Category Archives: Harlingen

TSTC Dental Hygiene class achieves testing success

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Spring 2019 Dental Hygiene class at Texas State Technical College has made the college proud by earning not one, but two, 100 percent pass rates on their national board and clinical exams.

“This is something very difficult to do,” said Victoria Martin, TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor. “The boards are a challenging exam, critical to a graduate’s licensure. And I’m extremely proud of this class. They worked really hard for this.”

The class, made of up 27 students, is one of the larger classes to individually and collectively achieve passing grades on the national tests. Martin said it is extremely rare to have this many students achieve a 100 percent pass rate on both tests.

The two exams students must tackle are: the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB), to be able to work after receiving their associate degree from TSTC’s two-year Dental Hygiene program.

“These tests encompass everything our students have learned throughout their time in the program,” said Martin. “By the time the students take these exams in their last semester, they are ready. We make sure of it.”

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination determines qualifications of dental hygienists who seek licensure to practice dental hygiene. Everything from basic biomedical and dental sciences to ethics and pharmacology are assessed.TSTC Dental Hygiene Class of 2019

To prepare for this exam, dental hygiene instructors create practice tests formatted similar to board exams, provide board reviews and practice tests.

“All of this preparation is vital to our students’ success. It’s an entire overview that encompasses everything they learn,” said Martin. “Plus, this is an all-day test, with only a break for lunch, we need them to have the stamina. It’s important for them to know the information, but also to know how to take the exam.”

In addition to lecture and test preparation, TSTC Dental Hygiene students also practice direct patient care with the program’s Dental Hygiene Clinic that is open to TSTC faculty, staff and the community.

At the clinic every student has the opportunity to work in a dental setting assessing a patients’ health history, vitals and x-rays to diagnosis and treatment.

“As a dental hygienist they’re in charge of a person’s oral health care and overall physical health, since both have been linked,” said Martin. “And our clinic not only gives them the real-world experience they need, but it helps them get ready to pass the WREB.”

And for the first time this spring, TSTC hosted the WREB, a standardized clinical exam for licensure, on campus for its students and surrounding dental hygiene programs.

In the past TSTC Dental Hygiene students would have to travel with their patients, to either San Antonio or Houston, but since qualifying as a WREB testing center, TSTC students can now take their exam on campus.

“This is a huge deal for us and a huge step forward,” said Martin. “We plan on hosting it annually and we hope more schools closer to our area take advantage of it.”

Spring 2019 Dental Hygiene graduate Noah Degollado said he was not surprised at all to learn that his class had achieved such an accomplishment.

“As a class we worked closely together to help each other out and make sure we were all doing well,” he said. “And our instructors, honestly, over prepared us, if that’s such a thing. They taught us how to be analytical and critical thinkers and because of them we knew what we had to know and what we had to do to succeed.”

The 26-year-old McAllen native said he is grateful for his time at TSTC and to his instructors, to whom he credits for his success.

He received job offers before even taking his national board and clinical exams and is now a dental hygienist for Top Dental and Zen Dental in the Rio Grande Valley.

TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program has seen a job placement rate in the past few years of 100 percent with an average starting salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of $35 an hour.

The program begins accepting applications in January, with the application period ending in March. New cohorts of 30 students begin every Fall Semester.

For more information on Dental Hygiene, visit tstc.edu/programs/DentalHygiene.

TSTC Aircraft Airframe program takes student across the world

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – At a young age Carlos Rodriguez gained a love and passion for traveling, and now at 24-years-old, he will get to do a lot of it because of his new career.

The San Benito native will graduate with a certificate from Texas State Technical College’s Aircraft Airframe Technology program in August and with an associate degree in December.

But before even walking the Harlingen Convention Center stage to accept his certification and degree, he has accepted a job offer with Koenig & Bauer, a German printing press manufacturer known as the oldest in the world still in service, with a location in Dallas.

His first day of work is January 6, 2020.Carlos Rodriguez

“I went into this expecting to begin my career working on aircraft. That’s why I returned to school,” he said. “But in learning the broader scope of everything this program teaches and keeping an open mind, I realized I can pursue any career I want, even out of the aviation industry.”

Expecting a starting salary of about $50,000 a year, the United State Navy veteran, who specialized in aircraft repair and maintenance while serving his country, will soon be working as a printing press service technician.

He will troubleshoot and repair printing presses as a mechanic technician apprentice. After a three-month training period, which includes travel across the United States, he will leave the country to be stationed in Germany.

“Everything that is happening is because of TSTC,” said Rodriguez. “If not for this program and its remarkable instructors I would not have had this opportunity. I received a job offer that I could not refuse and financial security. It’s true, education is power.”

This is a lesson he recently learned after withdrawing from TSTC twice before enrolling as a student in Aircraft Airframe Technology.

“I was lost, undecided and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “That’s why I turned to the military.”

After four years of service and deployments to Asia and the Middle East and getting to see a part of the world, Rodriguez returned home.

He said the transition from military to civilian life was not the easiest, but after a stint with United Airlines and FedEx, and seeing no personal growth, it was the TSTC Veterans Center that helped him get back on track.

“I learned about my program through some guys at work and I saw them advancing,” said Rodriguez. “I was always a guy with so much ambition and I lost it somewhere. So after some reflection, college was my only choice. And it was the Veterans Center that helped me complete my paperwork and discover that I was eligible for my G.I. Bill, Hazlewood Act and federal financial aid to help me pay for college.”

Rodriguez said he comes from a humble background. His dad was born in Mexico and worked in the fields for most of his life. Neither of his parents had an education, until TSTC also helped them prosper.

Rodriguez’s father is a graduate from TSTC’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program and now works as an HVAC technical for the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

“My parents have worked hard for their family, and through good and bad times, they have continued to sacrifice and do what’s best for me and my brother,” he said. “My dad always told us that the world was at our hands and he wanted us to see it.”

This advice was given to Rodriguez when he was only five-years-old and his father would take him to the airport, before Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and 911 travel restrictions, to see people board the airplanes and watch them take off.

“This is one of my fondest childhood memories and has shaped me into who I am today,” said Rodriguez. “I’m onto new adventures and I hope that I can represent TSTC and my program well, and make my parents proud of who I have become. Next stop: Germany.”

Aircraft Airframe Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene and Waco campuses.

For more information, visit tstc.edu.

Graduates of TSTC’s EMS program in high demand

(HARLINGEN) – Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and paramedics are in high demand across the region and the state with a projected growth of 15 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And EMS instructor Ruben Ramirez said Texas State Technical College is working to fill that skills gap because as long as health emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters and acts of violence continue to occur, the skills of this profession will continue to be in demand.

Ramirez gives us more information.

What is the length of the program?TSTC EMS Program

The EMT basic program is two semesters, while the paramedic program is four semesters. You must be a licensed EMT basic to enter the paramedic program.

What certificates and/or degrees are offered?

The program offers an EMT basic certificate and a paramedic certificate and associate degree.

What skills do you learn in the EMT basic and paramedic programs?

The EMT basic courses will teach the foundations of patient care and life support, such as CPR, oxygen administration, automated external defibrillator (AED) usage and broken bone or spinal cord stabilization.

Paramedic courses will teach advanced life support skills, medication administration, advanced airway procedures, electrocardiogram (EKG) reading and IV administration.

What types of technology are used to learn these skills?

In addition to being instructed by experienced paramedics who have worked in the field, students will also have access to industry-standard technology such as, I-Simulate and Reality tablets that are programmed to give students real-world medical emergency scenarios, adult and pediatric realistic simulation training mannequins and Demo Dose medication kits to practice medicine administration.

How does learning these skills help prepare the student for the workforce?

The skills learned while enrolled in TSTC’s EMT and paramedic courses will give the student the skills they need to handle an emergency situation, no matter how critical. Every shift and every emergency call will put one, if not more, of these skills to use.

Graduates from this program will also be ready to sit and successfully pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam, which will allow the graduate to become state licensed and work anywhere in the United States.

Who is hiring graduates from this program?

Graduates from this program get hired locally with companies such as Willacy County EMS, South Texas Emergency Care EMS, Med-Care EMS, Hidalgo County EMS, Weslaco Fire Department, Brownsville Fire Department, federal agencies such as the United States Border Patrol, hospitals and health care clinics.

TSTC aviation maintenance works to meet local, statewide industry demand

(HARLINGEN) – Texas has become one of the most important locations for the aviation and aerospace industry, and students from Texas State Technical College are getting in on the action as graduates from the college’s Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology programs.

TSTC is one of about a dozen colleges in Texas certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to train aviation maintenance technicians.

TSTC lead Aviation Maintenance instructor Tom Cross said he has seen extensive growth in the industry the last few years across the state, meaning that the opportunities for the program’s graduates are increasing.

“There is a shortage of skilled aircraft mechanics,” he said. “There are more mechanics retiring and leaving industry, than those entering. So right now is the time to enter this workforce. That’s great news for our students.”

According to a Texas Economic Development Corporation 2017 Texas aerospace, aviation and defense report, Texas ranks number one in the United States in air transportation employment, directly employing more than 135,000 workers.

Texas is home to the headquarters of two international airlines: American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, and two of the world’s busiest airports George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The Rio Grande Valley, however, has not been left out and is seeing growth in the aviation industry with the introduction and return of new and existing airlines such as Frontier and American Airlines, respectively.

Jose Mulet, the director of Air Service and Business Development at Valley International Airport in Harlingen, said that with the expansion of airlines in our region there is the possibility that there will also be a growth in fixed-based operators in the area.TSTC Aircraft Maintenance

“There will always be a need for aircraft airframe and powerplant mechanics,” said Mulet. “When we see a growth in airlines and airplanes, we’ll also see a growth in contracts for repair and maintenance.”

Mulet also added that larger cities like San Antonio, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth are major hubs for fixed-based operators (FBO), organizations that provide aeronautical services such as maintenance and fueling; and aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, an essential requirement to ensure that aircraft are maintained in conditions of air-worthiness for the safety of passengers.

The Rio Grande Valley has a total of five FBOs: Sun Valley Aviation and Gulf Aviation in Harlingen, Hunt Pan Am Aviation and Southmost Aviation in Brownsville, McCreery Aviation in McAllen, which have in the past or recently hired TSTC’s Aircraft Airframe and Aircraft Powerplant graduates.

One of TSTC’s most recent Aircraft Airframe and Aircraft Powerplant graduates Saul Pena, who is now an airframe and powerplant mechanic at Hunt Pan Am Aviation, said in a recent interview that he is happy to have received this opportunity while staying close to home.

“I received this job offer a little after I graduated and it was a relief knowing I was beginning my career,” said Pena. “TSTC treated me really well and I received an in-depth look into the field and hands-on training that helped lay my foundation to hit the ground running when I entered the workforce.”

Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant graduates, like Pena, receive training in airframe auxiliary and electrical systems; landing gear systems; hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel systems; aircraft engines; propellers and turbine engine overhauls.

Both programs also prepare students to pass their Federal Aviation Administration exam to obtain airframe and powerplant licenses needed to work in the industry.

Cross said that in addition to getting careers in the aviation industry, a number of students go on to obtain successful careers in aerospace.

According to the same Texas Economic Development Corporation report, the state is also seeing significant growth in the aerospace industry with 17 of the 20 largest aerospace manufacturers in the world with operations in Texas.

In fact, Harlingen and McAllen, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation, support manufacturing facilities for various Fortune 500 aerospace companies such as United Launch Alliance and GE Aviation, and most recently SpaceX in Brownsville.

“We’ve been in contact with SpaceX representatives who are interested in hiring our students,” said Cross. “While many have already started careers in aerospace locally and statewide. The number of opportunities available to our grads is limitless and our job is to ensure they are job-ready.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a five percent employment growth and job opportunities are expected to be good because workers retiring from the occupation will need to be replaced.

They also project, on average, an aircraft mechanic and technician will make between $20-30 an hour, or more than $50,000 a year.

For more information on TSTC’s Aircraft Airframe Technology or on TSTC’s Aircraft Powerplant Technology, both also offered at TSTC’s Abilene and Waco campuses, visit tstc.edu.

Registration for Fall 2019 is underway. The last day to register is August 23.

TSTC students head to Kentucky for SkillsUSA national competition

(HARLINGEN) – Blueprint reading, coding and design is what Texas State Technical College students Eduardo Ortiz and Gabriel Flores have been focused on in preparation for the upcoming SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

TSTC PMT Gabriel Flores (right) & Eduardo Ortiz (left)

Both TSTC Precision Machining Technology students and SkillsUSA competitors will be traveling this weekend to Louisville, Kentucky after earning their spot at nationals with gold medals during the SkillsUSA state competition hosted earlier this year at TSTC’s Waco campus.

“I’m going into this with a first place mindset,” said Ortiz, who’s competing in Automated Manufacturing Technology. “You’re never fully ready, but we’re confident we’ve prepared enough and we’re ready to be challenged.”

Ortiz is part of a three-person team and has been working with his peers Carlos Davila and Noah McCoy to prepare for this competition by studying past competition blueprints, recreating designs, reviewing numerical control programming codes and simulations.

It was only three years ago when Ortiz was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. He said he could have never imagined being able to take advantage of this kind of opportunity after two broken legs, fractures on his arm and ribs and partial paralysis.

Just like Ortiz pushed himself through recovery, he has pushed himself to succeed. His work has paid off. At state competition, Ortiz was also elected a SkillsUSA delegate representing Texas.

“I’m looking forward to everything this conference has to offer in addition to competing,” he said. “I’m excited to network with industry professionals and learn from other students like myself. This is going to be a great experience and I hope to represent TSTC to the best of my ability.”

And like with many competitors who have a competitive edge, gold is the goal.

For Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics student Jonathan Collins, he thrives in a competitive field and has been working with his advisor and instructor Mark Rosas non-stop since finding out he was traveling to Louisville.

He has been reviewing interior and exterior residential floor plans and all of the basics of architectural design and drafting to prepare 

for his upcoming eight hour test at SkillsUSA.

“Sure, the unexpected in the competition can be nerve-wracking, but SkillsUSA has helped me grow as a drafter, exposed me to industry professionals and like-minded people,” said Collins. “And I’m excited to see how I rank in a national setting.”

TSTC ADEG Jonathan Collins

He added that win or lose, he feels he has gained a lot by participating in SkillsUSA and credits his experience and instructors for his success and recent job offer.

Collins has already accepted an offer and started as a drafter for an architectural and project management company in McAllen. He is expected to graduate from TSTC in August.

TSTC Precision Machining Technology instructor and SkillsUSA Campus Coordinator Isaac Gonzalez said that he hopes every TSTC student going to Kentucky shows their professionalism, represents TSTC and their instructors well and gives it their all.

“Everyone is competing for that top position, but it’s no different than when a graduate is looking for a job,” said Gonzalez. “So our students need to go out there with their heads held high and know that win or lose they’ve already proved to be the best in Texas.”

Students in SkillsUSA participate in hands-on competitions in various fields such as science; technology; engineering; mathematics; building construction; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

TSTC is sending a total of 63 students, statewide, to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

For more information on the programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

The deadline to register for Fall 2019 is August 23.

TSTC Profile of Excellence – John Moody

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – John MoodyJohn Moody is an Automotive Technology graduate from Texas State Technical College. He earned his associate degree in 2012 and since then has had a successful career in industry.

The 37-year-old, San Benito native, said vehicle maintenance and repairs has been his life. As a child he would assist his late father at his automotive shop and knew it was a career he wanted to pursue.

Moody currently works with Tesla as a mobile technician traveling much of the state.

What was your reaction when you first learned about your job offer?

Before Tesla I worked for nearly seven years with Gillman Honda in San Benito. That was my first job out of college and I was relieved and excited to begin my career. Although I had automotive experience, without a formal education or degree it was impossible to get hired. After graduating it didn’t take me long to find a job and it’s only getting better. Recently I received a great opportunity from Tesla and made the switch.

How did TSTC prepare you for your career?

While the hands-on training was invaluable and I learned so many new techniques and processes, what really helped prepare me for my career were my instructors and their genuine care for our success. They always ensured one-on-one time with us to fully explain lessons and to be certain that we understood. Their experience and their sharing made all of the difference for me.

What has had the greatest influence on your success?

My wife and my family have been my greatest influence. They have supported me every step of the way. Everything I do is for them. To give them a better life and make sure they always have the best, which is what they deserve.

What are your future goals?

My goal is to grow within Tesla and eventually become a manager. The company has many growth opportunities and I hope to gain the experience I need to keep moving up. Also, someday, I would love it if I could follow in my father’s footsteps and open an automotive shop of my own and keep with my father’s legacy.

What would you tell a student thinking of pursuing a two-year degree vs. a four-year degree?

I would tell a student that a two-year degree offers great opportunity and advancement. It’s affordable and a quicker way of entering the workforce and earning, especially for someone like me who had a family to support. I always knew a two-year degree was a perfect match for me.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

I’m not going to lie; getting an education is tough. It’s hard work, but it’s possible. You have to stick with your goals and continue pushing forward. There’s a finish line, I promise, even you can’t see it.

TSTC was the answer to biomedical equipment alum’s prayers

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Eric Interiano graduated from high school in the top ten percent of his class, but with no college plans or career path to follow.

For the now 20-year-old, who recently earned his associate degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology, this was concerning on many levels.

As a top 10 percent, general academics dual-enrollment student at TSTC, many had high expectations for him. He could have received acceptance into any university, yet he said nothing was calling his name.

“I had standards to uphold. It was a lot of pressure,” he said. “But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t find my passion. I started praying.”

Growing up in a strong faith-based family, praying was a daily ritual. So he started praying for a sign. He said he needed God to guide him toward his purpose in life.

And a sign he received.Eric Interiano Biomedical Equipment Technology alum

“I walked into a local gym and overheard a group of guys talking about biomedical class at TSTC,” said the Harlingen native. “I was familiar with the college, but not the program. So I asked questions. And I knew immediately this was the answer to my prayers.”

The next day, Interiano enrolled in TSTC’s Biomedical Equipment Technology program, with only two weeks left before the first day of class.

In Biomedical Equipment Technology students learn how to calibrate, troubleshoot, test and repair medical equipment that is used to diagnose, prevent and treat illnesses and diseases, such as patient monitors or EKG machines. All of this equipment is used at healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals and long-term care centers.

“I went into the program with no knowledge of the industry,” said Interiano. “But the training provided by the instructors in the program changed this quickly.”

Interiano calls himself a hands-on learner. He said he learns best by doing; so the training he received on industry-standard equipment helped him understand concepts, processes and his responsibilities and duties as a biomedical equipment technician.

“The training I received was invaluable. It allowed me to better grasp and understand how things work in the field,” he said. “I was able to learn quickly and apply it in my assignments, exams and internship.

Before graduating, Interiano was hired as an intern at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, where he was hired as a full-time biomedical equipment technician immediately after graduating from TSTC’s program.

“I thank God every day for the opportunities he allowed me to find at TSTC and I thank God for the instructors and people he placed in my path,” said Interiano. “I was fully prepared and confident to hit the ground running when I got hired and that was because of the training and support I received at TSTC.”

During the program, Interiano and his classmates received real-world experience by maintaining and repairing equipment for TSTC’s Allied Health department, which he said better helped him sharpen his skills.

With a two-year degree, Interiano now receives a salary between $40,000 and $50,000 a year, and a full benefits package, and said he looks forward to growing and hopefully becoming a manager one day.

“I want to continue to learn as much as I can about my field. There’s something new every day,” he said. “And I hope to one day become a manager. I’m leaving it in God’s hands and I will go wherever he leads me. But I do know for sure, I have found my passion and purpose in life at TSTC.”

Biomedical Equipment Technology is also available at TSTC’s Waco campus.

For more information on the program, visit tstc.edu/programs/BiomedicalEquipmetTechnology.

Registration for Fall 2019 is in progress. The last day to register is August 23.

TSTC Profile of Excellence – Jose Luis Garcia II

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Jose Luis Garcia II, 37, graduated in 2018 with an associate degree in Business Management Technology from Texas State Technical College.

Jose Luis Garcia II

The Harlingen native served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly five years before becoming a disabled veteran due to on-the-job injuries. He was stationed in North Dakota and was on the security forces team.

The veteran decided to attend TSTC to gain new skills and a new career and credits the TSTC Veterans Center employees for his success because of the employees their assistance with veteran benefits, college registration processes and resources.

Garcia currently works as a customer service/sales representative for Proforma RGV, a creative solutions and printing service company in San Benito.

What was your reaction when you first learned about your job offer?

It was a really exciting moment for me and my family because one, it didn’t take long to find a job, especially with the help of TSTC Career Services, and two, I had received a job in my field; all of my hard work had paid off.

How did TSTC prepare you for your career?

The training I received at TSTC and my instructors were phenomenal. Every faculty member worked together to help us achieve. They taught us the ins and outs of business and really laid a solid foundation. They were the ones who set me up for success.

Who has had the most influence on your success?

From my TSTC instructors to the TSTC Veterans Center staff, I have had so many people cheering me on and encouraging me to succeed, but ultimately, it was my family, my wife and kids, who took the sacrifice like champs. They stood by me, no matter what, and they are my reason why I try to continue excelling.

What are your future goals?

The company I work for offers great opportunities for growth. The owners really encourage us to excel. I would love to continue moving up, someday leading a sales team and helping the company reach its max potential. It’s my training from TSTC that will allow me to do this.

What would you tell a student thinking of pursuing a two-year degree vs a four-year degree?

There is a still a misconception about two-year degrees, yet they offer a number of career opportunities, and it’s technical colleges like TSTC that provide the technical training needed to help graduates be competitive in the job market. And really, an education depends on the work you put into it. Whether it’s a two-year degree or a four-year degree, what comes of it, depends on the person.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

There is more to TSTC than just its Academic Core, or basics, like students call it. It’s our responsibility to explore our options and career opportunities. If it worked out for me, it can work out for others. Also, no matter what you are studying, be all in. Work hard, get involved in organizations and clubs and build your resume with experiences and leadership.

TSTC hosts Fall 2019 registration rallies

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College in Harlingen will host its first of four registration rallies for the summer on Wednesday, June 12.

The event, to be held at the Engineering Technology Center on Airport Drive, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will focus on programs: Architectural Design & Engineering Graphics, Biomedical Equipment Technology, Building Construction Technology, Industrial Systems, Mechatronics Technology, Precision Machining Technology, Wind Energy Technology and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC).

This is the first time the campus has tailored its registration rallies to promote specific programs. This will help emphasize the application and registration processes of certain departments and give prospective students an in-depth look into each program.

“Choosing a career is a big choice and we want students to have the opportunity to take a close look at all of their options,” said TSTC assistant director of Enrollment Services Ricardo Trevino.

With this new approach, TSTC faculty and students will showcase their programs with presentations and hands-on activities for those in attendance.TSTC Registration Rally

“Networking is what these registration rallies is all about,” said Trevino. “We want these students to make informed decisions and to be familiar with their instructors, the campus and the resources we offer before even registering. This will make for an easier transition.”

Enrollment services representatives will also be on hand to assist prospective students with the TSTC application and registration processes, advisement and testing.

Representatives from Student Life, Career Services, Housing and the Veterans Center will also be at the event to answer questions.

Trevino added that financial aid and scholarships are available for those who quality; and in fact, there will be a drawing for a $250 TSTC scholarship for those who apply and register for classes at the event.

Free hot dogs, chips and popcorn will also be served.

“Not only is this a great event for prospective students to get to know us, but it’s a great opportunity for us to get to know them,” said Trevino. “That’s important because then we’re able to match them with the resources they need. We always have our students’ end goals in mind.”

Trevino said he hopes these registration rallies not only bring in students to register, but also give them a better understanding of the types of opportunities a technical education and two-year degree can provide.

The next registration rallies at TSTC’s Harlingen campus will be hosted on July 11, July 16 and August 6 and will focus on other programs such as Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant, Computer Science, Computer Networking & Security, Culinary Arts, Dental Hygiene, Emergency Medical Services and Nursing.

Registration Rallies are being held across TSTC’s 10 campuses statewide.

For more information, visit tstc.edu/rally.

TSTC grad turns obstacle into a career

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – It was May 2009 in the neonatal intensive care unit when life changed for Texas State Technical College vocational nursing alum Jesus Herrera and he realized nursing was his life’s passion and path.

The 35-year-old’s eldest daughter was born with gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall in which the baby’s intestines are found outside of the baby’s body, and Herrera came to respect  the nurses that they relied on to keep their baby safe during her two-month stay in the hospital.

“This was a really difficult time. I hated leaving her there, but the nurses seemed to make everything less scary,” said Herrera. “This is when I knew that I wanted to become a nurse and be the same kind of security and support for others.”

Herrera’s daughter is now a healthy 10-year-old girl still inspiring her father’s career.

“Everything I do, I do for my children; for my family,” he said. “They are my everything and make it all worthwhile.”

It was only a couple of years after this life-changing moment that the Mexico native and now father of three decided to enroll at TSTC to complete his nursing prerequisite courses.

“Throughout my educational journey I have come so close to quitting,” he said. “My family and I have had to overcome some great obstacles, but each time I had someone from TSTC rooting for me and being my strength, making it possible to continue.”Jesus Herrera TSTC nursing alum

It took about four years, but the Harlingen native graduated with a certificate as a nursing assistant in 2017 and as a vocational nurse in 2018, with an almost-perfect 3.9 grade-point average.

He said he achieved all of this while juggling a family and two jobs because he had to make ends meet. He describes this period as not only a sacrifice for him, but also for his wife and children.

“I hit a dark moment in my life during the vocational nursing program,” he said. “Anxiety got the best of me. Everything was piling up and I thought for sure I was dying.”

With no health insurance and most of his money tied up in school and family needs, Herrera did not have the money to pay for a doctor visit.  Eventually he was forced to seek medical help to help him overcome his anxieties.

Despite the pressures he was facing and his health scare, he gained a new career and he credits his success to all of his nursing instructors.

“It was the strength that my instructors exude that helped me stay focused on my end goal,” he said. “They empathized with me, they were there for me and never let me quit. For that, I thank them. It’s because of them I’ve found success for me and my family.”

Herrera now works as vocational nurse at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville in the telemetry unit specializing in the cardiovascular system.

And only last week, he got his acceptance letter into TSTC’s registered nursing program. He will return to the college in the fall.

“When I received my acceptance it was a celebration for the entire family,” said Herrera. “This next year is going to be another large hurdle for my family one I plan to overcome, but when I came to the United States in 2000 for better opportunities, I promised myself the ‘American Dream.’ And TSTC is helping me achieve that.”

Herrera said he’s ready to face this next year and do whatever it takes to be successful because his ultimate dream is to not only become a registered nurse, but also buy his family a house to call their own.

“I want to continue teaching my children that’s it’s not about being smart. It’s about how hard someone works and how dedicated they are to achieving their goals,” he said. “This next year is what’s going to help me take my career to the next level.”

TSTC also offers nursing at its Breckenridge and Sweetwater campuses.

Graduates from this program will enter an occupation that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is expected to grow 15 percent, much faster than other occupations and is in demand across the state and especially in South and West Texas, moth medically-underserved regions. Graduates can expect to find careers at hospitals, clinics, long-term facilities or anywhere nursing care is needed.

Registration for Fall 2019 is underway.

To learn more about nursing visit tstc.edu/programs/nursing.