.tstc.edu.
Breckenridge Native Named New TSTC Welding Instructor
Stephen Hope, a Breckenridge native, is the new welding instructor for TSTC in Breckenridge.  

TSTC Holds Spring 2019 Commencement

(ABILENE, Texas) – More than 100 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement held Friday, April 26, at the Abilene Convention Center. Graduates from TSTC’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater were recognized.

For Mary Madden, an instructor in Electromechanical Technology at TSTC in Sweetwater, this was what she looks forward to each semester.

“It’s a time for the students to celebrate their accomplishments and the families to see what they have worked so hard for,” Madden said. “They’re starting a new life, a new career, and it’s exciting.”

One of Madden’s students who also was a teaching assistant, Gary Miller from Sweetwater, walked the stage on Friday.

“I’m proud of him because he not only succeeded in the program, but he helped motivate others to succeed as well,” Madden said.

Miller, an Army veteran, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electromechanical Technology. He graduated with highest honors, was awarded the Outstanding Student Award, and has already accepted a job with M&S Engineering.

“I worked in construction before coming to TSTC, and this was a way to move up in life,” he said. “It’s never too late to come back. Just don’t give up, and keep pushing through.”

Several other students could be found thanking their instructors and excitedly talking about having accepted job offers.

Shawn Baldauf, from Abilene, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration and has already started working for Batts Communications Inc. After serving in the military, Baldauf decided to come to TSTC for the flexibility and hands-on learning.

“I really love computers. I think they are awesome, so I’m very happy to have a career in something I love,” Baldauf said.

Baldauf is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a recipient of TSTC’s Program Excellence Award.

During the ceremony, Mike Reeser, TSTC’s chancellor and CEO, encouraged the graduates never to stop learning and always to have integrity.

“Technology is constantly changing, so keep learning. But honesty and integrity are two things that have not changed, so remain constant in those,” Reeser said.

Chemical Dependency Counseling graduate Roderick Mayfield, from Breckenridge, felt those two ideals were extremely important to remember in his chosen career path. Mayfield earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in CDC so he can help others overcome substance abuse.

“I want to make a change in someone else’s life that was not made for me. I know addiction firsthand and am in my third year of recovery,” he said. “Instead of saying how you want the world to change, why not take those steps to make a change?”

Mayfield also was awarded a TSTC Program Excellence Award.

Many of Friday’s graduates had family members and loved ones in the audience, but one graduate even had his boss present.

Victor Taylor, of Brownwood, earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services with a specialization in Paramedic Services. Taylor is working for Lifeguard Ambulance Service in Brown County, and his boss was there to cheer him on.

“I think TSTC is one of the best schools out there in this field because of the high standard they hold themselves to,” Taylor said. “I’m working already, if that says anything.”  

Taylor also was a recipient of a Program Excellence Award.

Earlier in the day, the Nursing programs held pinning ceremonies for graduates in Abilene and Sweetwater. Best friends Amanda Griswold and Sherri Whitefield celebrated earning their associate degrees in Nursing with “Finding Nemo”-themed graduation caps.

“She’s my exit buddy, so we’re finishing together,” Griswold said.

The students who graduated Friday join an alumni network of 100,000 strong across Texas.

For more information, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Holds Spring 2019 Commencement

More than a 100 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement. 

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More Than 50 Companies Represented at TSTC Industry Job Fair

(SWEETWATER) – More than 180 Texas State Technical College students and alumni attended the TSTC Industry Job Fair in Sweetwater on Tuesday, April 2. They had the opportunity to meet representatives from some 50 local, national and international companies.

TSTC provided free transportation to the Sweetwater campus for students coming from the Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood campuses. Students talked with representatives from companies looking to fill positions in various fields such as diesel, electrical power and controls, industrial maintenance, nursing, welding, and wind energy.

It was the first time some companies had visited the West Texas campus.

“I was surprised that TSTC had an RN program out here, and now that I know, we fully intend to take advantage of having this local resource,” Tara Camp, community marketing liaison for Cogdell Memorial Hospital, said.

For others, this was an event marked on their calendar every year.

“I go to as many of the job fairs that TSTC does as possible because of the type of training the students get and just the type of personality these students have. Their hands-on experience shows, and they have the willingness to keep learning on the job,” Bret A. Martinets, Human Resources manager at M&S Engineering, said.

The event was a homecoming for TSTC diesel program alumnus Josh McBride of Bruckner’s Truck Sales Inc.

“I hope these students just keep their eyes open and learn from every opportunity because it pays off,” McBride said.

Representatives from Oncor Electric Delivery spoke with students from TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Maintenance, and Wind Energy programs and offered on-site interviews.

“We’ve got 10 positions we need to fill in Odessa alone, so there is a huge need across the state,” Brad Villa, M&C supervisor at Oncor, said.

TSTC in Abilene Electrical Power and Controls student Anthony Neighbors said he was impressed with the company turnout and hopes to find a job that allows him to travel.

“I’m a single dad, so I want something that provides for my son but that also lets me enjoy new places,” Neighbors said.

Neighbors spoke with representatives from Koenig & Bauer and said he felt like he had found the place for him.

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

More Than 50 Companies Represented at TSTC Industry Job Fair

More than 180 students and alumni attended the TSTC Industry Job Fair at TSTC in Sweetwater. More than 50 companies were represented. 

TSTC Nursing Student Prepares for Three-peat at SkillsUSA

(SWEETWATER) – Winning is so nice, she did it twice. Now Kacee Merrifield wants it again, and so does one of her classmates.

Merrifield is a nursing student enrolled in the associate degree program at Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater. She has competed at SkillsUSA two years in a row, winning state both times and placing nationally.

“It’s a very validating feeling when you get to test your skills against others in your industry, but it’s so much more than just winning a medal,” Merrifield said.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. In 2017 Merrifield placed first in state for Health Knowledge Bowl, continuing on to win fourth at nationals. In 2018 she won first in state for Nurse Assisting and sixth at nationals. She will compete in Practical Nursing this year.

“I love that SkillsUSA offers a platform to meet other professionals. You meet so many people and make friends and get to travel. I really enjoyed what Skills has done for me,” Merrifield said.

Hoping to win his second first-place title is fellow nursing student Corbin Calsoncin. Calsoncin and Merrifield both graduated from TSTC in Breckenridge with a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing in 2018. Calsoncin is also currently enrolled in the nursing program at TSTC in Sweetwater.

“I was nervous my first couple times I competed, but I feel better now and am more prepared,” Calsoncin said.

Calsoncin placed second at state in Medical Math in 2017, but placed first in Math in 2018 and went on to place ninth at nationals. Calsoncin will compete in Medical Math again this year.

Not only do Merrifield and Calsoncin compete in SkillsUSA at the collegiate level, but they also judge the high school level.

“Judging is a chance for them to give back and share their experiences with others,” Marchelle Taylor, TSTC nursing instructor and West Texas SkillsUSA coordinator, said. “Skills allows them to interact with other students and industry around the state and nation.”

Merrifield and Calsoncin will compete at the SkillsUSA 2019 Leadership and Skills Conference on April 12-14 at TSTC in Waco.

Both students encourage anyone interested in nursing to visit TSTC and take advantage of the opportunities available with SkillsUSA.

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

TSTC in Sweetwater nursing students Corbin Calsoncin, left, and Kacee Merrifield, right, prepare to compete at SkillsUSA in April. 

TSTC Program Partners with Walker Sayle Unit to Combat Substance Abuse

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College’s Chemical Dependency Counseling program and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Walker Sayle Unit, a substance abuse felony punishment facility, are working together to change lives and fill a need in the Texas workforce.

A report filed by the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services to the 86th Legislature showed that 1.6 million adult Texans suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD). Furthermore, Texas has only about 17 SUD care providers per 1,000 of these adults, the third lowest in the nation.

To help combat this crisis, students enrolled in TSTC’s Chemical Dependency Counseling program can work as interns and later be considered for employment at the Sayle Unit.

“It’s hard to find staff in this industry because you have to have a passion for it and it’s a lot of work,” Kemberlee Lively, program director at the Sayle Unit, said. “About 90 percent of our staff comes from TSTC because they have a hands-on knowledge base and are open to our input. These students come here and do exactly what we need them to do.”

The TSTC Chemical Dependency Counseling program allows students to earn a certificate of completion or an Associate of Applied Science degree to become licensed chemical dependency counselor interns. This provides a career pathway to become licensed chemical dependency counselors.

“There is an opportunity to help those individuals who this may be their last chance for recovery,” Patty Bundick, TSTC Chemical Dependency Counseling program chair and senior instructor, said. “Many students are people in recovery or have a family member who suffered from an addiction and see it as a chance to give back to society and now want to help someone else in their recovery.”

For Sayle Unit Assistant Program Director Shana Vandergriff, TSTC offered her the chance for a career and to help others.

“I recommend TSTC, for sure, because I went there. I know what the students are learning, and TSTC helped me,” Vandergriff said. “(TSTC) made it easy for me as a single mom … in recovery to get enrolled. They still are like my family to this day when I go visit,” Vandergriff said.

Vandergriff graduated in 2011 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling. She did her practicum as a student at the Sayle Unit.

Vandergriff encourages anyone who feels a calling and enjoys helping others succeed to consider the field.

“There is a huge need for people in this industry, and we are almost always hiring,” she said.

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

TSTC in Breckenridge Chemical Dependency Counseling students work with Walker Sayle to combat substance abuse.