Category Archives: Brownwood

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.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.

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.

TSTC instructor says welders are always in demand

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Welders are always needed, no matter the economic situation.

Texas State Technical College Welding Technology instructor Robert Whitley knows his students will likely find a job soon after completing the program. In West Texas, welders are needed not only in the oil field, but also at other sites, he said.

“Other (businesses) are not hurting as bad as the oil field right now,” Whitley said. “A lot of our guys are noticing that welding is definitely a reliable source of income.”

Whitley said many welders are self-employed, while others like the structure of working for a company. No matter what, he said, welders usually can find work.

“Some of the guys like to venture out to the bigger cities for work. They go out several different directions to find a job,” he said.

With oil prices beginning to rebound, Whitley said he expects to see more students enrolled in the program, which is offered at each of TSTC’s 10 campuses. The college offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology, and certifications in structural welding and structural/pipe welding.

“Hopefully everything in the oil field will be going the right way. When that happens, we will probably pick up another boom (of students),” he said.

Whitley said his main goal is to see students employed.

“I like to see them succeed. The best thing for me is to send kids out and see them be able to provide for their family,” he said.

With social distancing being the new normal in business, Whitley said lab sessions have been set up to state standards. He said that social distancing is nothing new to welders.

“Many of them will not be near anyone when they are working,” he said. 

During lab sessions, Whitley said students have worked within the guidelines.

“It has kept our guys on their toes. It is teaching them to prepare for the unexpected,” he said.

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

TSTC students practice social distancing during lab sessions

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – A limited number of Texas State Technical College students returned to campus Monday, May 4.

Students allowed back on campus are studying in programs that require them to complete hands-on lab work in order to finalize their semester. While on campus, students and instructors practiced social distancing guidelines and wore face coverings at all times.

Students were glad to be back on campus and have social interaction with classmates.

“I am excited to be back,” said Diesel Equipment Technology student Jacob Rambo, of Wichita Falls. “While we were away, I did a skills test and had to align my own vehicle.”

Devyn Johnson from Lubbock, who is also a Diesel Equipment Technology student, said he spent time at work and with his family while away from campus.

“It feels good to be back. I missed the bonding with my friends and the coming together we had before getting started with class,” he said. “I have learned a lot from these guys.”

The return to on-campus instruction is specifically authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which has identified career and technical education as one area of education that may continue under the Texas governor’s Executive Order No. GA-16.

“CTE programs that require hands-on instruction that cannot be delivered online can continue to be delivered, but in strict accordance with CDC guidelines,” the executive order states.

“It is good to be back in the groove,” said Diesel Equipment Technology student David Wilson, of Brownwood..

Welding students in Sweetwater were also excited to be back on campus. Brian Naza, of Colorado City, admitted he did not do any welding at home.

“It is important that I improve my cutting and torch skills,” he said about what his focus would be on during the on-campus lab sessions.

Welding student Hector Mendez, of Senora, said returning to campus was a fresh start.

“I am looking forward to finishing what I started. I want to make good grades and put my skills to use,” he said.

Mendez said that before starting the lab session, his classmates talked about what they did during the past five weeks.

“We were really glad to see each other, but more importantly we want to finish and graduate,” he said.

For more information about how TSTC has prepared to return students to campus, visit https://tstc.edu/coronavirus.

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

Alumnus helps recruit students to TSTC

(ABILENE, Texas) – Computer Programming Technology students at Texas State Technical College in West Texas have an advantage.

Lab assistant Tony Torres is a 2016 graduate of the program, and he is available to guide students during lab sessions. Torres and master instructor Julie Rhoades share the same goal. They want their students to get a job after completing the program.

Torres said the program prepares students for the Texas workforce, but the learning does not stop after graduation.

“We let them know that the learning is not over at TSTC,” he said. “They will be learning different programming languages in the field. But if that language is not part of their company’s database, we want to give them enough tools so that they will be able to pick up what it is.”

Rhoades said the program will help students with different computer programs, including mobile applications. While she does not see many TSTC graduates focusing on mobile applications, Rhoades said it is a good skill for them to learn.

Having Torres working in the lab with students is an advantage, she said. Most of the program is taught online, but some students use the computer labs on the Abilene and Brownwood campuses to complete assignments.

Rhoades said Torres is also a good recruiter for the program in West Texas.

“His work ethic is great. He can tell the students what to expect during the course,” Rhoades said. “He has been through it and offers them first-hand knowledge.”

Torres said he likes to talk to students about why they chose the computer programming field.

“I have talked to some students that barely knew how to turn on a computer,” he said. “Those are the ones that really flourish in the program.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Programming Technology. Torres earned that degree and is now working toward a bachelor’s degree.

Rhoades said she was pleased that Torres is working to further his education while helping current students.

“Tony has helped our recruiters with recruiting efforts,” she said.

She hopes that more of the West Texas program will include face-to-face interaction in the future.

“That will give us a chance to work with students both online and in person. It would be the best of both worlds,” she said.

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

Virtual events keep TSTC students engaged

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College students are facing a new challenge with online learning.

Michael LeRoux, coordinator of Retention Services for the West Texas campuses, said the staff wanted students to have a sense of normalcy. Through a brainstorming session with team members, LeRoux said the idea of a daily virtual experience was the way to go.

These experiences include Trivia Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, and discussions about what students face working at home.

“We are talking a lot about time management in what is our new normal,” LeRoux said. “We are doing things online that we did during our leadership luncheons. We had to adjust the approach by doing them online.”

Belinda Palomino, Harlingen’s Student Life and Engagement coordinator for TSTC, said students are wanting something positive to do with their time.

“We are there for the student experience on campus and wanted to keep that going in these times of uncertainty,” she said.

Eight students participated in the first Wellness Wednesday event, LeRoux said. However, as word spreads, he expects the numbers to grow.

There is an incentive for students, LeRoux said. Each student who signs in will have a chance to win prizes and shout-outs in future events.

There is also the chance to be the top campus. LeRoux said each of the 10 TSTC campuses is conducting virtual activities. But Wellness Wednesday is a statewide challenge. With the theme “Commit 2 B Fit,” students will have a chance to win prizes throughout the month.

“All students have to do is log 30 minutes of activity in order for it to count toward the challenge,” he said.

LeRoux and other staff members will send wellness tips and links to workout videos to help keep students active. One of the wellness tips was for students to do school work outside because, as LeRoux said, it can “break up the day.”

The experiences will vary by campus, and Palomino said Harlingen students can expect online hangouts with counselors, receiving positive messages. She said that a virtual movie night is in the works.

“With the different demographics, we are setting up each experience specific to where we are at,” Palomino said.

Fridays have been set aside as a virtual hangout for students just to talk about the week, LeRoux said.

“The students participating so far have really liked the activities,” he said. “We are getting some very positive feedback.”

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

EMS students used to online learning

(ABILENE, Texas) – When a medical crisis occurs, one of the first phone calls is to 911.

Emergency medical technicians are among the first responders on the scene to help a patient. Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services students use online learning to prepare them for a medical situation.

Abilene EMS instructor James Pitts said video is being used to help current students with skills they may need during a medical emergency, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Using video is nothing new to students, he said. It is essential to the program, which is available in Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen.

“We have been looking for quality videos to supplement the students’ skills,” Pitts said of working online only at this time.

The program has a three-step approach: online learning, classroom lectures to reinforce what was learned online, and lab work. Pitts said students have several resources they can use on their own, including online access to the course’s publisher, Jones & Bartlett.

“They can navigate to interactive lectures. They can read chapters and engage in feedback online,” he said.

In the classroom, Pitts said instructors and students discuss what was provided online.

“They spend the rest of the day developing skills in the lab,” he said. “There has been a learning gap for our students to adjust to this way of learning. I think this will be better for our program.”

When TSTC began remote classes last month, Pitts said the students were already in a “good spot.”

“We used the tools that were in place, but since we were not on campus, we had to modify things,” he said.

Technology is used for live lectures as instructors and students continue classes.

“We did not want to lose that live engagement with the instructors. That was important to us,” Pitts said.

According to Pitts, it is important for students to continue using online resources at home.

“All this is preparing them for coming back to school and putting their skills to use,” Pitts said.

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