Category Archives: Harlingen

TSTC Welding instructor motivated by student success

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Welding Technology instructor Manuel Ahumada enjoys the field that he dedicates his time to teaching. Most importantly, he enjoys seeing his students succeed throughout the semester with increasing confidence in their skills as they prepare to enter the growing welding field.

 What inspired you to become an instructor?

I have always felt I had a need of helping others, and with my love of the welding field, I combined them. There’s a sense of gratitude involved in knowing I helped a student achieve the goal of being a welder.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

Meeting and helping new, incoming students is something that is very enjoyable. Watching their spirits light up when their hard work results in a good weld is always special.

Do you have a favorite memory at TSTC so far?

The first time I stood on stage at commencement congratulating the first set of students I taught is my favorite memory. It was a very proud moment for me.

What do you enjoy most about welding technology?

Seeing students begin the program knowing nothing about the field and leaving with a great experience and the knowledge of being a good welder is what I enjoy most about the program.

To learn more about TSTC, visit


Welding student putting working on a weld in the TSTC Welding Technology lab.


TSTC to host Welding Technology open house

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Prospective Texas State Technical College Welding Technology students can have the opportunity to learn about the program firsthand during the program’s open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

“Potential students will get a look into our new and updated welding building during their visit to campus,” said assistant enrollment director Ricardo Trevino. “This will be an opportunity to meet with an enrollment coach, submit all documents necessary to enroll, and even be able to register for classes within the same day.”

During the open house, attendees are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about the program or to express concerns. TSTC’s coronavirus protocols will also be strictly enforced.

“We will tour the building as we maintain social distancing,” Trevino said. “The tour will give visitors an interactive look as to what they can expect once they join our welding program.”

Several instructors will be in attendance through the duration of the open house, including lab assistant Juan Avila, who said that visitors will get to see the different aspects of the program.

“I hope prospective students are able to get a preview of what they will be learning here at TSTC,” he said. “They will get a look at the different varieties of welding processes, projects and our automation program.”

Visitors can also learn about financial aid and scholarship opportunities during the open house.

Trevino noted that the Welding Technology program has expanded its capabilities to give students the best education possible to prepare them for the field.

“Our program is growing, and the opportunities for applicants to join a fulfilling career that will lead to a great job have never been better,” he said. “We want to extend this invitation knowing we have one of the best programs in the Rio Grande Valley.”

Those interested in attending the open house may email Ricardo Trevino at

To learn more about TSTC, visit

TSTC instructor receives Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – First-year seminar instructor Claudia Arnold has taught at Texas State Technical College for 15 years. Recently, her hard work and dedication were recognized when she received a Chancellor’s Excellence Award.

The award is particularly special because recipients not only are recognized for their commitment to TSTC’s core values of excellence, accountability, integrity, and service but also are nominated by their colleagues.

“Knowing that I received this award because I was nominated by my peers is a feeling that I can’t explain,” she said. “My priority is to be a team member and treat my peers and students with respect.”

In an email sent to TSTC staff and faculty, Chancellor Mike Reeser said that one common characteristic that Arnold’s peers noted about her was her dedication.

In that same email, TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez said that Arnold embodies what it means to go the extra mile.

“Claudia has always demonstrated a passion for making TSTC a great place,” she said. “Her work ethic is admirable and demonstrates that of a true leader, so much so that she was nominated by eight colleagues for this prestigious award.”

Arnold is grateful that she gets to work with people who inspire and appreciate her.

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate me,” she said. “I’m blessed to work with such great people.”

While she enjoys all aspects of her job, one thing she is most fond of is watching her students succeed.

“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing my students understand my lectures,” she said. “I really enjoy using different teaching strategies to get the subject matter across. I always tell all of my students to finish what they start. I explain to them that once they get their degree, nobody can take that away.”

To learn more about TSTC, visit


TSTC Dual Enrollment prioritizes student success after high school

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently welcomed representatives from the Mercedes Independent School District to tour its Automotive Technology and Precision Machining Technology program facilities.

Several Mercedes Academic Academy students are currently enrolled in TSTC’s Dual Enrollment program, which teaches them the skills needed to excel in their careers after high school.

Mercedes Academic Academy principal Juan Garza and school counselor Jessica Pena were joined by TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez and several other TSTC staff for the socially-distanced tour.

“I have noticed a spark of interest in my Mercedes Academic Academy students,” Garza said. “Some of these students came to this educational setting because of difficulties they were encountering at the regular high school, and now they are enrolled in a Dual Enrollment program and succeeding.”

Student success goes beyond the educators who dedicate themselves to making sure that all students receive the best education possible.

“Even the parents are elated knowing that their child is receiving a chance that they themselves never got — a chance to make a better life for themselves through the industry-based certifications,” Garza said.

Hernandez added that when one family member obtains an education, an entire family can feel the impact.

“When a student completes their degree at TSTC, we help with job placement,” she said. “We are impacting generations.”

Garza reiterated that an education changes more than just the life of the student obtaining their degree.

“We want our high school students to know that their choice to further their education will undoubtedly have a dramatic effect in not only their own future, but for their families as well.”

Dual Enrollment provides high school students the opportunity to take college courses and earn simultaneous college and high school credit in a technical program. College courses are available at some high school campuses through a credentialed instructor, onsite at a TSTC campus, or through a distance learning class taught by a TSTC instructor.

When a student completes their technical pathway while in high school, they can shorten the time it takes to earn a Certificate I, Certificate II or Associate of Applied Science degree at TSTC.

To learn more about Dual Enrollment at TSTC, visit


Inspired by her parents, TSTC instructor brings business knowledge to the classroom

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Although Edna Claus has taught Business Management Technology at Texas State Technical College for 19 years, her time in higher education exceeds that. Before she came to TSTC, she served as associate director for academic computing at another institution.

Nearly three decades in higher education have brought her countless memories, and she is happy that this part of her journey has brought her to TSTC as lead instructor for Business Management Technology.

What inspired you to get into teaching?

My parents were teachers, and I was inspired by them. I found that I enjoyed developing curriculum and engaging with students. I love to hear from former students when they tell me that they are doing well and that they are successful in their endeavors.

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy it when students have their own aha! moments. Whether it be with understanding the concepts of a course or with what they plan for their future, it is a joy to experience that with them.

Do you have a favorite TSTC memory?

My favorite TSTC memory was when I graduated with my associate of applied science in Information and Management Technology, and my father gave me my diploma. He was an instructor in the department.

What have your years of service at TSTC taught you about yourself?

I have learned that adaptation is the key to success. Things change, and one must be able and willing to adapt to change. Change can seem like chaos at times, yet it is in this chaos that one has the opportunity to shine.

To learn more about TSTC’s Business Management Technology program, visit


TSTC Culinary Arts students thank first responders with meal delivery

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Culinary Arts students recently gave back to first responders by way of homemade meals that also served as a learning experience for their American Regional course.

In the class, students prepare recipes from six different regions of the United States. The course prepares them with the essential skills to conquer large-quantity cooking, such as catering. When the meals are finalized and prepared, students are then tasked with choosing an organization in the community to deliver them to.

The students decided to send the meals to Harlingen Medical Center to say thank you to the medical professionals who are currently on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus. The delivery consisted of homemade chicken enchiladas with authentic refried beans, Mexican rice, and caramel flan.

“This particular gesture allowed our students to see how important it is to connect with their community,” said Culinary Arts instructor Emma Creps. “They are the future leaders of this industry, and it is vital that they learn the necessity of community involvement.”

Students learned other vital skills through this experience, such as communication, organization, and attention to detail when safely putting together a large amount of food.

“People getting together for a common goal is a great example of the importance of working together,” Creps said. “Communication skills also come into play during this lesson because we all had a responsibility to one another to finish this lesson in the safest way possible.”

Instructor Omar Duran reiterated that it is essential to remember that all of us are going through this time together.

“We need to share what we have with others, especially right now that we are all experiencing this crisis,” he said. “Medical professionals are putting themselves at risk on a daily basis to fight this.”

Creps shared the same thoughts about serving others during this time.

“Giving back to the community feels like we are showing our gratitude to the people who are working tirelessly through this pandemic,” she said. “I could tell that the group of nurses and medical technicians appreciated the gesture.”

To learn more about TSTC’s Culinary Arts program, visit


TSTC introduces fast-paced cybersecurity boot camp

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will offer a fast-paced Workforce Training boot camp in Cybersecurity. The first cohort will begin in February, and the curriculum will feature eight industry-grade foundational courses that will equip students with the knowledge they need to get their foot into the world of cybersecurity.

TSTC interim director of special projects Kori Bowen said that these rapid courses will help students gain the knowledge they need and also help them find job opportunities when they complete the training.

“These boot camps are beneficial to students in that they can help both train and place students in an in-demand field,” she said. “No prior experience is needed, and a career coach will work with them to find and prep for interview opportunities after completion of the course.”

Admission to the boot camp will be on a rolling basis, and students will have access to resources that are relevant to their training through the program, including weekly mentorship with a cohort leader and weekly study groups. The cybersecurity boot camp will be taught completely online, and students can graduate in 20 weeks or less.

TSTC is currently working with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to help fund the boot camp for the areas of Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Williamson County.

“While fund availability varies across the state, this funding focuses on regional target occupations and can potentially help a student with a ballpark of 50 percent off of the sticker cost of the boot camp,” Bowen said.

With an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs expected in the United States by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, Texas State Technical College has scheduled two different fast-paced boot camps to fill those positions.

To learn more about the TSTC Workforce Training boot camp in Cybersecurity, visit


Portrait of a Smart Focused Young Man Wearing Glasses Holds Laptop. In the Background Technical Department Office with Specialists Working and Functional Data Server Racks

TSTC celebrates new police personnel with pinning ceremony

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently welcomed two new staff members to the TSTC Police Department.

Officer Juan Lucio and dispatcher Naisa Trevino were celebrated during the socially distant ceremony, which is a tradition bestowed upon those who serve in law enforcement at the college.

Others in attendance to celebrate were TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez, TSTC Police Chief Eduardo Patino, TSTC Safety and Security Police Commissioner Aurelio Torres, and Cameron County Justice of the Peace Eloy Cano Jr.

Lucio worked as a correctional officer prior to his duties at TSTC — a position that he credits with helping him continue to strive toward TSTC’s core values of excellence, accountability, service and integrity.

“I thought deeply about why I wanted to work for TSTC before getting hired,” he said. “I realized that becoming a police officer for students and the TSTC family is special. It is special because I get the privilege and responsibility of ensuring that students have a safe environment so that they may reach their educational career goals.”

Lucio added that the TSTC community can count on him to offer help when needed.

“This position has given me the responsibility to perform at a high level, and I will give 100 percent to this family-oriented community, which I am humbly honored to serve.”

Trevino said that her role as a dispatcher is a vital component to the safety of those on campus.

“My duties consist of answering phone calls, which can consist of something as simple as unlocking a building, to traffic stops, and even to someone being hurt,” she said. “This role can change immensely in the blink of an eye, so I always have to be prepared for any type of incoming call.”

Both Lucio and Trevino expressed appreciation that they were able to share the special moment with their families.

“It was surreal to have my parents present at the ceremony,” Lucio said. “My wife has also been my greatest support system since day one. She inspires me to be persistent and courageous. Having my family at the ceremony was fulfilling and an honor.”

Aside from being nervous, Trevino was also grateful that her loved ones were in attendance.

“I kept thinking to myself, don’t mess up and don’t fall,” she said. “I was super excited that they were there for me at this pinning ceremony because it was also a show of appreciation from me to them. I would not have gotten this far if it wasn’t for their support throughout all my accomplishments.”

To learn more about TSTC, visit

Business Management Technology instructor celebrates 35 years at TSTC

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – For Texas State Technical College Business Management Technology instructor Cynthia Mata, the last three decades seem to have flown by. “It does not feel like 35 years,” she said. “I was between jobs, and my parents mentioned that I should apply at TSTC. I started as an instructor in the Business Skills program, which is now Business Management Technology.”

Mata has worn several hats at TSTC, including being a statewide department chair for the past five years.

“I went from being an instructor, to a program chair, to working in Human Resources,” she said. “Ultimately I wanted to go back to teaching. I love to teach. I thought it would be my temporary job, and it ended up becoming my dream.”

Though being an instructor has brought her many special moments, the times when she knew she was changing a student’s life are those she remembers most fondly.

“Years ago I took several students to a competition in Illinois for Business Professionals of America. Some of them had never been on a plane. When the plane took off, one of the students had to hold my hand because she was so nervous. That moment was unforgettable for me because I knew that would be one of the moments that would change her life.”

Being a department chair has given her the chance to oversee some changes happening within the program, including the transition to remote learning.

“We are moving into the future,” she said. “The world around us is constantly changing, and if we don’t move on that, we risk becoming obsolete. The Business Management Technology program is evolving and is now 100 percent online, which allows us to serve the entire state of Texas.”

The program offers a hands-on approach to learning the skills required to help keep a business running.

One of Mata’s colleagues at TSTC, Edna Claus, said that graduates of the program are beneficial to all areas of the business community.

“Regardless of the type of business, they all need to have a business manager or supervisor who understands how to use the latest software and can understand the basics of accounting and marketing strategies to assist in making their organization a success,” Claus said. “Whether a student wants to work for an organization or start a business of their own, the skills that they will gain in our program will assist them in becoming a valued employee.”

In addition to Mata’s focus on keeping the Business Management Technology program thriving, she is thankful for what her time at TSTC has taught her not only about her role in education, but also about herself.

“TSTC has made me a better me,” she said. “My time here has allowed me to understand people better, how to continually treat people with respect and integrity.”


TSTC instructor equips students for in-demand careers in machining

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Precision Machining Technology instructor Isaac Gonzalez has been teaching at Texas State Technical College for 10 years.

Precision Machining Technology is an intense, hands-on program in which students learn skills such as precision measurement, blueprint reading and the heat treatment of metals, making them highly employable and work-ready from day one. Graduates can find jobs in commercial and military aircraft industries, automotive tool manufacturing and, of course, oil tool manufacturing.

With the rise in demand for skilled machinists, Gonzalez is excited that his career allows him to share his expertise with students who will eventually become part of the growing field.

What inspired you to become an instructor? 

After being in the industry for almost 15 years, I received a call from my former instructor, Mr. Steele. He said that he was wanting to retire and needed me to come in and interview as a lab assistant. Now, here I am loving teaching the new generation of precision machining professionals what it takes to make it out in the field.

What did you do before your time with TSTC? 

Before TSTC, I was in transportation at various companies, and the majority of the time I was in a position in tool and die. I was mold making, making fixtures, and welding on the molds for companies.

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I get to teach them the important things about our industry and all about what precision machining technology has to offer.

Jobs in machining are expected to increase steadily through 2029.

To learn more about TSTC, visit