Category Archives: Brownwood

New program allows students to receive real-world training while earning college credit

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will provide Brownwood High School students a chance to experience real-world training while earning college credit.

The 3M Manufacturing and Academic Partnerships (MAP) program, which will begin in the fall of 2020, will allow students to study a career in manufacturing. The MAP partnership between TSTC, 3M and Brownwood Independent School District was unveiled in February to the public and local officials.

TSTC Brownwood Associate Provost Raquel Mata said the goal for the 2020 school year is to have students take dual enrollment classes. By 2021, Mata’s goal is to implement an associate of applied science degree curriculum in Industrial Systems at the Brownwood campus.

TSTC received a grant from the 3M Foundation to purchase MecLab Trainers that will be used in the program. The Brownwood 3M plant manufactures reflective sheeting for highway signs, license plates, protective clothing and security laminates.

Through the MAP program, Brownwood High School students will have the chance to learn the basics of creating and using schematic designs, circuit diagrams and technical drawings; building models; creating simulations; and developing and constructing electronic and pneumatic circuits.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get exposed to career pathways they typically would not look at,” said Ray Tipton, executive director of the Brownwood Municipal Development District. “This is a partnership that is innovative and outside of the box.”

Mata hopes other industries in the Brownwood area get involved.

“This program is set up to replenish our workforce,” she said. “This is a good partnership for TSTC, Brownwood ISD and 3M. I look forward to its future.”

Tipton said that after learning of the grant opportunity, his first call was to TSTC.

 “I think this is a program that will change kids’ lives,” Tipton said.

After nearly a year of planning, TSTC and Brownwood High School are ready to start the program, but expansion to other school districts is possible.

“I would like to see other schools in our area, Bangs and Early, take part in the program,” Mata said.

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TSTC Student Strives to Set Example for Siblings

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Not many people know exactly what they want to do before they graduate from high school, but Texas State Technical College student Ethan Saucedo had a game plan since his junior year. 


“TSTC came to our school, and I knew they had a good program. So I visited TSTC and met with Ms. Renee, the instructor, and I just knew this was where I wanted to be,” Saucedo said. 


Saucedo is now a first-semester student in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the Brownwood campus. He is also the first in his family to go to college. 


“I have a lot of younger cousins and two younger siblings, and I want to set a good example and encourage them to pursue college,” he said.


While earning his associate degree, Saucedo is commuting over 70 miles a day from his hometown in Eden to attend classes.


“I want to better myself and do good for my family, so you just have to do what it takes to get the work done,” Saucedo said. 


Saucedo’s work ethic has not gone unnoticed. His instructor, Renee Blackshear, says she is very impressed with what he has already accomplished and is looking forward to what he will do. 


“Ethan is a great kid. He works hard and has such a positive attitude. He is planning on competing for us in SkillsUSA, and I think he will do very well and grow even more,” Blackshear said. 


Although he has only been with TSTC for one semester, Saucedo is already excited for what the future holds.


“I’m really glad I’m here. I’m excited to compete in SkillsUSA, and graduate and eventually find the right job,” Saucedo said. “I would encourage anyone to look at TSTC because I really enjoy my program.”


Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at

Ethan Saucedo is a Texas State Technical College student in the Computer Networking and Systems Administration program at the Brownwood campus. He is the first in his family to attend college. 


TSTC to Offer Paramedic Program in Spring

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will offer a certificate and an associate of applied science degree in Emergency Medical Services Paramedic at the Brownwood campus beginning next semester. 


“We are very excited to offer the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus and believe this will be a great opportunity for local community members,” Andy Weaver,  TSTC director of EMS and division director of Allied Health Services, said. 


While the paramedic program was offered at the Brownwood campus over 10 years ago, TSTC phased it out due to lack of interest. With rising job demand and need for those with paramedic licenses, the program has been brought back. 


“There is a huge need in this community for paramedics, and now we can fill that need and allow our students to further their career path in their hometown area without having to commute or transfer,” Stephen Sharp, instructor for EMS at the Brownwood campus, said. 


TSTC is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs and recently received approval to teach the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus. 


“We are so excited and ready for this program to get started. We have the right staff and the right equipment to serve these students at the highest standard,” Weaver said. 


The paramedic program is now offered at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.


Sharp encourages anyone interested in attending the paramedic program at the Brownwood campus to attend an information session hosted every Tuesday at 2 p.m.


“My door is always open to provide information about this career field because it such a rewarding field. If you feel called to this line of work and are ready to work hard and help people, we want you,” Sharp said. 


Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at

Texas State Technical College will offer a paramedic program in spring of 2020 at the Brownwood campus. 


TSTC Students Volunteer With Houses for Healing

(ABILENE, Texas) – When someone is in need, you can count on Texas State Technical College students to answer the call. 


On Friday morning, more than 25 TSTC students, faculty and staff, along with some of their family members, volunteered their time with local nonprofit organization Houses for Healing. 


Houses for Healing provides free temporary housing to those who are receiving medical treatment away from home.


Michael Leroux, coordinator of Student Retention Services for TSTC’s West Texas campuses, said he was more than happy to partner with the organization. 


“I think that it is important that the school gives back to the community it is part of, and it’s important for the students to experience this,” Leroux said. “When we decided to work with Houses for Healing, I discovered the founder, Brian Massey, is a TSTC alum. So I think this makes it an even better opportunity for the students to see someone who has gone through what they have and to learn from him.”


Massey graduated in 1991 from the Sweetwater campus after earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automation Robotics. Following a successful career, he felt called to do something else with his skills.


“We are supposed to love our neighbor, really love them. And after talking and praying about it with our church, we decided this would be how we would embrace that charge,” he said. 


Massey said Houses for Healing plans to construct 20 mini-houses total, one for each county of the Big Country, plus a home specifically for veterans. The organization has four homes completed.


TSTC welding student Daniel Trevino said it was a great opportunity to get involved in the community.


“I love doing stuff like this. After learning what this company was about, it makes me feel even better to be here,” he said. 


The volunteers worked from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., clearing away debris and a fallen structure, as well as gutting the interior of an older home on the property. The land is where the next 16 homes will be built.  


For aviation maintenance student Omar Alvarez and welding student Curtis Sonstegard, it was a day to meet fellow classmates while doing some good. 


“We get to help people who need it. Of course we wanted to be here, and it’s great to be meeting other students and working with our hands,” Alvarez said.  


As the event finished, TSTC students and employees alike agreed it was the perfect way to spend a Friday morning.    


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Some Texas State Technical College students and employees, along with some of their family members, volunteered their time with Houses for Healing Friday morning.


TSTC Active-Duty Student Hopes to Save Lives

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – After 20 years of serving his country in the military, Paul Cuellar is ready to continue serving his community as a civilian. 


Cuellar is both an active-duty member of the National Guard and a full-time student at Texas State Technical College in the Emergency Medical Services Emergency Medical Technician program. 


“Everything is crazy right now because I’m in the process of retiring, so I am balancing full-time work and full-time school and family. But I know this is the field I want to be in when I get out, so it will be worth it,” Cuellar said. 


Cuellar said he knew that working as an EMT was the right choice for him because of the skills he learned in the military. 


“I had to learn some of these skills during a couple deployments, and I really enjoyed learning them. So when I was exploring what I wanted to do after the military, I saw that TSTC was right here in Brownwood and had the degree I wanted,” he said. 


Cuellar and his family live in Brownwood, and he hopes to work locally after graduation.


“I’m used to commuting and traveling for work, so I want to be working in Brownwood and serve the Brownwood community,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar’s dedication to serving his community has not gone unnoticed by his instructor, Stephen Sharp.


“Brownwood is home for me. And as a community member and as a paramedic for this area, we need people like Paul who are ready to serve. I think he will do great things, and I’m very proud of him for balancing school with his military service,” Sharp said. 


Cuellar is expected to graduate this December as an EMT. 


Registration for the Spring 2020 semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at

Paul Cuellar is an active-duty member of the National Guard and a Texas State Technical College student in the Emergency Medical Technician program at the Brownwood campus.

TSTC EMS instructor overcomes ambulance tragedy

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently hired Stephen Sharp, a resilient and experienced paramedic, as the new emergency medical services instructor for the Brownwood campus.

Sharp has come a long way from last year. He was working for Life Guard Ambulance Service on February 20, 2018 when the unthinkable happened. 

After dropping off a patient at the Brownwood Regional Medical Center emergency room, a vehicle ran a stop sign, hitting the ambulance. As a result, Stephen’s humerus bone (arm from shoulder to elbow) was fractured into three pieces.

“There was a chance I could have lost my arm,” Sharp said. “It was a big transition from being the provider to being the patient.”

After three surgeries, two plates and multiple screws, Sharp was on the road to recovery. 

“I’ve seen the good and I’ve seen the bad, but responders who took care of me the day of the wreck were amazing,” he said. 

Sharp says after the wreck he realized there was still a way for him to continue his passion of helping people.

“It really opened my eyes to see that I could help more people and make a positive impact if I was an instructor for the next generation of emergency medical technicians. By training them, I get to help people through their actions,” Sharp said. 

Sharp is a TSTC alum who graduated in 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services. 

“We brought on Stephen because he has a strong foundation in the community and he’s worked in EMS for 18 years, so he knows what he’s doing. He is a great addition to the campus and the program,” Raquel Mata, associate provost for TSTC in Brownwood said. 

Mata and Sharp have high hopes for the future of the EMS program. 

“There is a huge need in the Brownwood community, and throughout the state for paramedics, so we see that need and are here to meet that need. I’m excited to grow this program and just see how far we can go,” Sharp said. 

Sharp encourages anyone with a passion for helping others and serving their community to explore the EMS program. 

Registration for the fall 2019 semester has started. 

For more information about TSTC, go online at

Stephen Sharp overcame an ambulance wreck while working as a paramedic to become an instructor for the Emergency Medical Services program at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood. 

TSTC Student Overcomes Health Issues to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Sometimes all a person needs is a second chance.

Katherin “Leif” Brown, a Texas State Technical College Computer Networking and Systems Administration student, will proudly represent Texas and TSTC in the Telecommunications Cabling competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

Undaunted by a health condition, Brown competed at the state-level SkillsUSA Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference two years in a row. She finally earned a spot at nationals on her second try.

“When I found out I was going to nationals, I was shocked and then surprised and then like, is this really happening?” Brown said.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. More than 18,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate in the national event.

Last year, just before Brown was set to compete for the first time, she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Addison’s disease is caused by insufficient production of certain hormones.

“I have to be careful and really listen to my body. I can’t get too stressed. But if this has taught me anything, it’s that I’m strong enough to do anything,” Brown said.

Despite the challenges she overcomes daily, Brown is working hard to represent TSTC well at SkillsUSA.

“It’s something I have really enjoyed doing, and I feel it’s really helped me,” Brown said. “This is a job skill that will come into play in the real world, so this is extra practice at it.”

One person helping Brown to prepare is Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor and SkillsUSA advisor Renee Blackshear.

“SkillsUSA helps open doors and serves to motivate students to put forth their best efforts and demonstrate their individual abilities to help close the skills gap,” Blackshear said. “Katherin has been an active member of our SkillsUSA team, and we look forward to supporting her in her preparations for nationals.”

Brown hopes to encourage others not only to be vigilant in their personal health, but also to pursue their passions.

“Don’t let anything stop you. Just pick yourself up and keep going,” Brown said.

For more information about TSTC, go to

TSTC Student Overcomes Health Issues to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

Katherin “Leif” Brown will represent the state of Texas and TSTC at the 2019 National Leadership and Skills Conference. She will compete in Telecommunications Cabling.

TSTC Students and Faculty Observe National EMS Week

(ABILENE, Texas) – This week marks the 45th annual National EMS Week, which honors the dedication of those who provide lifesaving services each day.
As the next generation of emergency medical service providers prepares to enter the workforce, Texas State Technical College students and faculty remember why they chose to serve.
“National EMS Week allows me to pause and have a moment of gratitude for my fellow EMS providers and to feel proud that I am part of a profession that has such an impact on so many people’s lives. I’m humbled by it,” said Ronnie Pitts, TSTC’s statewide department chair for EMS.
Pitts has worked in the EMS field for more than 29 years. Before earning his Associate of Applied Science degree in EMS with a Paramedic specialization at TSTC in 2005, he served as a firefighter/advance emergency medical technician with the city of Vernon Fire/EMS Department.
Pitts says his time in the field and as an instructor has allowed him to make a positive impact on not just his patients, but also the patients his students will care for.
For one student, the opportunity to help others in crisis is what he loves most.
“It’s become my passion,” Zacory Gardner, a student in the Paramedic program, said. “EMS
Week allows the public a better understanding that we are more than a transportation vehicle. We are a mobile ER, and we are here to help.”
Gardner currently works as an EMT basic with MetroCare and is expected to graduate from TSTC in 2020.
Classmate Ian Shannon recently started with MetroCare as an EMT basic and says it is exciting to continue the family tradition of being a first responder.
“My mom is a nurse, and we’ve got family that is in fire rescue and law enforcement. I also wanted to help people but figured I would do it in a different way,” Shannon said. “(Working as an EMT) is a great way to help people.”
Shannon is also expected to graduate in 2020.
As National EMS Week comes to a close, TSTC’s EMS lead instructor Kandell Scruggs hopes her students feel appreciated for their hard work. But she also recognizes the need to thank the families of EMS workers for their sacrifices.
“EMS providers give up a lot of family time and time with loved ones, so this week serves as a chance not only to thank the EMS personnel for their service to the community, but also to thank their family members,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs has worked in the EMS field for 28 years and is excited for her students to become part of the EMS family.
Pitts and Scruggs both encourage anyone who feels called to serve their community to consider a career in EMS by attending an information session about the program held every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Industrial Technology Center at 2082 Quantum Loop in Abilene.
For more information on TSTC, go to
TSTC Students and Faculty Observe National EMS Week
TSTC in Abilene Paramedic students practice emergency birth and infant resuscitation procedures during National EMS Week.  

TSTC and Texas Tech Sign Academic Agreement

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Representatives of Texas State Technical College and Texas Tech University signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday in Brownwood that enables TSTC students to continue their education after graduation.

Under the agreement, TSTC students can begin using course credits this fall to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree at Texas Tech. The agreement covers students at all of TSTC’s 10 campuses.

Elton Stuckly Jr., TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief strategic relations officer, said the partnership provides a great opportunity for TSTC students. He said students moving on to the bachelor’s program can continue to shape their technical and soft skills.

“Education is what builds a community,” Stuckly said.

Melanie Hart, Texas Tech’s vice provost for e-Learning and academic partnerships, said having a student body with diverse academic backgrounds is part of the university’s mission. She said the university can reach out to students who do not live close to Lubbock by way of an online presence.

Sunny Modawell, executive director of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, attended the signing ceremony and liked what she heard.

“This opens the door for endless possibilities for students in the Brownwood area,” she said.

Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s four West Texas campuses, said discussions about the agreement began six months ago.

“We are ecstatic about this opportunity,” he said.

For more information on Texas Tech University, go to

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC and Texas Tech Sign Academic Agreement

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.

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TSTC Holds Spring 2019 Commencement

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