Category Archives: Brownwood

TSTC instructors prepare for new EMT, paramedic students

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College is preparing for the next group of emergency medical technician and paramedic students.

TSTC Emergency Medical Services instructor Richard Sharp said students who recently completed the program had a 100 percent passing rate on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification exam, and each graduate found employment. This spring, a new group of students will begin their training.

“An entry-level EMT can expect to make $30,000 to $35,000 in their first year,” Sharp said. “An entry-level paramedic can expect to make in excess of $45,000 to $50,000 a year.”

The program is offered both online and with in-person lab sessions. Sharp said students will have opportunities for live discussions and lectures online each week.

“We have implemented all CDC guidelines when students are on campus to protect the student, their family and any patients they may encounter,” Sharp said of lab sessions.

The EMT certificate is a two-semester program. The first semester covers the core EMT courses that allow students to sit for National Registry certification. The second semester has two online courses, including medical terminology, anatomy and physiology.

A student must be certified as an EMT in Texas and be selected for the paramedic program, Sharp said.

“Once selected, the student will complete an additional three semesters of core classes and general education if attempting to earn an associate degree” he said. “At the completion of the didactic portion, the student will undergo one semester of capstone. The capstone semester places the student with a seasoned paramedic in an internship where the student will function as a paramedic. After successfully completing the internship, the student will be eligible to test for the National Registry paramedic certification.”

Sharp said the program is patient-centered, with a focus on providing competent EMTs and paramedics to the EMS industry in Texas.

Sharp is a 20-year veteran of 911 ambulance response as a paramedic. Timothy Scalley, a current paramedic/flight paramedic, is also an instructor in the program.

Sharp said students interested in the program may contact him at 325-203-2458 to learn about the enrollment process.

For more information, visit

Aguirre brings experience to TSTC’s Welding Technology program

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Daniel Aguirre, a lifelong resident of Brownwood, is ready to pass his knowledge of welding on to the next generation.

Aguirre will begin his first year as Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology instructor in Brownwood this fall. This will be his first time teaching welding, and he said he is excited to be part of the TSTC family.

“I have not taught before, so this will be a new experience. The faculty and staff in Brownwood have been so willing to help me,” Aguirre said. “I will learn so much from them because they have been teaching a long time. They have given me so many pointers since I have been here.”

Aguirre has set one goal for himself as an educator.

“I need to balance out my welding experience with what I am going to have to teach from the textbook. There is so much you can learn by doing,” he said. “I will have to incorporate that into my teaching style.”

In Brownwood, Aguirre said students will have a good facility to work in when lab sessions begin.

“We have good equipment in the shop. The students will be able to learn a lot in the lab,” he said.

One thing Aguirre wants students to know is that safety comes first.

“Safety is the top priority. I want them to learn how to be safe in the shop and to work safely on a job,” he said.

According to Aguirre, students will learn what companies expect from welders.

“I want the students to be in the mindset of knowing what it is like to work in the real world,” he said. “If they know what is expected of them, they will be able to succeed.”

That is where Aguirre’s experience will come into play during the year. As a teenager, Aguirre helped his father repair rail cars and later worked for a railroad company repairing cars.

“We would weld the rail cars that were damaged. We would work on them and get them going again,” he said.

After his career in the railroad, Aguirre worked for an oil field company in which he welded equipment. He did that until the welding instruction position opened at TSTC.

“At first, I did not know if I was a good fit, but (former instructor Robert Whitley) talked me into applying,” he said. “We have been buddies for years, and I was eager to try teaching out. There is nothing more gratifying than teaching young welders the tricks of our trade.”

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

Safety top priority at TSTC this fall

(ABILENE, Texas) – Safety will be the top priority at Texas State Technical College when the fall semester begins Aug. 31.

The four West Texas campuses, located in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, will have a different look this year. Students who need to complete labs will be allowed on campus, but all other instruction will be delivered online.

“Our primary goal is the safety of our students, faculty and staff in this era of COVID-19,” said Lance Eastman, West Texas’ interim provost. “We have put in several safety measures to ensure that safety.”

Everyone must wear a facial covering while on campus, and social distancing guidelines will be enforced, Eastman said.

“I know it is hard sometimes to maintain social distance. But for the safety of everyone, we are going to practice it,” he said. “We not only want the students, faculty and staff to protect themselves, but everyone around them.”

Buildings will be marked with directional signage to show entrances and exits. Hand-sanitizing stations will also be available in each building.

Since March, TSTC has provided online lectures for students, and Eastman said it will continue in the fall. In May, students were allowed to return to campus to complete lab sessions.

Eastman said continuing to provide hands-on lab sessions is important to the college’s mission of placing people in the workforce.

“We will still do a lot of the hands-on lab sessions because it is important the students get that training,” he said.

Daniel Martin, TSTC’s director of student recruiting in West Texas, said students are excited about the new way of learning.

“The students are pleased with how the courses are being constructed. The online lectures, coupled with lab time, are perfect for them,” he said. “This is a better use of a student’s time. It is not a classroom-heavy situation for them.”

Martin said prospective students will also be able to tour campuses, but with limitations. Tours must be reserved and will be limited to three guests per tour.

“We are excited to get people back on our campuses to show students what we offer,” he said. “We had some tours during the summer, and everyone followed all of the protocols we had in place.”

In Sweetwater, safety is also the top priority for housing director Jose Navarrette. Since it is the only West Texas campus with student housing, additional safety measures are in place.

Navarrette said each student will have a private bedroom but share a bathroom. He said students will learn the proper way to sanitize the area to help prevent the spread of contagions.

“We will have room checks to make sure all the rules are being followed,” he said. “We had some students living on campus this summer, and everyone followed all the rules.”

Navarrette said students were assigned days to move in prior to Aug. 31. He said that was done to help limit the amount of people on campus.

“Safety is the key for us. We want students to know that we have things in place for their safety and the safety of everyone on campus,” he said.

Rick Nelson, supervisor of TSTC food services in Sweetwater, said meals will continue to be sold only to go. Students will enter the Student Center’s main entrance and leave through the cafeteria’s glass-door exit.

TSTC will also provide three new programs in West Texas this fall.

In Breckenridge, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety Compliance Technology will be offered. Students will learn the hazards of machines, safe work methods, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures during the five semesters.

Two Occupational Skills Award programs are scheduled this fall. Basic Welding – Multiple Processes will be available in Abilene, while Basic Automotive will be taught in Sweetwater. Both courses will be 15 weeks and are part of TSTC’s Rapid Industry Skills and Employability (RISE) program that helps students learn skills quickly in order to start a career.

“It is always good to provide new programs at TSTC,” Eastman said. “We want to provide our students with the tools to prepare them for the workforce. The OSA programs will allow us to quickly educate students to get them to work. That will help better our economy.”

To schedule a campus tour, contact Chris Johnson, TSTC’s lead recruiter for West Texas, at

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

TSTC Computer Networking students to use virtual software program

(ABILENE, Texas) – A new program will allow Computer Networking and Systems Administration students at Texas State Technical College to work on equipment virtually.

TSTC will use the NetLab program for virtual lab sessions, instructor Adrian Medrano said.

“NetLab is very popular for remote training,” Medrano said. “The benefits are amazing.”

Students will use the program to work on a computer system online just like the real instruments. Medrano said students will operate instruments with knobs and buttons the same way they would an actual computer. Measurements will be displayed on the computer screen to help students during the lab session, he added.

“Having NetLab is huge. Companies like Cisco and Microsoft use this for training their employees,” Medrano said. “With the push to move everything online, we are looking forward to getting this content to our students.”

Medrano is no stranger to the program. He said TSTC instructors have used it for their own training sessions held throughout the state.

“I enjoy working with this program. It is easy to navigate,” he said. “I see nothing but smooth sailing for our students when they use NetLab.”

The program will allow Medrano and other instructors to achieve their goal of providing companies with a “well-rounded individual for an IT (information technology) department.”

“We are not going to focus on one certain area. By the time a student graduates, they will learn how to take apart and put back together a computer system,” Medrano said. “They will know how to put a computer on a company network, share files, and other aspects of computer networking.”

That knowledge is important in today’s business world, according to Medrano.

“Sharing information between computers in a business is the main aspect of the network,” he said.

Another area in which students will gain knowledge is security settings.

“We are going to teach students how to make a computer virus-free and to make sure no one hacks into the system,” Medrano said. “We are going to teach all of the security tactics they will need, as well as the difference between a virus, worm and Trojan software.”

Medrano said students will become knowledgeable about routers and switches.

“They will know the difference between a home router and routers used at small businesses,” he said. “Students are going to know exactly how the internet happens when they complete the program. They are going to know how they can send something from their home to around the world with just one click.”

Medrano said the online classes will benefit students.

“This will give students a lot of flexibility, and they can remain safe,” he said. “We are going to deliver our content via video, but it will still have a classroom feel.”

Medrano said instructors were recorded during classes last spring, and those videos will be used for classroom lessons during the upcoming school year.

“Students will be able to watch the video at their convenience and then practice what they learned with NetLab,” he said.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

Eastman works to help TSTC students achieve success

(ABILENE, Texas) – Lance Eastman, Texas State Technical College’s West Texas interim provost and senior vice president of Student Learning, works to make sure that students meet the college’s goal.

“I really like our mantra, ‘Place Texans in great-paying jobs.’ It’s simple. We have really worked hard to live up to our mantra,” he said.

Eastman, who was named interim provost in May, is working with the college’s leadership, faculty and staff on a competency-based learning schedule for students. He is no stranger to the learning approach because it was used at his previous place of employment, Davis Technical College in Kaysville, Utah.

“At TSTC, we are working to have flexibility and to allow students to schedule classes around their life. Studies have shown that it works,” Eastman said. “With this type of program, retention is much better.”

Prior to arriving at TSTC more than two years ago, Eastman served as director of the manufacturing and transportation programs at Davis Technical College. He also taught an industrial maintenance class.

His love for electronics came while watching “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.”

“Seeing Luke Skywalker’s hand got me into electronics,” he said of the movie scene in which Skywalker’s missing hand is replaced with a robotic one.

Eastman once worked in the private sector in industrial maintenance. But when a teaching position opened, he turned to educating young minds.

“Teaching is nothing more than transferring knowledge,” he said. “I am the kind of person who would want to put a button on something to try and make it work. I want to pass that knowledge on to others.”

He learned about TSTC through a job posting showing an opening for the vice president position. He had confidence that he would be picked, telling his wife, Beckie, that he was going to apply for the job and his family “will move to Texas.”

Eastman said during the entire interview process, he remained confident that he would be selected for the position.

“I kept telling my wife they are going to hire me,” he said.

Since his hiring, Eastman said he has been welcomed by not only the TSTC family, but also the Abilene community. His oldest daughter, Sydney, recently completed a church mission in Idaho, and his youngest daughter, Brooklyn, is a senior at Wylie High School in Abilene.

“I love the people of Texas,” Eastman said, admitting that his only stop in Texas prior to an in-person interview at TSTC was a flight layover in Dallas. “This is a fantastic place to live.”

In his spare time, which he said he does not have much of, Eastman enjoys fishing, gardening and church activities.

“My wife and I have also spent a lot of hanging with the kids and their friends. They like to play cards with us because they think they can beat us,” he said with a laugh.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

Two TSTC programs to be offered fully online this fall

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Computer Programming Technology and Drafting and Design instructors are gearing up for a different way to offer classes.

The two programs will be offered completely online this fall, and TSTC instructor Julie Rhoades welcomes the opportunity. 

She is no stranger to teaching Computer Programming online. It was previously available online before being shifted to a hybrid status a few years ago.

“Everything is on schedule to offer the programs online,” she said. “The Computer Programming course will be project based. We will have video lessons and virtual classes for discussions.”

While it is not required that students attend each live video lesson, Rhoades said classes will be recorded for students to watch at a later time. In addition, she will schedule weekly assignments for students to complete.

Students will also have the opportunity to submit topic suggestions that may be discussed during video lessons.

Instructors will use the latest video technology to connect to students for questions and feedback, Rhoades said.

“We want to be able to see and hear each other. I will be able to share my screen with the students, and they will be able to share their screens with me,” she said.

Rhoades said she still wants to provide a personal touch.

“I want our students to realize we are here to personally help them,” she said.

The virtual experience may also be used during study groups.

“This is a different type of communication method. We want the students to feel comfortable talking to each other. This will make it more personable,” Rhoades said.

This fall, Rhoades will teach two Drafting and Design classes and one Computer Programming class. According to her, the Drafting and Design class is being developed without a textbook requirement.

While having the program fully online is not new, Rhoades said she has recently seen more interest from prospective students.

“One student told me they would not consider it if it was not online. They had some safety concerns, but once they learned it was fully online, they were on board,” she said. “We want to accommodate people who may not feel safe.”

The Computer Programming Technology online program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree. Drafting and Design offers three Associate of Applied Science degrees. They are Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Architectural/Civil Drafting Technology, and Mechanical-Electrical Drafting Technology.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

TSTC recruiters remain busy during summer

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recruiters have been busy working the phones and online resources this summer.

With the different TSTC campuses closed for student tours, the college’s recruiters in West Texas have been getting creative in informing prospective students of the programs available.

“It has presented us with some new challenges,” said Chris Johnson, lead recruiter, in discussing how the team is working to recruit students. “We have spent some time figuring things out.”

One of the most-asked questions from prospective students is the security of a job, especially with the economy in recession.

“People want to know if they get a job, would they be laid off six months later,” Johnson said. “We have great programs available, and they are considered to be recession-proof. People are still going to need to have their cars worked on during this time. Companies are still going to need workers.”

With campus tours currently not possible, recruiters have spent their time working on virtual visits. Johnson said many school counselors are interested in the online visits.

Johnson said the virtual visits allow instructors to showcase the equipment available on campus. But they do have one downside.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is showing the equipment during a tour. We are still able to show off the equipment, but it is virtual,” he said. “I do miss seeing the reaction in person of students watching how it is used.”

With fall semester classes scheduled to begin Aug. 31, Johnson said recruiters will continue to work with local high schools to provide information.

“We want to be available to the students. We want them to be excited about what they can see, even though they cannot get out and see it in person,” he said.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to

TSTC graduate completes EMS program in hometown

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College graduate John Hendrix was happy to see the Emergency Medical Services program come to Brownwood.

In 2016, Hendrix had the chance to build on his advanced certification when the EMS program began at the Brownwood campus.

“The closest place a paramedic program was available was more than one hour away. I had a family and work to think about,” he said. “I always told myself that if the program was offered locally, I would take it. I was happy when TSTC began offering it in Brownwood.”

Hendrix graduated this spring with an Associate of Applied Science paramedic degree. 

He is no stranger to first responders and the medical field. His father recently retired after 37 years with the Arlington Fire Department, and his mother is a nurse at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

“When I was a senior in high school, I started taking EMS basic courses at night. It was something I really liked,” he said. “After high school, I went to the fire academy and really liked that. I thought I could make this a career.”

He started his firefighting career at the Lake Worth Fire Department while in college. In 2012, he and his wife moved to Brownwood, where he began working for the Brownwood Fire Department. He is also a member of the Early Fire Department.

Hendrix said his department supervisors gave him time off for classes. It also helped that some of the instructors worked at the Brownwood Fire Department.

“They were always good about giving me the time to complete my coursework,” he said.

Hendrix said the EMS program takes a commitment from the students, but rewards are seen at the end.

“You know you are going to pass and make it through,” he said. “The instructors make sure you are prepared to pass the National Register. That is one of the best things about the program. The instructors want you to succeed.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

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 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