(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus has three women enrolled this semester in its Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program, the largest female cohort for that program in the campus’ history.
Biatris Arevalo of Red Oak and Abby Ramsey of Maypearl are pursuing associate degrees, while Tiquila Dawson of Dallas is studying for a program certificate. The women have things in common, including having grown up in the country and being curious about how the equipment works.
“I probably talk to them about working on stuff more than the guys,” Arevalo said.
John Walker, an instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program, said the students are enthusiastic and come to class each day ready to work.
“Abby is so sharp,” he said. “Tiquila is coming here to enhance her skills and get set to move up the pay scale. Biatris wants a better income and opportunities. She likes working with her hands.”
The Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program has more than 50 students this semester taking day and night classes. Walker said the program’s goal for the spring semester is starting a new night cohort. Some of the skills students are learning include commercial wiring, electrical theory and machinery installation.
Ramsey is a home-schooled high school senior who began taking dual enrollment classes this year at TSTC. She said picking her major was a natural fit for her.
“I live in a small town where we do a lot of hands-on things,” Ramsey said. “That is the mindset of small towns. My family is very hands-on. If you break it, you fix it.”
Dawson is doing some of this work already at the Kohl’s Distribution eFulfillment Center in DeSoto, where she has been employed for three years. She works three days a week and goes to classes four days a week.
Earlier this semester, she received a $250 scholarship from The TSTC Foundation as part of TSTC’s Shaping You to Get Hired campaign. She said the money enabled her to buy tools and other items for classes.
Dawson said she did not think she would go to college. She grew up in Elkhart and said she did not have the guidance needed to plan for life after high school. But, she had a breakthrough while in circumstances that were not ideal.
“I guess it was my second time going to prison when I realized you get older, and the years, you can’t get back,” Dawson said. “Either you are going to do right or go back where you have been.”
Dawson said she is content working and going to classes.
“Everything is new to me,” she said. “I am meeting new people. It’s tough trying to work and go to school.”
Arevalo grew up with an interest in robotics and majored in criminal justice at a four-year university before realizing it was not a good fit for her. She also endured a sports injury that took her away from playing soccer.
Arevalo said she had a period when she had to think about her career and incorporating her mathematics and science abilities. She eventually knew TSTC would be the right place for her.
“Here, the instructors explain it, and then you work on it,” she said.
Arevalo said her career goal is to work at Oncor.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.