TSTC in Waco Student Q&A with Ian MacFarlane of Temple

(WACO) – Veteran Ian MacFarlane, 39, of Temple is about to get an Associate of Applied Science degree in Avionics Technology from Texas State Technical College.

MacFarlane grew up in Sidney, Montana and is a U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

MacFarlane is scheduled to graduate at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 at the Waco Convention Center and return to TSTC in January to begin work on an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Airframe Technology.

When did you join the Army? “I enlisted in May 2005. I was a power generation equipment repairman. I did that for 10 years. I made sergeant in three-and-a-half years. I was deployed twice to Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, I medically retired in December 2015.”

How did you learn about TSTC? “There was a counselor at Fort Hood that used to work at TSTC and she pushed me in that direction. Fort Hood was my last duty station. I applied to TSTC first, then visited the campus.”

How have you enjoyed being in the Avionics Technology program? “This was a great learning experience. It taught me more in-depth about electronics than I knew. It is smaller components to work with for radio systems. The instructors are very knowledgeable.”

Have you had a job on the Waco campus? “I was a student-worker in the Veteran Center. You see how academics and veteran benefits go hand-in-hand. It was a good experience to talk to the veterans and see them every day.”

What advice would you give to high school students? “Go to colleges and check out what they have. Do your research and find out which school suits you the best.”

What is your career goal? “I want to work with unmanned systems in the military.”

There were more than 18,600 aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians in Texas as of May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of jobs in the fields are expected to rise nationally to 157,000 through 2026, according to the federal labor statistics bureau.

TSTC in Waco offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Avionics Technology.

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